About Me

Hi, and welcome to my page!
My name is Rebecca Knoph, which is pronounced:

  • /rəbekə näf/ (English pronunciation)
  • /rebekə kənäf/ (Norsk uttalelse).
  • My maiden name is Allinder (pronounced /aləndər/).

You can download the very outdated paper version of my Curriculum Vitae: Last upated: June 3, 2019

I am a third-year doctoral research fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oslo in Norway.  I work with three main research teams between the University of Oslo (where my main supervisor and I are located) and the University of Houston, Texas (where my second supervisor is located).

  • AVEL (Academic Vocabulary for English Learners; Houston) investigates academic vocabulary assessments and factors that affect the performance of English language learners differently from native speakers. We especially focus on general item response theory, differential item functioning, and explanatory item response theory.
  • LinCon (Literacy and Numeracy in Context; Oslo) investigates the relation between language and mathematical development, causal mechanisms for developing reading and mathematical literacy, and differences for dual language learners. This group is quite quantitatively oriented and methods vary, including mixed regression models and cross-lagged longitudinal methods.
  • TextDIM (Text Comprehension: Development, Instruction, and Multiple Texts; Oslo) investigates how early readers comprehend text, develop comprehension skills into adulthood, and how we comprehend multiple texts and text media (for example, print versus digital scrolling versus digital page-turning). While I am no longer an official TextDIM member, I collaborate with peers in TextDIM often.

I have two main interests: language learning and statistics.  I know–those two interests do not sound very related, but my thesis focuses on different ways to know a word (and assess it), how different word features impact how likely we are to know a word, and how this process differs for native speakers of English versus English Language learners.  I also teach statistics at the master’s level and reading intervention science at the bachelor’s level, building student skills of reading dense research articles comprehensively (aka not skipping the tables) and critically (aka not taking everything at face value).

I am also part of many other research projects outside of the main research teams:

  • AVEL investigates academic vocabulary assessments and factors that affect the performance of English language learners differently from English natives; headed by the University of Houston, Texas.
  • LURI is a new listening comprehension measure for young children (ages 3-6), which identifies who needs immediate language intervention; currently in translation and validation procedures between Norwegian (original), English, and Chinese; headed by the Department of Special Education at the University of Oslo.
  • VOICES is a new course for intercultural competence to better prepare preservice teachers in Norway for the increasingly diverse and multicultural classroom; headed by Nord University in Bodø, Norway.
  • BLS improved the Introduction to Statistics course as a blended-learning course for Norwegian students in their Master’s programs; in collaboration with Oslo Metropolitan University. (This research project is now complete and the improved course has been implemented.)

Prior to accepting this position, I graduated with my Master of Science in Experimental Psychology with a graduate certificate in Statistics and Research Design; and Summa Cum Laude in the Honors College with my Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  I specialized in linguistic research, testing, and education, specifically in second/foreign language learning and testing.  While IRT is my favorite type of statistical analysis, my second favorite analysis is the simple t-test because of the Lady Tasting Tea myth (or maybe true story, we will never really know), though my students do not find that story nearly as fun as I do.

My husband, Martin, is from Brønnøysund, Norway.  We met shortly before I studied abroad in Bodø at Universitetet i Nordland (now Nord Universitetet or North University).  After many months of visa paperwork, doctor’s visits, and embassy appointments, we married in October 2015.  Fun fact: we share an anniversary with the Obamas!  We welcomed our baby boy into the world just weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.  I am definitely still adjusting to this whole “working mom” thing, but our son continues to humble, teach, and inspire me. He’s an incredible Norwegian/English bilingual toddler, and a wonderful case study for me!

I love working with statistics and discovering new language learning and testing applications.  When I am not teaching, studying, researching, or “momming” (which is rare these days), I enjoy being outdoors.  The Norwegian landscape is a little different from the lakes and marsh of Missouri, but I enjoy both nonetheless.  I also enjoy painting–especially with acrylic paint.  My favorite store in Norway is Søstrene Grene, which is a bit like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, but more expensive and smaller.

Oh, and my favorite book is Flowers for Algernon.  My dad introduced me to this book when I was a teenager, and while I usually do not enjoy re-reading books, I always make an exception for this one. It will push you to consider the limitations of science and the impact that innovation can have at the individual level.  If you have not read it, prepare to cry.

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