Beth Graue

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Curriculum & Instruction
School of Education
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M. Elizabeth Graue

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M. Elizabeth Graue

Sorenson Professor
Curriculum and Instruction (CI)
Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER)

Sorenson Professor
Curriculum and Instruction (CI)
Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER)

964b Educational Sciences  binoculars icon
1025 W. Johnson
Madison, WI 53706
Office: 608/263-2736

528c Teacher Education Building  binoculars icon
225 N Mills St
Madison, WI 53706-1707
Office: 608/263-4661

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Biography

Beth Graue is a professor of early childhood education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. A former kindergarten teacher, she studies early childhood policy & practice.

Teaching Interests

Early childhood policy, readiness for school, research methodology, particularly qualitative research methods, class size reduction.

Non-Credit Teaching

  • Instruction Type: Guest Lecture, Sponsoring Organization: Celia Genishi's ECE class at Teachers' College, Audience: National, Participants: 15, Academic

  • Instruction Type: Guest Lecture, Sponsoring Organization: doug Harris' policy class, Audience: School of Education, Participants: 10, Academic

  • Instruction Type: Eric Camburn course in Ed Ldrsp

Research Interests

Early childhood policy & practice, assessment, home-school relations, kindergarten.

Grants and Sponsorships

  • 7/31/2014 - Amount: $394,000.00, "Life In Early Childhood Settings," Awarded By: Spencer Foundation, Sponsor Type: Private, Mary Elizabeth Graue, Co-Principal; Sharon K. Ryan, Co-Principal.
    Abstract: We seek funding to study early childhood policy in action exploring the experience of preK in New Jersey and Wisconsin. Public preK represents new collaborative programming, joining early childhood providers and public schools to create preK systems to increase school readiness. Enacting preK systems creates challenges for policymakers that include raising program quality, achieving the goals of preK, and ensuring educational equity. By examining the role of today’s preK, this case study complements existing large-scale studies of student outcomes and ethnographies of culture to address the translation of policy to practice in the lived experience of preK. Because policies are interpreted and enacted by local actors, this study will operate on three levels. We will examine state preK policies. We will analyze how administration of preK programs is related to their functioning by studying three preK programs in each state housed in diverse sites and communities. Finally we will explore the experience of preK through the lives of two focal children in each program. We will follow the focal children through observations and interviews, including teachers and families. Each child’s learning will be assessed over time and we will rate classroom quality. Given preK’s promise to enhance readiness, we will follow-up with the focal children after they enter kindergarten, doing observations and interviews about the kindergarten experience. This study will contribute to early education by investigating preK implementation from the vantage point of children and other stakeholders. It will extend theoretical conceptions of quality through analysis of local lived experience. It will examine the politics of teaching preK through its focus on teaching practices that shape opportunities for children. This research will guide policymakers by describing contextual factors that mediate policy implementation and the supports that enhance preK quality so that all students have opportunities to learn.


  • Graue, M.E., Ryan, S., Wilinski, B., Northey, K., & Nocera, A. (2018). What guides preK programs? Teachers College Record. 120(8), p. 1-36.
  • Graue, M.E., Whyte, K.L., & Karabon, A.E. (2015). The power of improvisational teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education. 48, 13-21.
  • Wager, A.A., Graue, M.E., & Harrigan, K. (2015). Swimming upstream in a torrent of assessment. In R. Perry, A. Gervasoni, & A. MacDonald (Eds.), Mathematics and transition to school: International perspectives, (pp. 15-30)Wager, A.A., Graue, M.E., & Harrigan, K. (2015). Swimming upstream in a torrent of assessment. In R. Perry, A. Gervasoni, & A. MacDonald (Eds.), Mathematics and transition to school: International perspectives, (pp. 15-30). Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Compton-Lilly, C.F., & Graue, M.E. (2013). Agency, authority, and action in family literacy scholarship: An analysis of the epistemological assumptions operating in family literacy scholarship. In J. Larson & J. Marsh (Eds.), Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy, 2nd Ed.. London: Sage Publications.
  • Graue, M.E. (2011). Are we paving paradise? Educational Leadership. 68(7), 12-17.
  • Graue, M.E., Rauscher, E., & Sherfinski, M. (2009). The synergy of class size reduction and classroom quality. Elementary School Journal. 110(2), 178-201.
  • Graue, M.E. (2006). The answer is readiness, now what is the question? Early Education & Development. 17(1), 43-56.
  • Graue, M.E. (2005). Theorizing & describing preservice teachers' images of families and schooling. Teachers College Record. 107(1).
  • Graue, M.E., & DiPerna, J.C. (2000). Redshirting and early retention: Who gets the "gift of time" and what are its outcomes? American Educational Research Journal. 37(2), 509-534.

School Service

  • Education Outreach & Partnerships Advisory Committee
    Dates of Membership: 2009 - Pres.

Public Service

  • Buffett Early Childhood Institute University of Nebraska
    Dates of Membership: 2013 - Pres.
  • Board Member.

  • Centre for Childhood Research & Innovation, Hong Kong Institute of Educaiton
    Dates of Membership: Feb. 2013 - Feb. 2015
    Accomplishments: collaboration in research, focused assistance in capacity building.
  • Member.

Public Service

  • MMSD External Research Committee
    Dates of Membership: 2010 - Pres.

  • 4k Assessment & Curriculum Committee
    Dates of Membership: 2010 - 2011

Awards and Honors

  • Other
    Organization: American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    Purpose: Service, Professional
    Scope: International
    Date(s): April 2012 - 2015
  • Other
    Organization: American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    Date(s): 2012 - 2015
  • Fellow
    Organization: American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    Purpose: Service, Professional
    Scope: National
    Date(s): April 2010 - 2010
  • Other
    Organization: Other
    Scope: School of Education
    Date(s): 2012


  • AERA Early childhood child development SIG (AERA EC/CD SIG)
    Position Held: member, Scope of Organization: National, Member Since: January 1, 1986
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