David Purpura headshot photo

Pronouns: he/him

Phone: 765-494-2947


1200 W. State St.

Curriculum Vitae Selected Publications Back to Directory

David Purpura

Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Director of the Center for Early Learning

Courtesy Appointments

Psychological Sciences

Areas of Expertise

  • school readiness, early childhood education, home environment, dual language learners, intervention, assessment

HHS Signature Research Area(s)

  • Developmental Health and Wellness

Department of Human Development and Family Science Research Area(s)

  • Culture and Diversity
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Interpersonal Relations


I joined the Purdue faculty in the fall of 2012 after completing a US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois in the College of Education. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University in 2010. You could say that I study the ABCs of the 123s! In my research, I focus on understanding how young children in preschool through 3rd grade learn math, how to identify children at-risk for later math difficulties, and how to best intervene on these skills early. My current focus is on developing and evaluating interventions using picture books and games to support preschool children’s early mathematics skills, particularly for dual language learners. Over the last several years, and in collaboration with a professional author and illustrator, we’ve developed a series of six picture books with math concepts embedded in them. Through intervention studies funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the National Science Foundation we’re currently evaluating how these books can be used to improve the early mathematics skills of monolingual English speakers and dual language learners (Spanish/English). In my lab, we also focus on both the home and school contexts spanning the preschool and elementary school periods, as well as on the role of language and cultural practices in mathematics development for diverse populations.


Accepting graduate student applications for the December 1, 2023 deadline.


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2010-2012, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mathematics Education
  • PhD, 2010, Florida State University, Clinical Psychology
  • MS, 2007, Florida State University, Clinical Psychology
  • BA, 2005, Purdue University, Psychological Sciences


Social Media Accounts

Current Courses

  • HDFS 406 - Teaching Mathematics in Preschool and Primary School

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Purdue University Faculty Scholar Award - 2021-2025
  • Purdue Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Mid-Career Research and Scholarship - 2020
  • United States Department of State Fulbright Global Scholar Award - 2019-2021
  • Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences Early Career Research Achievement Award - 2017
  • Purdue University Teaching for Tomorrow Award - 2015-2016

Selected Grants

  • Principal Investigator, STEM Ed PRF: The PURPOSE Postdoctoral Training Initiative. National Science Foundation. Period 2022-2025. Total: $1,250,000
  • Co-Principal Investigator, A tool for aligning parent-driven math activities with children’s math skills. Caplan Foundation. Connor O'Rear (PI). Total: $49,896.
  • Principal Investigator, Promoting Math Language in Dual Language Learners through Picture Books: Evaluating Technological Supports for Dialogic Reading. Heising-Simons Foundation. Period 2021-2025. Total: $1,698,222.
  • Principal Investigator, Reading and Playing with Math: Promoting Preschoolers’ Math Language through Picture Books and Play Activities. Institute of Education Sciences. Period 2020-2024. Total: $1,399,800
  • Principal Investigator, My Math Stories: Taking My Place in Our Mathematical World. NewSchools Venture Fund. Period 2020-2023. $2,000,000.

Professional Affiliations

  • Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society
  • Society for Research on Child Development

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