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Educational psychology professor Marty Carr helped children excel in mathematics

Kathryn Kao

August 1, 2017

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Marty Carr, a professor in the department of educational psychology, who dedicated her career to researching the development of mathematics literacy in young children, died on July 30, 2017. She was 59.

During her nearly three decades at the University of Georgia, Carr focused on examining the cognitive, motivational and social factors that influence mathematics achievement in elementary school children. Her accomplishments extended beyond the fields of educational psychology and mathematics education and led to notable increases in both basic information about mathematics learning, as well as applied strategies for reducing the gender gap in learning.

Carr's longitudinal research, which was highly valued for its rigor and ability to address questions of development over time, advanced both theory and practice by explaining how multiple factors, including metacognition, self-confidence and beliefs about effort and ability, interact to influence the development of advanced mathematics strategies and achievement.

Most notably, her research examined how fluency and gender can predict the emergence of different strategies and mathematics achievement, as well as how gifted children differ in their metacognitive knowledge, which attracted national attention for its innovative application of metacognitive theory to mathematics education.

"Marty was an extraordinary teacher and researcher who played an important role in enhancing achievement in young students," said Dean Craig H. Kennedy. "The impact of her work will continue to inspire those who share her passion for mathematics learning."

Carr was recognized on a national level by her appointments to the editorial boards of major journals in educational psychology, including Journal of Educational Psychology, Educational Psychology Review and School Psychology Quarterly.

Her prominence in both the educational psychology and mathematics education research communities resulted in her election as president of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the American Psychology Association (APA) and president of the Women in Mathematics Education organization. Additionally, Carr was elected as a fellow of the APA, a life-long distinction, and was later appointed chair of the APA Fellows Committee for the Educational Psychology Division.

During her career, she received multiple internal and external awards in support of her outstanding research accomplishments, including the 2011 W.A. Owens Creative Research Award from the University of Georgia; the 2011 Karen Dee Michalowicz Service Award from the Joint Committee on Women and Mathematics Education; the 2009 Aderhold Distinguished Professor Award and the 2005 Russell H. Yeany, Jr. Research Award from the College of Education at the University of Georgia; and the 1993 Award of Excellence from the American Mensa Education and Research Foundation.

Carr's passion for closing the mathematics achievement gap for students not only provided the field with critical information about how instruction can be improved, but it also helped lay the foundation for future researchers in the field.

Details of Carr's memorial service are forthcoming.