Daniel Schmidtke

Daniel Schmidtke

Research Associate

McMaster University

I work as a Research Associate for the McMaster English Language Development (MELD) program, affiliated researcher in McMaster Unviersity’s Centre for Advanced Research in Experimental and Applied Linguistics (ARiEAL), and Research Fellow at Mohawk College’s College Student Success Innovation Centre (CSSIC). My research focuses on the language and reading development of English language learners in higher education. You can find my latest published work below.

Interests

  • Reading development
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Eye-movements
  • Morphology
  • Quantitative linguistics
  • Reproducible science

Education

  • PhD in Cognitive Science of Language, 2016

    McMaster University, Canada

  • MSc in Developmental Linguistics, 2011

    University of Edinburgh, UK

  • BA in English Language and Linguistics, 2010

    York St. John University, UK

Research

My primary research interest is in reading development and experimental psycholinguistics. I use a variety of tools, including eye-tracking and quantitative linguistic methods, to delve into how linguistic, cognitive, and experiential factors influence reading behavior.

My current research focus is on individual differences in the development of reading skill among international students who use English as an additional language. This SSHRC-funded research project examines longitudinal change in reading skills among international students enrolled in McMaster University’s pre-sessional English for academic purposes (EAP) programs.

As Mohawk College’s College Student Success Innovation Centre (CSSIC) Research Fellow I am investigating literacy development among international students enrolled in Mohawk College’s EAP program. This research project will involve implementing and testing a targeted reading intervention which is aimed at enriching the academic English skills of international students at Mohawk College. You can read more about CSSIC and this project here.

Recent publications

See all publications

(2024). A psycholinguistic study of intergroup bias and its cultural propagation. In Scientific Reports.

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(2024). Bridging to academic success: the impact of reading gains in an English bridging program on GPAs. In Reading and Writing.

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(2024). Reading experience drives L2 reading speed development: a longitudinal study of EAL reading habits. In Frontiers in Education: Educational Psychology.

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Current projects

These projects are currently under peer review or have recently been published.

Does growth during an English bridging program benefit future academic flourishing? In this study we found that change in reading speed of passages of text, measured using the eye-tracking methodology, was a significant predictor of grade point average up to 3 years after the completion of the bridging program. Larger gains in reading speed are linked to higher GPAs. This project was published in Reading and Writing.

What can the reading habits of EFL students tell us about their reading development? This project tracked the reading activity of 150 bridging program students over 26 weeks in order to gain insight into their reading development. The published article can be found in Frontiers in Education: Educational Psychology.

Many words in English are morphologically complex (assign-ment, teach-er) and so being able to proficiently apply the correct endings (suffixes) to complex words is an important skill to acquire. In this project, we analyzed the written production of English language learners and asked What are the statistical properties that make morphologically complex words easier for EFL students to learn? This project was published in Applied Psycholinguistics.

This technical report assessed the change in English language skills of 340 EFL students enrolled in a university bridging program. This report used of the Reliable Change Index Statistic in order to test if the change in scores is greater than might would be expected from random variation alone. The report is available on ResearchGate.

Does your incoming reading skill give you a developmental advantage in an academic English bridging program? This longitudinal eye-movement study of over 400 EFL students showed that if you enter a bridging program with stronger English reading proficiency, you may have a head start in your reading fluency and reading comprehension. However, students of all incoming reading ability levels develop reading fluency and comprehension at the same rate. This project was published in Bilingualism: Language & Cognition.

In this study we used machine learning to investigate factors that predict EFL reading development. This project was published in Reading Research Quarterly.

Teaching

I have taught the following courses at McMaster University:

Laboratory in Experimental Linguistics

(2023). In this course students collaborate to plan, carrying out, analyse and report an experiment that addresses a cognitive aspect of language processing.

Statistics for Language Research

(2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022). An introductory course to statistical methods custom-tailored to the needs of language researchers. This course provides an introduction to R, a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

Computers and Linguistic Analysis

(2018, 2020, 2021). This course studies computational tools and techniques of language processing using large electronic collections of texts. Students are trained in basic text-processing, statistical and programming skills using R.

The Art of Leadership

(2017). This course offers senior undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in a learning-centred leadership program, involving peer-to-peer mentoring of students in the MELD program. The course provides up-front and on-going training and development in active leadership and mentorship.

Skills

R

R, Shiny, ggplot, Markdown

Statistics

LMER, longitudinal analysis, growth curve modeling

Teaching and learning

Evidence-informed pedagogy

Behavioral research

Programming: EyeLink, Psychopy, Java, DMDX; Platforms: Pavlovia, Inquisit, GitLab, Amazon Turk, DMDX

Collaborators

Line thickness corresponds to the number of co-authorships. Collaborators

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