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Nicole McNeil, Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty, ACE Teaching Fellows

Nicole McNeil - Alliance for Catholic Education

Corbett Family Hall

Dr. Nicole McNeil serves as an adjunct faculty member for the ACE Teaching Fellows program, where she teaches courses in psychology. Dr. McNeil is also the ACE Associate Professor of Psychology and a fellow with the Institute for Educational Initiatives. McNeil studies cognitive development, with a primary focus on how children think, learn, and solve problems in the domain of mathematics. She is a regularly invited speaker at universities around the country and has published her work in top journals such as Child Development, Cognitive Science, Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Educational Psychology. McNeil's current research, which focuses on how children construct understanding of fundamental mathematics concepts, is supported by grants from the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • B.S., Carnegie Mellon University



  • 2016 Christ the Teacher Award, from the ACE Teaching Fellows program
  • 2013 Boyd McCandless Award, from the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)


  • McNeil, N. M., Hornburg, C. B., Brletic-Shipley, H., & Matthews, J. M. (in press). Improving children's understanding of mathematical equivalence via an intervention that goes beyond nontraditional arithmetic practice. Journal of Educational Psychology.
  • O’Rear, C. D. & McNeil, N. M. (in press). Improved set-size labeling mediates the effect of a counting intervention on children’s understanding of cardinality. Developmental Science.
  • McNeil, N. M., Hornburg, C. B., Devlin, B. L., Carrazza, C., & McKeever, M. O. (2019). Consequences of individual differences in children’s formal understanding of mathematical equivalence. Child Development, 90, 940-956.
  • Hornburg, C. B., Wang, L. & McNeil, N. M. (2018). Comparing meta-analysis and individual person data analysis using raw data on children’s understanding of equivalence. Child Development, 89, 1983-1995.
  • Fyfe, E. R., Matthews, P. G., Amsel, E., McEldoon, K. L., & McNeil, N. M. (2018). Assessing formal knowledge of math equivalence among algebra and pre-algebra students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110, 87-101.
  • Hornburg, C. B., Rieber, M., & McNeil, N. M. (2017). An integrative data analysis of gender differences in children’s understanding of mathematical equivalence. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 63, 140-150.
  • Fuhs, M. W., Hornburg, C. B., & McNeil, N. M. (2016). Specific number sense skills mediate the association between inhibitory control and mathematics achievement. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1217-1235.
  • Alcock, L., Ansari, D., Batchelor, S., Bisson, M., De Smedt, B., Gilmore, C., Gobel, S., Hannula-Sormunen, M., Hodgen, J., Inglis, M., Jones, I., Mazzocco, M., McNeil, N. M., Schneider, M., Simms, V., & Weber, K. (2016). Challenges in mathematical cognition: A collaboratively-derived research agenda. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 2, 20-41.
  • McNeil, N. M., Fyfe, E. R., & Dunwiddie, A. E. (2015). Arithmetic practice can be modified to promote understanding of math equivalence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107, 423-436.
  • Fyfe, E. R., McNeil, N. M., & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2015). Easy as ABCABC: Abstract language facilitates performance on a concrete patterning task. Child Development, 86, 927-935.
  • Fyfe, E. R., McNeil, N. M., Son, J. Y., & Goldstone, R. L. (2014). Concreteness fading in mathematics and science instruction: A systematic review. Educational Psychology Review, 26, 9-25.
  • McNeil, N. M. (2014). A “change-resistance” account of children’s difficulties understanding mathematical equivalence. Child Development Perspectives, 8, 42-47.