Arya Ansari

Assistant Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Development and Family Science

Download Vitae


Arya Ansari is an assistant professor of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Education and Human Ecology and a faculty associate at the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. His research program investigates how contextual factors influence the early development of low-income and minority children, with the aim of intervening and informing policies that can minimize the opportunity gap in the United States.


  • PhD, Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 2016
  • MA, Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 2013
  • BA, Psychology, George Mason University, 2011

Research Interests

Research Summary

Ansari’s current research falls under two broader umbrellas. His first line of research is focused on the role of publicly funded preschool programs in shaping children’s short-and long-term school success and identifying mechanisms of such program benefits—not just whether programs prepare children for school, but also how and why. Ansari's second line of work concentrates on how the home context promotes the early educational success of children, both independently and conjointly with the school system, and how early education and two-generation programs can facilitate this interaction between the home and school.


  • Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (2019-present)
  • Research Assistant Professor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (2018-2019)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (2016-2018)

Selected Grants

Classroom Age Composition and Children’s Early Learning: Understanding the Role of Classroom Practices (2019-2024, Institute for Educational Sciences, $1,399,962). The main objectives of this project are to provide a more nuanced understanding of associations between preschool classroom age composition, classroom practices, and children’s early learning and social development. (PI: Purtell; Co-PIs: Ansari, Logan, and Justice).


Present, Engaged, and Ready to Learn: The School Absences of America’s Youngest Children (2018-2020, Spencer Foundation, $49,875). This project uses a theoretically-grounded approach to understand the patterns and outcomes of absenteeism at ages 3 and 4, and the extent to which absenteeism detracts from the benefits children may derive from exposure to enriched early childhood learning environments.(PI: Ansari).


Do Excessive School Absences Link to Children’s Social-behavioral Development and Executive Functioning? (2019-2021, National Institute of Health, $169,775). This project uses nationally representative data to: (1) identify malleable and policy-relevant school and classroom factors that influence children’s school absences; and (2) determine whether kindergarten absenteeism is linked with children’s social-behavioral development and executive functioning. (PI: Ansari; Co-PI: Gottfried).


Head Start Age Composition and Children’s Early Learning and Development: Understanding When and Why it Matters (2016-2018, American Educational Research Association, $34,000). This project examined how classroom factors and child characteristics modified the associations between classroom age composition and children’s early learning and development in the Head Start program. (PIs: Purtell and Ansari).


The Antecedents and Outcomes of Early Care and Education Programs for Latino Children in America: A Mixed-methods Study (2015-2016, Department of Health and Human Services, $25,000). This project used both quantitative and qualitative methods to characterize the early care and education utilization behaviors of Latino families and to determine both whether and why children’s enrollment in early care and education has persisting benefits (PI: Ansari).

Selected Publications

  • Yan, N., Ansari, A., & Wang, Y. (in press). Intrusive parenting and child externalizing behaviors across early childhood: The antecedents and consequences of child-driven effects. Journal of Family Psychology. Advance online publication.
  • Ansari, A., Pianta, R. C., Whittaker, J. V., Vitiello, V. E, & Ruzek, E. A. (2019). Starting early: The benefits of attending early childhood education at age 3. American Educational Research Journal, 56, 1495-1523.
  • Ansari, A., & Pianta, R. C. (2019). Teacher-child interaction quality as a function of classroom age diversity and teachers’ beliefs and qualifications. Applied Developmental Science, 23, 294-304.
  • Ansari, A., &Pianta, R. C. (2019). School absenteeism in the first decade of education and outcomes in adolescence. Journal of School Psychology, 76, 48-61.
  • Gottfried, M. A., & Ansari, A. (2019). Raising the bar: Teaching kindergarteners with emotional and behavioral disabilities and teachers’ readiness expectations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 48, 75-83.
  • Ansari, A. (2018). The persistence of preschool effects from early childhood through adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110, 952-973.
  • Ansari, A., & Gottfried, M. A. (2018). Early childhood educational settings and school absenteeism for children with disabilities. AERA Open, 4, 1-15.  
  • Ansari, A., & Pianta, R. C. (2018). Variation in the long-term benefits of child care: The role of classroom quality during middle childhood. Developmental Psychology, 54, 1854-1867.  
  • Ansari, A., & Pianta, R. C. (2018). The role of elementary school quality in the persistence of preschool effects. Children and Youth Services Review, 86, 120-127. 
  • Ansari, A., & Purtell, K. M. (2018). Absenteeism in Head Start and children’s academic learning. Child Development, 89, 1088-1098.
  • Gershoff, E. T., Sattler, K., & Ansari, A. (2018). Strengthening causal estimates for links between spanking and children’s externalizing behavior problems. Psychological Science, 29, 110-120.
  • Pianta, R. C., & Ansari, A. (2018). Does attendance in private schools predict student outcomes at age 15? Evidence from a longitudinal study. Educational Researcher, 47, 419-434.
  • Ansari, A.(2017). The selection of preschool for immigrant and native-born Latino families in the U.S. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 41, 149-160.
  • Ansari, A. (2017). Multigrade kindergarten classrooms and children’s academic achievement, executive function, and socioemotional development. Infant and Child Development, 26, e02036.
  • Ansari, A., López, M. L., Manfra, L., Bleiker, C., Dinehart, L. H. B., Hartman, S. C. & Winsler, A. (2017). Differential third grade outcomes associated with attending publicly funded preschool programs for low-income, Latino children. Child Development, 88, 1743-1756.
  • Ansari, A., & Gershoff, E. T. (2016). Parent involvement in Head Start and children’s development: Indirect effects through parenting. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78, 562-579.
  • Ansari, A., Purtell, K. M., & Gershoff, E. T. (2016). Classroom age composition and the school readiness of 3- and 4-year-olds in the Head Start program. Psychological Science, 27, 53-63.
  • Ansari, A., & Winsler, A. (2016). Kindergarten readiness for low-income and ethnically diverse children attending publicly funded preschool programs in Miami. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 37, 69-80.
  • Crosnoe, R., Ansari, A., Purtell, K. M., & Wu, N. (2016). Latin American immigration, maternal education, and approaches to managing children’s schooling in the United States. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78, 60-74.
  • Crosnoe, R., Purtell, K. M., Davis-Kean, P., Ansari, A., & Benner, A. D. (2016). The selection of children from low-income families into pre-K. Developmental Psychology.52, 599-612.
  • Gershoff, E. T., Ansari, A., Purtell, K. M., & Sexton, H. R. (2016). Changes in parents’ spanking and reading as mechanisms for Head Start impacts on children. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 480-491.