stigler's picture
James W. Stigler
Ph. D.,
University of Michigan
Primary Area:
Developmental Psychology
Secondary Area:
Cognitive Psychology
2279B FH
(310) 206-9494
Research and Teaching Interests:

My research focuses on understanding processes of teaching and learning, especially of mathematics and science, from kindergarten through college. I am also interested in re-thinking the role of research and development in education, and in particular, how researchers can work with designer/developers and practitioners to build and improve education interventions.


James W. Stigler is Professor of Psychology at UCLA. He is co-author of The Teaching Gap (with James Hiebert, Free Press, 1999) and The Learning Gap (with Harold Stevenson, Simon & Schuster, 1992). He directed the TIMSS video studies (1993-2003), and in 1998 founded LessonLab Inc., a company whose mission was to study and improve classroom teaching, which became part of Pearson Education in 2003. He received his A.B. from Brown University in 1976, a Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1982. Before moving to Los Angeles in 1991, he served eight years on the faculty of the University of Chicago. He has received numerous awards for his research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the QuEST award from the American Federation of Teachers. Dr. Stigler is best known for his observational work in classrooms, and has pioneered the use of multimedia technology for the study of classroom instruction.

Representative Publications:
  • NEW WEBSITE of public use videos collected as part of TIMSS:
  • Richland, L. E., Stigler, J. W., & Holyoak, K. J. (2012). Teaching the conceptual structure of mathematics. Educational Psychologist47(3), 189-203.
  • Givvin, K.B., Stigler, J.W. & Thompson, B. (2011). What community college developmental mathematics students understand about mathematics, part 2: The interviews. The MathAMATYC Educator, Volume 2, No. 3, 4-18.
  • Santagata, R. Kersting, N., Givvin, K. B., & Stigler, J. W. (2011). Problem implementation as a lever for change: An experimental study of the effects of a professional development program on students’ mathematics learning. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4, 1-24.
  • Kersting, N. B., Givvin, K. B., Thompson, B. J., Santagata, R., & Stigler, J. W. (2012). Measuring usable knowledge: Teachers’ analyses of mathematics classroom videos predict teaching quality and student learning. American Educational Research Journal49(3), 568-589.
  • Stigler, J.W., Givvin, K.B. & Thompson, B. (2010). What community college developmental mathematics students understand about mathematics. The MathAMATYC Educator, Volume 1, No. 3, 4-16.
  • Kersting, N.B., Givvin, K.B., Sotelo, F.L. & Stigler, J.W. (2010). Teachers’ analyses of classroom video predicts student learning of mathematics: Further explorations of a novel measure of teacher knowledge. Journal of Teacher Education, Volume 61, Numbers 1-2, 172-181.
  • Stigler, J.W. & Thompson, B. (2009). Thoughts on creating, accumulating, and utilizing shareable knowledge to improve teaching. Elementary School Journal, Volume 109, No. 5, 442-457.
  • Santagata, R., Zannoni, C., & Stigler J.W. (2007). The role of lesson analysis in pre-service teacher education: an empirical investigation of teacher learning from a virtual video-based field experience. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 10,(2), 123-140.
  • Hiebert, J., Stigler, J. W., Jacobs, J. K., Givvin, K. B., Garnier, H., Smith, M., Hollingsworth, H., Manaster, A., Wearne, D., & Gallimore, R. (2005). Mathematics teaching in the United States today (and tomorrow): Results from the TIMSS 1999 Video Study. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 27, 111-132.
  • Stigler, J.W. & Hiebert, J. (2004). Improving mathematics teaching. Educational Leadership, 61(5), 12-17. (Swedish translation published 2004, Göteborg: Nämnaren.)
  • Richland, L.E., Holyoak, K.J., & Stigler, J. W (2004).  Analogy generation in eighth grade mathematics classrooms.  Cognition and Instruction, 22 (1), 37-60.
  • Hiebert, J., Gallimore, R., Garnier, H., Givvin, K.B., Hollingsworth, H., Jacobs, J., Chui, A.M.Y., Wearne, D., Smith, M., Kersting, N., Manaster, A., Etterbeek, W., Manaster, C., Gonzales, P., & Stigler, J.W. (2003). Teaching mathematics in seven countries: Results from the TIMSS 1999 Video Study.  NCES 2003-013, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Hiebert, J., Gallimore, R., and Stigler, J.W. (2002). A knowledge base for the teaching profession: What would it look like, and how can we get one? Educational Researcher, June/July, 3-15.
  • Stigler, J.W. (2001).  Breakthroughs in using individual differences to study learning: Comments on Goldin-Meadow, McClelland, Merzenich, and Siegler.  In McClelland, J. L., & Siegler, R. S., Mechanisms of cognitive development: Behavioral and neural perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Stigler, J.W., Gallimore, R., and Hiebert, J. (2000). Using video surveys to compare classrooms and teaching across cultures: Examples and lessons from the TIMSS and TIMSS-R video studies. Educational Psychologist, Volume 35, Number 2, Spring. Pages 87-100.
  • Stigler, J. W. and Hiebert, J. (1999).  The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world’s teachers for improving education in the classroom.  New York: Free Press.
  • Stigler, J. W. & Hiebert, J.  (September, 1997). Understanding and improving classroom mathematics instruction:  An overview of the TIMSS video study.  Phi Delta Kappan., Volume 79, Number 1, 14-21.
  • Jacobs, J.K., Yoshida, M., Stigler, J., &  Fernandez, C. (1997). Japanese and American teachers' evaluations of mathematics lessons: A new technique for exploring beliefs.  Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 16 (1), 7-24.
  • Stigler, J. W.  (1996). Large-scale video surveys for the study of classroom processes.  In G. Hoachlander, J. E. Griffith, and J. H. Ralph (Eds.), From data to information:  New directions for the National Center for Education Statistics.  U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Stigler, J. W., Fernandez, C., and Yoshida, M. (1996). Cultures of mathematics instruction in Japanese and American elementary classrooms.  In T. Rohlen and G. Le Tendre (Eds.), Teaching and learning in Japan.  New York:  Cambridge University Press.  Pp. 213-247.
  • Stigler, J. W., & Fernandez, C. (1995).  Learning mathematics from classroom instruction:  Cross-cultural and experimental perspectives.  In C. Nelson (Ed.), Contemporary perspectives on learning and development;  Twenty-Seventh Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology.  Hillsdale, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  Pp. 103-130.
  • Stevenson, H. W. and Stigler, J. W.  (1992). The learning gap:  Why our schools are failing, and what we can learn from Japanese and Chinese education.  New York:  Summit Books.