Dr. Avi Kaplan’s research interests focus on student and teacher motivation and identity development, with particular interest in the role of the environment in these processes. His recent research involves the application of the complex dynamic systems approach to identity and motivation, and employing collaborative design-based interventions that focus on promoting educators’ and students’ motivation and identity exploration around the curriculum. His recent publications include chapters in the 2012 APA Educational Psychology Handbook on the application of motivation theory to educational practice, in the 2016 Handbook of Motivation at School on learning environments and motivation, and in the 2019 Advances in Motivation and Achievement volume on motivation and identity in the 21st century. Avi is a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science, of Division 15 of the American Psychological Association, and of the Eastern Psychological Association. He is the former editor of the Journal of Experimental Education, and serves on the editorial boards of the Educational Psychologist, the Journal of Educational Psychology, and Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Research Interests

  • Motivation
  • Identity
  • Learning Environments

Courses Taught




EDUC 8401

Philosophical Foundations of Educational Research


EDUC 8501

Motivation in Education


EPSY 5523

Introduction to Educational Psychology


EPSY 5561

Development and Learning Over the Lifespan


EPSY 8986

Proseminar in Educational Psychology


Selected Publications

  • Kaplan, A. & Garner, J.K. (2020). Steps for Applying the Complex Dynamical Systems Approach in Educational Research: A Guide for the Perplexed Scholar. Journal of Experimental Education, 88(3), pp. 486-502. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2020.1745738

  • Kaplan, A., Cromley, J., Perez, T., Dai, T., Mara, K., & Balsai, M. (2020). The Role of Context in Educational RCT Findings: A Call to Redefine “Evidence-Based Practice”. Educational Researcher, 49(4), pp. 285-288. doi: 10.3102/0013189X20921862

  • Garner, J.K., Kaplan, A., Hathcock, S., & Bergey, B. (2020). Concept Mapping as a Mechanism for Assessing Science Teachers’ Cross-Disciplinary Field-Based Learning. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 31(1), pp. 8-33. doi: 10.1080/1046560X.2019.1625573

  • Urdan, T. & Kaplan, A. (2020). The origins, evolution, and future directions of achievement goal theory. Contemporary Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2020.101862

  • Hathcock, S.J., Garner, J.K., & Kaplan, A. (2020). Examining micro-change within and among science teachers' identities: A multiple case study. Science Education. doi: 10.1002/sce.21577

  • Bergey, B.W., Ranellucci, J., & Kaplan, A. (2019). The conceptualization of costs and barriers of a teaching career among Latino preservice teachers. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 59. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2019.101794

  • Kaplan, A., Neuber, A., & Garner, J.K. (2019). An identity systems perspective on high ability in self-regulated learning. High Ability Studies, 30(1-2), pp. 53-78. doi: 10.1080/13598139.2019.1568830

  • Perez, T., Dai, T., Kaplan, A., Cromley, J.G., Brooks, W.D., White, A.C., Mara, K.R., & Balsai, M.J. (2019). Interrelations among expectancies, task values, and perceived costs in undergraduate biology achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 72, pp. 26-38. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2019.04.001

  • Garner, J.K. & Kaplan, A. (2019). A complex dynamic systems perspective on teacher learning and identity formation: an instrumental case. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 25(1), pp. 7-33. doi: 10.1080/13540602.2018.1533811

  • Kaplan, A., Garner, J.K., & Brock, B. (2019). Identity and motivation in a changing world: A complex dynamic systems perspective. In Advances in Motivation and Achievement, 20 (pp. 101-127). doi: 10.1108/S0749-742320190000020006

  • O'Shea, A. & Kaplan, A. (2018). Disability identity and use of services among college students with psychiatric disabilities. Qualitative Psychology, 5(3), pp. 358-379. doi: 10.1037/qup0000099

  • Hartwell, M. & Kaplan, A. (2018). Students' Personal Connection with Science: Investigating the Multidimensional Phenomenological Structure of Self-Relevance. Journal of Experimental Education, 86(1), pp. 86-104. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2017.1381581

  • Kaplan, A. & Garner, J.K. (2018). Teacher identity and motivation: The dynamic systems model of role identity. In Research on Teacher Identity: Mapping Challenges and Innovations (pp. 71-82). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-93836-3_7

  • Kaplan, A. & Garner, J.K. (2017). A complex dynamic systems perspective on identity and its development: The dynamic systems model of role identity. Developmental Psychology, 53(11), pp. 2036-2051. doi: 10.1037/dev0000339

  • Granit-Dgani, D., Kaplan, A., & Flum, H. (2017). Theory-based assessment in environmental education: a tool for formative evaluation. Environmental Education Research, 23(2), pp. 269-299. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1144172

  • Madjar, N., Weinstock, M., & Kaplan, A. (2017). Epistemic beliefs and achievement goal orientations: Relations between constructs versus personal profiles. Journal of Educational Research, 110(1), pp. 32-49. doi: 10.1080/00220671.2015.1034353

  • Kaplan, A. & Yahia, Y. (2017). High school students’ academic causal attributions in the cultural-political context of the Arab school system in Israel. Intercultural Education, 28(1), pp. 60-74. doi: 10.1080/14675986.2016.1271558

  • Garner, J.K., Kaplan, A., & Pugh, K. (2016). Museums as Contexts for Transformative Experiences and Identity Development. Journal of Museum Education, 41(4), pp. 341-352. doi: 10.1080/10598650.2016.1199343

  • Gunersel, A.B., Kaplan, A., Barnett, P., Etienne, M., & Ponnock, A.R. (2016). Profiles of change in motivation for teaching in higher education at an American research university. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(6), pp. 628-643. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2016.1163668

  • Peterson, S.K. & Kaplan, A. (2016). Bayesian analysis in educational psychology research: An example of gender differences in achievement goals. Learning and Individual Differences, 47, pp. 129-135. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2016.01.005

  • Kaplan, A. & Patrick, H. (2016). Learning Environments and Motivation. In K.R. Wentzel & D.B. Miele (Eds.), Handbook of Motivation at School (pp. 251-274). New York and London: Routledge.

  • Flum, H. & Kaplan, A. (2016). Higher education in a transforming society: The case of Arabs in Israel. International Journal of Educational Research, 76, pp. 89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ijer.2016.02.008

  • Kaplan, A. (2015). Opinion: Paradigms, methods, and the (as yet) failed striving for methodological diversity in educational psychology published research. FRONTIERS in PSYCHOLOGY, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01370

  • Lichtinger, E. & Kaplan, A. (2015). Employing a case study approach to capture motivation and self-regulation of young students with learning disabilities in authentic educational contexts. Metacognition and Learning, 10(1), pp. 119-149. doi: 10.1007/s11409-014-9131-1

  • Cromley, J.G., Perez, T., & Kaplan, A. (2015). Undergraduate STEM Achievement and Retention: Cognitive, Motivational, and Institutional Factors and Solutions. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(1), pp. 4-11. doi: 10.1177/2372732215622648

  • Ben-Eliyahu, A. & Kaplan, A. (2015). Growth curve modeling analysis of social and academic coping during elementary school. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 41, pp. 99-109. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2015.09.001

  • Pendergast, L.L. & Kaplan, A. (2015). Instructional context and student motivation, learning, and development: Commentary and implications for school psychologists. School Psychology International, 36(6), pp. 638-647. doi: 10.1177/0143034315613560