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Assessment of Natural Play in Young Children for Instructional Planning

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Northeastern University


Contact Emanuel Mason
Phone: 617-373-5043
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This Postdoctoral Research Associate position in Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology is funded by an Institute of Education Sciences (IES), National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), U.S. Department of Education, award to Northeastern University, with Karin Lifter, Emanuel J. Mason, and Takuya Minami as Principal

Investigators. The 4-year project, entitled “Assessment of Natural Play for Instructional Planning,” is designed to validate the Developmental Play Assessment (DPA: Lifter, 20001) instrument. The DPA was designed as a tool to generate a profile of a child’s skills in play for the purposes of guiding instructional planning. The project seeks to (a) adapt the research version of the DPA (DPA-R) into a user-friendly version for practitioners (DPA-P); and (b) evaluate the psychometric properties and practical feasibility of the DPA-P. Project activities, over the course of 4 years, include recruiting 820 children, with and without disabilities, ranging in age from 8 to 60 months, and conducting longitudinal follow-up of about 217 of these children. Products will be a fully developed and validated assessment for practitioners to use to assess children’s progress in play for instructional purposes, evidence on the validity and reliability of the DPA-P, and an on-line package for training practitioners to use the instrument. In addition, an online training program is being developed and tested for use by practitioners in the field.

Responsibilities will include management of the project and participation in all phases. The project is now at the beginning of year 2; data collection is underway.


Applicants with a completed doctoral degree in a related field (e.g., child development; early intervention/early childhood special education; psychology) are eligible to apply. Successful applicants will be selected based on their experiences in working with young children, experience in assessment, and provision of multicultural services to children and families.

Familiarity with the delivery of services in early intervention, early childhood special education, 1 Lifter, K. (2000). Linking assessment to intervention for children with developmental disabilities or at-risk for

developmental delay: The Developmental Play Assessment (DPA) Instrument. In K. Gitlin-Weiner, A.

Sandgrund, & C.E. Schaefer (Eds.), Play diagnosis and assessment (second edition) (pp. 228-261). New York:

John Wiley & Sons.

DPA Grant: Recruitment of Post-doctoral Fellow; p.2 and/or early childhood is an advantage. Applicants should possess an excellent professional demeanor and strong research and writing skills. Individuals with strong computer and advanced data analytical skills are a plus.

Additional Information

Applicants must apply on-line; the directions are specified below. Applicants should include a letter of interest, graduate school transcripts, curriculum vitae, three letters of reference, and any other relevant materials to the attention of Karin Lifter, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology. Please email if you have any questions. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. This is a full time position with benefits, with the expectation that the candidate will stay in the position for two years.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Northeastern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Educational Institution and Employer, Title IX University. Northeastern University particularly welcomes applications from minorities, women and persons with disabilities. Northeastern University is an E-Verify Employer.

How To Apply

Go to the Northeastern University website:

Search (upper right corner) for HRM

Click on link for Human Resources Management

On the Human Resources Management home page, click on “Careers at Northeastern”

Choose “Professional, Management and Staff Positions”

Click on “View Job Postings/Apply to Positions”

Scroll down to the College/Area section, click on the magnifying glass, and click on “Bouvé

College of Health Sciences”

Scroll down a bit more and hit “search”

The posting title is: Postdoctoral Research Associate

Requisition Number: 11474

Grade: 10.

Posting Date: September 1, 2011

Click on the posting, and continue with the directions at the end of the posting:

1. Click on the 'Add to My Positions' button;

2. Click on the 'View My Positions' button, which is to the right;

3. Click on the 'Apply for Positions' button;

4. Follow the instructions on how to complete 'The Application Process'.

More information about the position is on the HRM Website.

    When applying for this position, please mention you saw this ad in the APS Postdoc Exchange.

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