Dr ZHANG, Xiao
Dr ZHANG, Xiao
Academic Unit of Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences
B.S.(BNU), M.Ed.(BNU), Ph.D.(HKU)
(852) 3917 0375
Room 629, Meng Wah Complex
- Child Development
- Early Childhood Education
- Educational Psychology
- Mathematics Education
- Parents and Family Issues in Education
Educational Psychology, Educational Inquiry, Child Psychology, Quantitative Research Methodologies (e.g., Longitudinal Methods), Early Childhood Development and Education
Early Mathematics, Infant-Toddler Curriculum, Socioemotional Learning, Early Childhood Development and Education
My research interests lie in the major areas of early childhood development, learning, and education from birth through 8 years of age. I have three distinct but interrelated lines of research. In one line of research, my focus is on early mathematics. I am interested in how individual and instructional characteristics contribute to young children's acquisition of mathematical knowledge in a variety of domains including, but not limited to, number and arithmetic, measurement, geometry, and patterning. Another line of my research concerns the bioecology of early childhood development. I am fascinated by the interplay of young children and their significant others in micro- and macro-level developmental contexts (families, preschools, after-school programs, ethnical and cultural backgrounds, and historical events such as the COVID-19 pandemic). I am particularly intrigued by such interplay under crisis situations (e.g., strict lockdown) and adverse circumstances (e.g., rural, remote, lower socioeconomic status, separation from parents due to boarding or migration). Still another line of my research lies in quality care and curriculum for children aged zero to three years. I am interested in identifying the principles of quality care and the curriculum components of quality programs and embedding these principles and components into zero-to-three curriculum.
My research typically involves information from various sources, including longitudinal data of typically developing children, studies of children who have specific learning difficulty or developmental disorders, intervention programs for children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and cross-cultural studies of Chinese and Western children.
2020 Macau Distinguished Visiting Scholar, University of Macau
2019 Faculty Outstanding Young Researcher Award. Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong
2018 Research Output Prize. The University of Hong Kong.
2017 GRF/ECS Merit Award. Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong.
2015 Quality Publication Award, Faculty of Education and Human Development, The Education University of Hong Kong.
2015 President's Award for Outstanding Performance in Research, The Education University of Hong Kong.
2010 Zhu Zhi-xian Award in Psychology.
26. 2022– 2024 Principal Investigator. The Longitudinal Interplay between Mother-child and Father-child Numeracy Activities and Young Children's Symbolic and Nonsymbolic Number Skills. General Research Fund from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. 17607621). HK$553,434.
25. 2021– 2023 Principal Investigator. Barriers and Benefits of Primary Caregivers' Involvement in Children's Education during COVID-19 School Closures. Seed Fund for Basic Research from the University of Hong Kong. HK$120,000.
24. 2021– 2023 Principal Investigator. Language Interventions for Rural Chinese Children in Boarding Preschools. Seed Fund for Translational and Applied Research from the University of Hong Kong. HK$150,000.
23. 2021 – 2023 Principal Investigator. Pattern Understanding as Precursor and Outcome of Children's Cognitive Development. General Research Fund from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. 17612120). HK$1,079,162.
22. 2020 – 2022 Principal Investigator. Home Math Activities and Children's Math Trajectories from Preschool to Primary School. Seed Fund for Basic Research from the University of Hong Kong (No. 201910159022). HK$97,060.
21. 2020 – 2022 Principal Investigator. Transition to Boarding Preschool and Young Children's Neurophysiological and Emotional-Behavioral Development. National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31970999). RMB¥580,000.
20. 2019 – 2021 Principal Investigator. Family Socioeconomic Status and Young Chinese Children's Reading, Mathematics, and Science Knowledge. Seed Fund for Basic Research from the University of Hong Kong (No. 201810159015). HK$92,200.
19. 2018 – 2021 Principal Investigator. Why is Subtracting Different from Adding? Examining the Role of Mental Rotation in Performance and Strategy Use. General Research Fund from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. 17603817). HK$976,900.
18. 2018 – 2020 Principal Investigator. Mental Health Status of Rural Preschool Children Attending Boarding School versus Day School: A Longitudinal Study. Open Fund from the Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, The Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KLMH2018K04). RMB¥60, 000.
17. 2018 – 2020 Principal Investigator. Pattern Understanding and Spatial Skills: Linkages to Reading and Arithmetic Competencies in Young Chinese Children. Seed Fund for Basic Research from the University of Hong Kong (No. 201711159014). HK$111,050.
16. 2018 – 2020 Co-Investigator (PI: CHAN Chi-keung, Hong Kong Shue Yan University). Developing and Validating a Parent-Focused Intervention to Enhance the Executive Function Skills of Young Chinese Children from Low-income Families. Competitive Research Funding Schemes for the Local Self-financing Degree Sector from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. UGC/FDS15/H01/17). HK$937,488
15. 2016 – 2018 Principal Investigator. Cognitive Precursors of Word Reading versus Arithmetic Competencies in Chinese Young Children. Seed Fund for Basic Research from the University of Hong Kong. HK$150,000. (completed)
14. 2016 – 2017 Principal Investigator. Home Numeracy Envrionments and Chinese Children's Mathematics Skills. Faculty Research Fund from the University of Hong Kong. HK$30,000. (completed)
13. 2014 – 2018 Principal Investigator. Linking Quantitative, Spatial, and Linguistic Skills to Number and Arithmetic Competence: Toward a Mediation Model for Predicting Early Mathematics. Early Career Scheme from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. 28404114). HK$830,150. (completed)
12. 2014 – 2016 Co-Investigator (PI: CHAN Chi-keung, Hong Kong Shue Yan University). Executive Function Skills and Early School Success in Young Chinese Children from Low-income Families. Competitive Research Funding Schemes for the Local Self-financing Degree Sector from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (No. UGC/FDS15/H02/14). HK$712,138. (completed)
11. 2015 – 2016 Co-Principal Investigator (PI: CHAN Wai Ling, The Education University of Hong Kong). Evaluating a Quality Infants and Toddlers Program. Funding from the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. HK$400,000. (completed)
10. 2014 – 2015 Principal Investigator (Co-I: WONG Wang Ivy, The University of Hong Kong). Children’s Performance and Strategies in Solving Subtraction Problems: The Role of Mental Rotation Ability. Internal Research Grant from the Education University of Hong Kong. HK$100,000. (completed)
9. 2013 – 2014 Principal Investigator. Parenting and School Adjustment during the Transition to Kindergarten: A Longitudinal Study of Local and Cross-Boundary Children in Hong Kong. Internal Research Grant from the Education University of Hong Kong. HK$30,000. (completed)
8. 2013 – 2014 Co-Investigator (PIs: CHENG Pui-wah Doris and WONG Yau Ho Paul, , The Education University of Hong Kong). Implementing the Tobacco Prevention Education in Kindergartens. Funding from the Tobacco Control Office, Department of Health. HK$299,948. (completed)
7. 2013 – 2014 Principal Investigator (Co-I: LIN Dan, The Hong Kong Education University of Hong Kong). Domain-General and Domain-Specific Predictors of Early Math Competence. Internal Research Grant from the Education University of Hong Kong. HK$100,000. (completed)
6. 2013 – 2014 Principal Investigator. Development of a Measure of Early Mathematical Skills in the Chinese Context. Start-up Research Grant from the Education University of Hong Kong. HK$30,000. (completed)
5. 2012 – 2013 Principal Investigator. Spatial Skills and Mathematics Competence. Departmental Research Grant from Department of Early Childhood Education at the Education University of Hong Kong. HK$60,000 (completed).
4. 2012 – 2014 Principal Investigator. Transition to Nonparental Care: Associations with Neurobiological and Emotional-Behavioral Development during Early Childhood. National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31100751), RMB¥ 230, 000 (declined by me from 2013).
3. 2010 – 2013 Principal Investigator. Shyness-Sensitivity and Achievement Motivation and Performance in Urban, Rural, and Migrant Rural Children. Foundation for Research in Education, Social Sciences, and Medicine across 13 Leading Universities in China, The Yuen Yuen Institute, Hong Kong, RMB¥5,000 (declined by me from 2012).
2. 2010 – 2011 Principal Investigator. Teacher-Child Relationships and Children’s Social Adjustment. Internal Research Grant from Beijing Normal University, RMB¥20,000 (completed).
1. 2010 – 2011 Principal Investigator. The Development of Social Competence during Early Childhood. Start-up Research Grant from Beijing Normal University, RMB¥12,000 (completed).
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (⸸indicates graduate students/postdocs/research assistants under my supervision)
79. Zhang, X.(2021). Barriers and benefits of primary caregivers' involvement in children's education during COVID-19 school closures. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 66, 102570. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2021.102570
78. Liu, Y., & Zhang, X.(in press). Spatial skills and counting sequence knowledge: Investigating reciprocal longitudinal relations in early years. Early Childhood Research Quarterly
77. Xie, W., Zhang, X., Xiao, N., & Chan, W. L. (2021). Need for and concerns about non-parental childcare programs for infants and toddlers in Hong Kong: Voices of parents. Children and Youth Services Review, 131, 106260. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106260
76. Huo, S., &Zhang, X.(in press). Validation of the Preschool Reading Attitude Scale in young Chinese children: A longitudinal study. Reading Psychology.
75. Ouyang, X., Yang, Y., Zhang, X., & Zhang, Q. (2021). Longitudinal relations between the approximate number system and symbolic number skills in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 212, 105254. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2021.105254
74. Wang, S., Hu, B. Y., & Zhang, X. (2021). Kindergarteners' spatial skills and their reading and math achievement in second grade. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 57, 156-166. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.06.002
73. An, M.,Zhang, X., Wang, Y., Zhao, J., & Kong, L. (in press). Reciprocal relations between achievement goals and academic performance in a collectivist higher education context: A longitudinal study. European Journal of Psychology of Education.
72. Ouyang, X.,Zhang, X., Zhang, Q., & Zou, X.(2021). Antecedents and consequences of young children's interest in mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 57, 51-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.05.005
71. Tan, F., Gong, X.,Zhang, X., & Zhang, R. (2021). Preschoolers' approaches to learning and family-school connections during COVID-19: An empirical study based on a Wuhan sample. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49, 869-879.DOI: 10.1007/s10643-021-01217x
70. Huo, S.,Zhang, X., & Law, Y. K.(2021). Pathways to word reading and calculation skills in young Chinese children: From biologically primary skills to biologically secondary skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 113, 230-247. DOI: 10.1037/edu0000647
69. Li, H., Sun, J., & Zhang, X. (2021). Editorial: Multidisciplinary approaches to understanding early development of spatial skills: Advances in linguistic, behavioral, and neuroimgaing studies. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 544543. .
68. Yang, X., Huo, S., & Zhang, X. (2021). Visual-spatial skills contribute to Chinese reading and arithmetic for different reasons: A three-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 208, 105142. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2021.105142
67. Ren, L., Hu, B. Y., & Zhang, X.(2021). Disentangling the relations between different components of family socioeconomic status and Chinese preschoolers' school readiness. Family Process, 60, 216-234. DOI: 10.1111/famp.12534
66. An, M., Zhang, X., & Ching, F. N. Y. (2021). Pre-service teachers' career values as determinants of career choice satisfaction: A hierarchical regression analysis. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 30, 431-442. DOI: 10.1007/s40299-020-00529-7
65. Xiao, N., & Zhang, X.(2021). Interest in spatial activities predicts young children's spatial ability development: A two-year longitudinal study. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 64, 101943. DOI: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2021.101943
64. Hu, B. Y., Li, Y.,Zhang, X., Roberts, S. K., & Vitiello, G.(2021). The quality of teacher feedback matters: Examining Chinese teachers' use of feedback strategies in preschool math lessons. Teaching and Teacher Education, 98, 103253. DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2020.103253
63. Zhang, X., Hu, B. Y., Zou, X., & Ren, L.(2020). Parent-child number application activities predict children's math trajectories from preschool to primary school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112, 1521-1531. DOI: 10.1037/edu0000457
62. Zhang, L., Wang, W., & Zhang, X. (2020). The effect of finger gnosis on young Chinese children's addition skills. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 544543.
61. Xiao, N., Che, Y., Zhang, X., Song, Z., Zhang, Y., & Yin, S.(2020). Father-child literacy teaching activities as a unique predictor of Chinese preschool children's word reading skills. Infant and Child Development, 29,
60. Liu, T., Zhang, X., Zhao, K., & Chan, W. (2020). Teacher-child relationship quality and Chinese toddlers' developmental functioning: A cross-lagged modelling approach. Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105192. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105192
59. Zhang, X., Yang, Y., Zou, X., Hu, B. Y., & Ren, L.(2020). Measuring preschool children's affective attitudes toward mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53, 413-424. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2020.05.012
58. Yang, X., Zhang, X., Huo, S, & Zhang, Y.(2020). Differential contributions of cognitive precursors to symbolic versus non-symbolic numeracy in young Chinese children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 53,
57. Zhang, X., Räsänen, P., Koponen, T., Aunola, K., Lerkkanen, M.-K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2020). Early cognitive precursors of children's mathematics learning disability and persistent low achievement: A 5-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 91, 7-27. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13123
56. Liu, T., Zhang, X., & Jiang, Y. (2020). Family socioeconomic status and the cognitive competence of very young children from migrant and non-migrant Chinese families: The mediating role of parenting self-efficacy and parental involvement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 51,
55. Ren, L., & Zhang, X. (2020). Antecedents and consequences of organized extracurricular activities among Chinese preschoolers in Hong Kong. Learning and Instruction, 65, 101267. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2019.101267
54. Zhang, X., & Chan, W. L. (2019). Effectiveness of the SIME program for infants and toddlers in center-based settings. Research on Social Work Practice, 29, 644-662. DOI: 10.1177/1049731518775218
53. Zhang, X., Hu, B. Y., Ren, L., & Zhang, L. (2019). Family socioeconomic status and Chinese children's early academic development: Examining child-level mechanisms. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 59, 101792. DOI: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2019.101792
52. Wang, C., Zhang, X., & Yao, M. (2019). Enhancing Chinese college students' transfer of learning through service-learning. Studies in Higher Education, 44, 1316-1331. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2018.1435635
51. Liu, Y., Zhang, X., Song, Z., & Yang, W. (2019). The unique role of father-child numeracy activities in number competence of very young Chinese children. Infant and Child Development, 28, . DOI: 10.1002/icd.2135
50. Zhang, X., Hu, B. Y., Ren, L., Huo, S.