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Yi Song

Program: Ph.D. in Education, Specialization: Cognition, Development, and Instruction

Year of Completion: 2012

Dissertation Title: Teaching Critical Questions About Argumentation Through the Revising Process: Effects on College Students’ Argumentative Essays

Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Ralph P. Ferretti

Yi Song

Current Position

Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service

Current Research

Dr. Song’s research interests and expertise are in the field of argumentation, including argumentative writing, argumentation learning progressions, and argumentation strategies. She leads several ETS research projects, in which she collaborates closely with researchers, assessment development staff, and classroom teachers to validate argumentation learning progressions, to develop formative assessments aligned to the progressions, to support underserved populations, including U.S. English learners, and to create professional-development materials. Dr. Song is a principal investigator on an IES-funded research project “Exploring and Assessing the Development of Students’ Argumentative Writing Skills”, collaborating with Professor Ralph Ferretti at the University of Delaware.


Recent Publications

  • Song, Y., & Sparks, J. R. (2019). Building an innovative formative assessment to gather evidence about middle school students’ argumentation skills. Educational Technology Research and Development, 67, 1175–1196. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-018-9637-3
  • Song, Y., & Sparks, J. R. (2019). Measuring argumentation skills through a game-enhanced scenario-based assessment. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 56(8),1324–1344. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735633117740605
  • Deane, P.,Song, Y., van Rijn, P., O’Reilly, T., Bennett, R. E., Fowles, M., Sabatini, J., & Zhang, M. (2019). The case for scenario-based assessment of written argumentation. Reading and Writing, 32, 1575–1606.  
  • Song, Y.,Deane, P., & Fowles, M. E. (2017). Examining students’ ability to critique arguments and exploring assessment and instructional implications. (Research Report No. RR-17-16). Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

Recent Awards/Funding

Song, Y., Ferretti, R. P. & Sabatini, J. P. (2019-2023). Exploring and assessing the development of students’ argumentative writing skills. Institute of Education Sciences.


Why did you choose to pursue your PhD at CEHD? What was it about the university/school that drew you here?

“I chose to pursue my Ph.D. at UD because it provides high-quality education programs. I was particularly interested in conducting research in writing, which was one of the foci in SOE. In the Ph.D. program, I learned about solid theories in education, psychology, and cognitive science; I also learned various methodological approaches for investigating important research questions. What I learned at UD prepared me well for my career as an educational researcher.”


Can you share on positive memory that has stuck with you since you left UD?

“What I really liked about my study experience at UD were the opportunities for teaching and conducting research. While studying, I also worked as a teaching assistant or a research assistant each year. Working with different professors, I got to learn various teaching strategies and various types of research, such as conducting experiments to understand babies’ language development, evaluating college students’ understanding of statistics, and designing surveys to understand the effectiveness of teacher training. My dissertation was not an easy thing to accomplish, but I learned a great deal from it. I want to thank my advisor, Professor Ralph Ferretti, for his helpful advice and great support along the way.”


Updated on February 20, 2020