Dr. Karen Thompson holds a Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University and an M.A. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also earned an elementary bilingual teaching credential. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Thompson spent more than a decade working with English language learners in California public schools as a bilingual teacher, after-school program coordinator, and school reform consultant. As both a teacher educator and a policy researcher, she works to improve the experiences of multilingual students in U.S. schools.
Dr. Thompson’s research addresses how curriculum and instruction, teacher education, and policy interact to shape the classroom experiences of multilingual students in K-12 schools. In one strand of this research, Dr. Thompson collaborates with education agencies in researcher-practitioner partnerships to analyze longitudinal data about multilingual students in novel ways that inform policy and practice. Currently, Dr. Thompson serves as the Principal Investigator for the ODE/OSU English Language Learner Partnership, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and the Spencer Foundation. In another strand of her research, Dr. Thompson focuses on developing innovative ways for teachers to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to meet the needs of multilingual students. She led OSU’s first Massive Open Online Course, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Education and Stanford University, providing professional development for over 5,000 teachers. She also serves as Principal Investigator for the Teachers Educating All Multilingual Students (TEAMS) project. Funded by the Office of English Language Acquisition, the TEAMS project supports clusters of teachers from five Oregon districts in completing online coursework leading to state endorsements for working with English learner students. Dr. Thompson’s work has been published in Educational Researcher, the American Educational Research Journal, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, among other venues.
Thompson, K. D., Umansky, I. M., & Porter, L. (2020). Examining contexts of reception for newcomer students. Leadership and Policy in Schools 19(1), 10-35.
Kieffer, M. & Thompson, K. D. (2018). Hidden progress of multilingual students on NAEP. Educational Researcher, 47(6), 391-398.
Thompson, K. D., Martinez, M. I., Clinton, C., & Díaz, G. (2017). Considering interest and action: Analyzing types of questions explored by researcher-practitioner partnerships. Educational Researcher, 46(8), 464-473.
Umansky, I. M., Thompson, K. D., & Díaz, G. (2017). Using an Ever-EL framework to examine special education disproportionality among English learners. Exceptional Children, 84(1), 76-96.
Thompson, K. D. (2017). What blocks the gate? Exploring current and former English learners’ math course-taking in secondary school. American Educational Research Journal, 54(4), 757-798.
Cimpian, J. R., Thompson, K. D., & Makowski, M. (2017). Evaluating English learner reclassification policy effects across districts. American Educational Research Journal, 54(S1) 255S-278S.
Thompson, K. D. (2017). English learners’ time to reclassification: An analysis. Educational Policy, 31(3), 330-363. (Online first, August 2015).
Robinson-Cimpian, J. P., Thompson, K. D., & Umanksy, I. M. (2016). Research and policy considerations for English learner equity. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), 129-137.
Robinson-Cimpian, J. P. & Thompson, K. D. (2016). The effects of changing test-based policies for reclassifying English learners. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 35(2), 279-305
Thompson, K. D. (2015). Questioning the Long-Term English Learner label: How classification and categorization can blind us to students’ abilities. Teachers College Record, 117(12), 1-50.
Thompson, K. D. (2013). Is separate always unequal? A philosophical examination of ideas of equality in key cases regarding racial and linguistic minorities in education. American Educational Research Journal, 50(6), 1249-1278.
Hopkins, M., Thompson, K. D., Linquanti, R., August, D., & Hakuta, K. (2013). Fully accounting for English learner performance: A key issue in ESEA reauthorization. Educational Researcher, 42(2): 101-108.