School of Education

Ben Seipel, PhD

Graduate Program Coordinator


Ph.D. Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota 2011

M.A. Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota 2008

B.M.E Music Education, B.S. Psychology, B.S. Spanish Education, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 2001

Areas of Expertise

  • Cognitive Processing
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Assessment
  • Online Teaching and Learning; Educational Technology


Ben completed his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in 2011. Here at California State University, Chico, he teaches courses on Educational Psychology, Fundamental Practices of Teaching, Assessment in Special Education, and Introduction to Research Methods in Education. His research focused primarily on cognitive processing, reading comprehension, assessment, and online learning. He is the original author of both the  Multiple-choice Online Causal Comprehension Assessment(MOCCA) and MOCCA-C assessments that diagnose different cognitive processing issues for struggling readers in 3 rd-5 th grade and college students respectively.  Both of these research projects are funded by the  Institute of Education Sciences (IES) through the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, Ben has secured grant funding to assist Chico State faculty with the development of their online courses. This work in online education builds on his own experience of teaching online—for which he has won awards locally and regionally. He has also secured grant funding for professional development opportunities for regional elementary science teachers to implement the Next Generation Science Standards in their classrooms (Project ESTEEM). Prior to his career in research and high education, Ben worked as a Spanish teacher and is also licensed to teach K-12 vocal/general music.


Center for Teaching and Learning(opens in new window), University of Oregon (MOCCA)

Center for Congnitive Sciences(opens in new window) (alumni), University of Minnesota, Twin Cities 

Major Grants and Contracts Awarded

Principal Investigator: Northern California (NorCal) Growing Responsive, Equitable, Adaptable and Transformative (GREAT) Teachers Pipeline Program. US. Dept. of Education: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. $13,349,551 (2022-2025).

External Evaluator: Far North Literacy Development Consortium. California Department of Education. Awarded to Butte County Office of Education. $60,000 (PI: Minden King; $5.8 million; 2021-2024).

Principal Investigator: Multiple-choice Online Casual Comprehension Assessment for Postsecondary Students (MOCCA-College): Measuring Individual Differences in Reading Comprehension Ability of Struggling College Readers by Text Type (R305A180417(opens in new window))Institute of Education Sciences. $1,383,123 (2018-2022). 

Co-Director: Project ESTEEM: Elementary Science Teachers: Educating, Elevating, and Meliorating: California Department of Education Improving Teaching Quality STEM Initiative: $500,000 (Jan. 2016- Dec. 2017); (Co-Director: Mike Kotar).

Co-Principal Investigator: Institute of Educational Science: Educational Research- Reading & Writing: Goal 5: Measurement 3 Year Study (IES: R305A140185): $1,600,000 (July 2014- June 2017) Using Differences among Readers: Development of a Multiple-choice Online Cloze (PI: Gina Biancarosa, University of Oregon; Mark Davison, co-PI; Sarah Carlson, co-PI)


Clinton-Lisell, V., Seipel, B., Gilpin, S., & Litzinger, C. (2023) Interactive features of e-texts’ effects on learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Interactive Learning Environments, 31(6), 3728-3743. (Available online 2021).

*Ness-Maddox, H., Carlson, S.E., Dahl, A.C., Kennedy, P.C., Davison, M.L., Seipel, B., and Clinton-Lisell, V. (2023). Emotional factors of causal coherence in text comprehension. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 72.

Seipel, B., Kennedy, P., Carlson, S.E., Clinton-Lisell, V., & Davison, M. L. (2022; invited manuscript) MOCCA-College: Preliminary validity evidence of a cognitive diagnostic reading comprehension assessment. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Davison, M., Davenport, E. C., Jr., *Hao, J., Seipel, B., & Carlson, S. (2022). Regression with reduced rank predictor matrices: A model of trade-offs. Psychological Methods. *Student author.

Clinton-Lisell, V., *Taylor, T., Seipel, B., Carlson, S., & Davison, M. (2022). Performance on reading comprehension assessments and college achievement: A meta-analysis. Journal of College Reading and Learning. *Student author.

Seipel, B., Bailey, P., & Teasdale, R. (2022). Changing gears in the assessment cycle: Preparing for gradual yet substantial shifts. In E. Meletiado (Ed.) Policies and Practices for Assessing Inclusive Teaching and Learning. Hersey, PA: IGI Global. 157-182.

Chen, R., Daniels, E., Miller, R. G., Ochanji, M., Seipel, B., & Warren, A. M. (2021). Educators' perceptions of middle level education in a state without a middle level teacher credential. California Council of Teacher Education Fall 2021 Research Monograph, 14-20.

Davison, M. L., Seipel, B., Clinton, V., Carlson, S., & Kennedy, P. (2020). MOCCA college: An assessment of inferential narrative and expository comprehension.  Editorial Universitat Politècnica de València. 417-425.

Clinton, V., *Taylor, T., *Bujabee, S., Seipel, B., Carlson, S.E., & Davison, M. (2020).  Inferential comprehension differences between narrative and expository texts: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Reading and Writing. *Student author.

Carlson, S.E., Renken, M., Masser, J., & Seipel, B. (2020; invited chapter). Theories of Learning and Instruction in C. Albers, A. Garbacz, and K. Kelly (eds.) Theoretical Foundations of School Psychology: Research and Practice.

Carlson, S. E., Seipel, B., Biancarosa, G., Davison, M. L., Clinton, V. (2019). Demonstration of an innovative reading comprehension diagnostic tool. In M. Scheffel, J. Broisin, V. Pammer-Schindler, A. Ioannou, & J. Schneider (Eds.), Transforming Learning with Meaningful Technologies, (pp.769-772), Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Seipel, B., & Ferrari, C. (2019). Preparing and Training Higher Education Faculty to Ensure Quality Online Learning and Teaching in E. Smidt and R. Li (eds.) Ensuring Quality and Integrity in Online Learning Programs.

*Liu, B., Kennedy, P. C., Seipel, B., Carlson, S. E., Biancarosa, G., & Davison, M. L. (2019). Can we learn from student mistakes in a reading comprehension assessment? Journal of Educational Measurement, 56, 815 – 835. *Student author.

Seipel, B., *Mendel, K., & *Young, R. (2019). Teaching Teacher Agency in an Era of Standardization. In J. L. Vodopivec, L. Jančec, & T. Štemberger (Eds.), Implicit Pedagogy for Optimized Learning in Contemporary Education. *Student authors.

Biancarosa, G., Kennedy, P. C., Carlson, S. E., *Yoon, H., Seipel, B., *Liu, B., & Davison, M. L. (2018). Constructing Subscores That Add Validity: A Case Study of Identifying Students at Risk. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 79(1), 65-84.

Davison, M., Biancarosa, G., Carlson, S., Seipel, B. & *Liu, B.  (2018). Preliminary Findings on the Computer Administered Multiple-choice Online Causal Comprehension Assessment (MOCCA), a Diagnostic Reading Comprehension Test. Assessment for Effective Intervention. *Student author.

Seipel, B., Biancarosa, G., Carlson, C. E., & Davison, M. (2018).  The need, use, and future of cognitive diagnostic assessments in classroom practice. For C.V.X. Wang (Ed.) Handbook of research on program development and assessment methodologies in K-20 education. Hersey, PA: IGI Global.

Seipel, B., & Koch, S. (2017). Using Constructivism to Teach Reliability, Validity and Variation to Future Special Education Teachers. The Constructivist, Fall 2017, 56-81

*Pierson, S., Goto, K., Seipel, B., Giampaoli, J., Buffardi, K., & *Wylie, A. (2016). Methodology for assessing the impact of a pilot mindful eating intervention on food behaviors among third-fifth grade children and their parents. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 14 (3), 70-76. *Student author.

Seipel, B., Carlson, S. E., & Clinton, V. (2017). When Do Comprehender Groups Differ? A Moment-by-Moment Analysis of Think-Aloud Protocols of Good and Poor Comprehenders. Reading Psychology38(1), 39-70.

Seipel., B. (Oct., 2016). Rigorous Democracy: Developing a Theoretical Framework for Democracy, Rigor, and Equity. Education in a Democracy: A Journal of the NNER, 7-40.

Seipel, B. & Slemrod, T. (2016). SmartPens: Assistive, but not intuitive, technology. CCNews, 27(2), 34-37.

Seipel, B., Biancarosa, G., Carlson, S., & Davison, M. (2015). Analysis of Textual Features of a New Reading Comprehension Assessment: MOCCA. Evanston, IL: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. (ED562094)

Seipel, B. (2015). Ring! Ring! Science Calling! Using Interactive Art to Explore Variation, Inheritance, and Evolution. Science and Children. 52(8), 31-36. 

Clinton, V., Carlson, S. E., & Seipel, B. (2015). Linguistic Markers of Inference Generation While Reading. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 1-22.

Seipel, B., Carlson, S., Bianco-Simeral, S., Frigaard, M., Wolff, C., & Goto, K. (2014). The Nutritional Moral of the Story:  An Examination of Storybooks used to Promote Healthy Food Choice Behavior. Psychology and Education, 30-41.

Carlson, S., Seipel, B., & McMaster, K. (2014). Development of a new reading comprehension assessment: Identifying comprehension differences among readers. Learning and Individual Differences 32, 40-53. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2014.03.003. 

Clinton, V., Seipel, B., van den Broek, P., McMaster, K. L., Kendeou, P., Carlson, S. E. & Rapp, D. N. (2014). Gender differences in inference generation by fourth-grade students. Journal of Research in Reading. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2012.01531.x 

Fehr, C. N., Davison, M. L., Graves, M. G., Sales, G. C., & Seipel, B. (2012). The effect of individualized, online vocabulary instruction on picture vocabulary scores: An efficacy study. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 25(1), 87-102.

Carlson, S., Seipel, B., & McMaster, K. (2011). Using a new reading comprehension assessment to measure discourse representations and identify types of comprehenders. Evanston, IL: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. (ED528950)

Courses Taught

Portrait of Ben Seipel, PhD