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Stephen M. Tonks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology


Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations (LEPF)

Research Interests:

My current research focuses on reading engagement, the interplay of culture and motivation, and ways to increase students’ motivation in the classroom. I also have specific interests in the effects of high-stakes testing on student motivation, and on Japanese culture and education.


Ph.D. University of Maryland, Human Development and Educational Psychology

B.A. University of Michigan, Psychology and German

Recent Publications

  • Shernoff, D. J., Kelly, S., Tonks, S. M., Anderson, B., Cavanagh, R. F., Sinha, S., & Abdi, B. (2016). Student engagement as a function of environmental complexity in high school classrooms. Learning and Instruction, 43, 52-60.
  • Wigfield, A., Tonks. S., & Klauda, S. L. (2016). Expectancy-value theory. In K. R. Wentzel & David B. Miele (Eds.), Handbook of motivation at school (2nd Edition), (pp. 55-74). New York: Routledge.
  • Durik, A. M., & Tonks, S. M. (2015). Beyond success: The potential of imbuing memories with task value. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 4, 381-382.
  • Shernoff, D. J., Tonks, S. M., & Anderson, B. (2014). The impact of the learning environment on student engagement in high school classrooms. In D. J. Shernoff & J. Bempechat (Eds.), Engaging youth in schools: Evidence-based models to guide future innovations. NSSE Yearbook. New York: Teachers College Record.
  • Taboada, A., Tonks, S. M., Wigfield, A. & Guthrie, J. (2013). Effects of motivational and cognitive variables on reading comprehension. In D. E. Alvermann, N. J. Unrau, & R. B. Ruddell (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (6th Edition), (pp. 589-610). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  • Tonks, S. M., & Taboada, A. (2011). Developing self-regulated readers through instruction for reading engagement. In B. J. Zimmerman and D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance (pp. 173-186). New York: Routledge.

Stephen Tonks


(815) 753-5497
Graham 227B

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Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations

Graham Hall 223