University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Michael L. Vanderwood

Michael L. Vanderwood

Associate Professor

Graduate School of Education
1232 Sproul Hall
(951) 827-4313

Research Areas

Multi-tiered  system of support for academics and behavior challenges, Early literacy assessment and intervention with English learners, School Psychologists Role and Function, Consultation methods and performance feedback.

I am very interested in working with “at-risk” children who live in challenging environments. I view the role of the school psychologist to be the person who is “giving away” psychology in the pursuit of helping all students become successful.


  • Ph.D., Joint Program, Psychology - School Psychology University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (NASP approved, APA accredited)
  • Master of Arts in Psychology University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Bachelor of Science Honors Psychology with Distinction Iowa State University, Ames IA Phi Beta Kappa


Mike is an Associate Professor at the University of California-‐Riverside and has been involved in developing and implementing systems to support students at risk for behavioral and academic challenges for the last 20 years. He is nationally known for his research about the use of multi-tiered systems to support English Learners.

In the mid 90s, he worked at Heartland Area Education Agency (Johnston, Iowa) as a school psychologist and was a practitioner in one of the first systems in the country to use response to intervention (RTI) in general and special education. After leaving Heartland, he worked as a state consultant for the Iowa Department of Education focusing on large scale assessment and accountability systems, with a specific focus on supporting the implementation of school improvement efforts.

As a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mike received a federal (OSEP) grant to support the implementation and evaluation of RTI in the Milwaukee, WI public schools with a specific focus on the special education eligibility process used to assess students with mild learning problems (i.e., Learning Disabilities). His team demonstrated the need to implement interventions in general education before a referral for special education evaluation is made.

In the last decade at UC-‐Riverside, Mike’s work has focused on three topics. First, his team is evaluating and improving multi-‐tier system components (e.g., screening and intervention tools) with a specific focus on English Learners (ELs). His team examined the quality (e.g., reliability, validity, sensitivity, specificity) of reading screening tools for students at various levels of English proficiency. His team also developed and is continuing to evaluate a phonological awareness intervention designed to be used with ELs in low performing schools.

His second area of focus is developing techniques to help more fully implement academic and behavioral programs in school settings. Through the use of different consultation models and a technique called “performance feedback,” Mike and his team are improving the academic outcomes of at-risk students by helping educators better implement programs.

The third area of research focus is evaluating the components of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) programs targeting at-risk students in large, urban school districts. Although there is research that supports the use of PBS, very little of it has been conducted in low S.E.S., highly diverse, urban school districts.

Mike works very hard to fund all of his students and currently has contracts with several Southern California school districts.

Current Curricular Vitae


  • Checca, J., Vanderwood, M. L., & Geraghty, C. (Under review). Readability and Generalizability Theory Comparisons of Oral Reading Fluency Passages. School Psychology Review.
  • Vanderwood, M. L., Nam, J. E., & Sun, J. W., (2014). Validity of DIBELS Early Literacy Measures with Korean English Learners. Contemporary School Psychology, 18(4), 205-213.
  • Vanderwood, M. L., Tung, C., & Arellano, E., (2014). Application of a Multi-Tiered Support System with English Language Learners: A Case Study Demonstration. International Journal of School and Educational Psychology, 2, 45-53.
  • Knight-Teague, K., Vanderwood, M. L., & Knight, E. (2014). Empirical Investigation for Word Callers Who are English Learners. School Psychology Review, 43(1), 3-18.
  • Vanderwood, M. L., Tung, C., & Checca, J. C. (2014). Predictive Validity and Accuracy of Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) for English Language Learners. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 32(3), 249-258.
  • Vanderwood, M. L. (2013). Validity and school psychology assessment research: Introduction to the special topic. School Psychology Review, 42(4), 363-366.
  • Gutierrez, G., & Vanderwood, M. L., (2013). A Growth Curve Analysis of Literacy Performance among Second-Grade, Spanish-Speaking, English-Language Learners. School Psychology Review, 42(1), 3-21.
  • Ruby, S., Crosby, T. M. & Vanderwood, M.L., (2011). Fidelity of Problem Solving in Everyday Practice: Typical Training May Miss the Mark. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation. 21:3, 233-258
  • Becker, K. J., & Vanderwood, M. L. (2009). Evaluation of the relationship between literacy and mathematics skills as assessed by curriculum-based measures. California School Psychologist, 14, 23-34.
  • Stoiber, K. C., & Vanderwood, M. L. (2008). Traditional Assessment, Consultation, and Intervention Practices: Urban School Psychologists' Use, Importance, and Competence Ratings. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation, 18, 264-292.
  • Vanderwood, M. L., Linklater, D., Healy, K. (2008). Nonsense Word Fluency and Future Literacy Performance for English Language Learners. School Psychology Review. 37(1), 5-17.
  • Vanderwood, M.L. & Nam, J. (2008). Best Practices in using a Response to Intervention Model with English Language Learners. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds). Best Practices in School Psychology V. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
  • Gresham, F. M., & Vanderwood, M. (2008). Quantitative research methods and designs in consultation. In W. P Erchul & S. M. Sheridan (Eds.), Handbook of research in school consultation: Empirical foundations for the field (pp. 63-87). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Vanderwood, M. L., & Nam, J. (2007). Response to intervention for English Language Learners: Current developments and future directions. In S. R. Jimmerson, M. K. Burns & A. M. VanDerHeyden (Eds.), The Handbook of Response to Intervention: The Science and Practice of Assessment and Intervention (pp. 408-417). New York, NY: Springer.
  • Crews, D., Bender, H., Gresham, F. M., Kern, L., & Vanderwood, M. L. (2007). Risk and Protective Factors of Emotional and/or Behavioral Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A “Mega”-Analytic Synthesis. Behavioral Disorders, 32(2), 64-77.
  • Burns, M. K., Vanderwood, M. L., & Ruby S. (2005) Evaluating the Readiness of Pre-referral Intervention Teams for Use in a Problem-Solving Model. School Psychology Quarterly. 20(1), 89-105.
  • Healy, K., Vanderwood, M. L., & Edelston, D. (2005). Early Literacy Interventions for English Language Learners: Support for an RTI Model. California School Psychologist. 10, 55-63.
  • Vanderwood, M.L., McGrew, K. S., Flanagan, D. P., & Keith, T. Z. (2002). The contribution of general and specific cognitive abilities to reading achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 13(1) 159-188.
  • Ysseldyke, J. E., Vanderwood, M. L., & Shriner, J. (2000). Changes over the past decade in special education referral to placement probability: An incredibly reliable practice. Diagnostique 12(1) 23-42.
  • Vanderwood, M. L., McGrew, K. S. & Ysseldyke, J. E. (1998). Why We Can't Say Much About the Status of Students with Disabilities During Education Reform. Exceptional Children 64(3), 359-370.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Graduate School of Education
1207 Sproul Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5234
Fax: (951) 827-3942


Last Modified: 12/1/16