Yusra Ahmed, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI), where she specializes in child development and literacy, and serves as a key quantitative methodologist for both state-level initiatives and federally funded research grants. Previously, she was an Associate Professor in the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics (TIMES) and in the Developmental, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience program in the Psychology Department, both at the University of Houston (UH), where she conducted research on children with learning disabilities for twelve years. She has experience as the Principal Investigator of an R01 Award from National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which was awarded to study the development of reading and writing difficulties in grades 3-8 using big data. She also served as a co-Investigator on the NICHD-funded P50 Award, the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities. Further, her previous experience includes working at the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) for 6 years and Florida State University (FSU), where she earned her doctorate in Developmental Psychology.


Post Graduate Training
University of Houston, Houston, Texas 2015
Graduate School
Developmental Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 2014

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

Dr. Ahmed’s research is dedicated to the identification, classification, assessment, and remediation of learning disabilities (LDs), especially during the critical developmental stages of early childhood and adolescence. She has made significant contributions to the development and validation of culturally sensitive and adaptive literacy assessments, designed to provide nuanced insights into students’ academic skills. In addition to assessment, Dr. Ahmed has been instrumental in designing evidence-based interventions for children with LDs. Her research places a strong emphasis on the role of higher-order skills in two closely related domains: reading comprehension and written expression. Using structural equation modeling, she has empirically validated cognitive theories that explain the intricate co-development of these higher-order skills within and across academic domains. She also focuses on innovative methods for measuring written expression, particularly strategic processes like planning, revision, and editing. Dr. Ahmed has a strong methodological focus that complements her substantive research. She employs a wide array of statistical techniques, including multivariate analysis, longitudinal modeling, multi-level and cross-classified models, item response theory, structural equation modeling, and meta-analysis. Her interests also extend to machine learning models, which she employs to analyze large and complex datasets. She is interested in using advanced methods that strike a balance between theory- and data-driven approaches to develop systems-wide solutions that leverage multiple data sources. Her work focuses on creating adaptive assessments that pinpoint specific areas of need, guide differentiated instruction, and help stakeholders identify LD and skill gaps early on.


Ahmed, Y., Kent, S. C., & Keller-Margulis, M. (2023). Reading-to-Writing Mediation model of higher-order literacy. Frontiers in Psychology, 14.

Reid, E. K., Ahmed, Y., & Keller-Margulis, M. A. (2023). Contributions of attentional control, hyperactivity-impulsivity, and reading skills to performance on a fourth-grade state writing test. Journal of School Psychology, 99, 101220.

Gioia, A. R., Ahmed, Y., Woods, S. P., & Cirino, P. T. (2023). Properties of a combined measure of reading and writing: the Assessment of Writing, Self-Monitoring, and Reading (AWSM Reader). Reading and Writing, 36(3), 723-744.

Miciak, J., Ahmed, Y., Capin, P., & Francis, D. J. (2022). The reading profiles of late elementary English learners with and without risk for dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 72(2), 276-300.

Ahmed, Y., Miciak, J., Taylor, W. P., and Francis, D., (2022). Structure altering effects of a multi-component reading intervention: An application of the Direct and Inferential Mediation (DIME) model of reading comprehension in upper elementary grades. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 55 (1), 58-78.

Ahmed, Y., Kent, S., Cirino, P. T., and Keller-Margulis, M. (2022). The Not-so-Simple View of Writing in struggling readers/writers. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 38 (3), 272-296.

Thomas, T., Ahmed, Y., Tan, M., & Grigorenko, E. (2021). Interventions for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS: meta-analysis of cognitive and educational outcomes. Child Development, 92(1), 7-20.

Ahmed, Y. & Wagner, R. (2020). A “simple” illustration of a joint model of reading and writing using meta-analytic structural equation modeling (MASEM) (pp. 55-57). In Alves, R., Limpo, T. & Joshi, M. (Eds.) Reading-Writing Connections: Towards Integrative Literacy Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Thomas, T., Tan, M., Ahmed, Y. & Grigorenko, E. (2020). A systematic review of interventions for orphans and vulnerable children worldwide. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 54(11), 853-866.

Miciak, J., Cirino, P., Ahmed, Y., Reid, E., & Barnes, M. (2019). Executive functions and response to interventions: Identification of struggling readers. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 42(1), 17-31.

Wall, K., Ahmed, Y., & Sharp. C. (2019). Parent-adolescent concordance in borderline pathology and why it matters. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 47(3), 529-542.

Cirino, P., Miciak, J., & Ahmed, Y., Barnes, M. A., Taylor, P. W. & Gerst, E. H. (2018). Executive function: Association with multiple reading skills. Reading & Writing, 32 (7), 1819-1846.

Miciak, J., Roberts, G., Taylor, W. P., Solis, M., Ahmed, Y., Vaughn, S., & Fletcher, J. M. (2018). The effects of one versus two years of intensive reading intervention implemented with late elementary struggling readers. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 33(1), 24-36.

Cirino, P., Ahmed, Y., Miciak, J., Taylor, P. T., Gerst, E. H., & Barnes, M. A. (2018). A framework for executive function in the elementary years. Neuropsychology, 32 (2), 176-189.

Wilson, J., Roscoe, R., & Ahmed, Y. (2017). Automated formative writing assessment using a levels of language framework. Assessing Writing, 34, 16-36.

Wall, K., Sharp, C., Ahmed, Y., Goodman, M. & Zanarini, M.C. (2017). Parent-Adolescent Concordance on the Revised Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines (DIB-R) and the Childhood Interview for Borderline Personality Disorder (CI-BPD). Personality and Mental Health, 11(3), 179-188

Denton, C., York, M., Francis, D., Haring, C., Ahmed, Y. & Bidulesco, A. (2017). An investigation of an intervention approach to promote inference generation by adolescent poor comprehenders. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 32 (2), 85-98.  

Ahmed, Y., Francis, D. J., York, M., Fletcher, J., Barnes, M.A. & Kulesz, P. (2016). Validation of the direct and mediated (DIME) model of reading comprehension in grades 7 through 12. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 44, 68-82.

Arrington, C.N., Ware, A.L., Ahmed, Y., Afraz, S., Kulesz, P., Fletcher, J.M., and Dennis, M. (2016). Are shunt revisions associated with IQ in congenital hydrocephalus? A meta-analysis. Neuropsychology review, 26(4), 329-339.

Barnes, M. A., Ahmed, Y., Priebe, S., Barth, A., & Francis, D. J. (2015). The relation of knowledge-text integration processes and reading comprehension in seventh to twelfth grade students. Scientific Studies of Reading, 19 (4), 253-272.  

Ahmed, Y., Wagner, R. K., & Lopez, D. (2014). Developmental relations between reading and writing at the word, sentence and text levels:  a latent change score analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 106 (2), 419-434.

Ahmed, Y., Kim, Y. –S., & Wagner, R. K. (2014). Why we should care about literacy models: Models of reading and writing and how they can elucidate the connection between reading and writing. In Miller, B., McCardle, P., & Long, R. (Eds.) Teaching Reading and Writing Improving Instruction and Student Achievement (pp. 143-152). Baltimore, Maryland: Brooks Publishing.

Ahmed, Y., Wagner, R. K., & Kantor, P. T. (2011). How visual word recognition is affected by developmental dyslexia. In J. S. Adelman (Ed.) Visual Word Recognition Vol. 2: Meaning and Context, Individuals and Development (pp. 196-215). Hove, (East Sussex), UK: Psychology Press.

Waesche, J. B., Schatschneider, C., Maner, J. K., Ahmed, Y., & Wagner, R. K. (2011).  Examining agreement and longitudinal stability among traditional and response-to-intervention based definitions of reading disability using the affected-status agreement statistic. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44 (3), 296-307.

Wagner, R.K., Waesche, J. B., Schatschneider, C., Maner, J. K. & Ahmed, Y. (2011). Using response to intervention for identification and classification. In McCardle, P., Miller, B., Lee, J.R. & Tzeng, O.J.L. (Eds.) Dyslexia Across Languages: Orthography and the Brain-Gene-Behavior Link (pp. 202-213). Baltimore, Maryland: Brooks Publishing.

Curriculum Vitae

Email the Children’s Learning Institute to request a copy.