Research Papers

Dr. Willms’s research contributions span four decades with publications in the areas of child development, children’s health, youth literacy, the accountability of schooling systems and the assessment of national reforms. His recent research included the development of the assessment framework called Educational Prosperity, which sets out a small, coherent set of metrics for assessing child and youth development from conception to late adolescence. The framework was adopted by the OECD for its study, PISA for Development and is now being used in nine countries.

Detailed below is a small selection of his research papers.

Willms, J. D., & Tramonte, L. (in press). The measurement and use of socioeconomic status in educational research. In L. E. Suter, B. Denman, & E. Smith (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Comparative Studies in Education. London: Sage. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (2018). Learning Divides: Using Monitoring Data to Inform Education Policy. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved from:

Nonoyama-Tarumi, Y., Hughes, K., & Willms, J. D. (2015). The role of family background and school resources on elementary school students’ mathematics achievement. Prospects, 45(3) 305-24. Retrieved from:

Marotta, L., Tramonte, L., & Willms, J.D. (2015). Equivalence of testing instruments in Canada: Studying item bias in a cross-cultural assessment for preschoolers. Canadian Journal of Education, 38(3), 1-23. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D., & Tramonte, L. (2014). Towards the Development of Contextual Questionnaires for the PISA for Development Study. Report prepared for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Paris: OECD. Retrieved from:

Tramonte, L., Willms, J. D., & Gauthier, A. (2013) Engagement and guidance: The effects of maternal parenting practices on children’s development. Journal of Family Issues, 36, 396-420. DOI: 10.1177/0192513×13489959. Retrieved from:

Chiocchio, F., Grenier, S., O’Neill, T. A, Savaria, K., & Willms, J. D. (2012). The effects of collaboration on performance: A multilevel validation in project teams. International Journal of Project Organisation and Management, 4(1), 1-37. Retrieved from:

Letourneau, N., Tramonte, L. & Willms, J. D. (2012). Maternal depressive symptoms, family functioning, parenting and children’s longitudinal development. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 28(3), 223-234. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (2010). School Composition and Contextual Effects on Student Outcomes. Teachers College Record, 112(4), 1008-1037. Retrieved from:

Tramonte, L., & Willms, J. D. (2010). Cultural capital and its effects on education outcomes. Economics of Education Review, 29(2), 200-213. Retrieved from:

John, L., Wright, R., Duku, E. K., & Willms, J. D. (2007). The use of propensity scores as a matching strategy. Research on Social Work Practice, 18(1), 20-26. Retrieved from:

Zelmanova, O., Korsnakova, P., Tramonte, L., & Willms, J. D. (2007). Education inequality in Slovakia: The effects of early selection. Prospects, XXXVI(4), 529-538. Retrieved from:

Dahinten, S., Shapka, J. D., & Willms, J. D. (2007). Adolescent children of adolescent mothers: The impact of family functioning on trajectories of development. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(2), 195-212. Retrieved from:

Sloat, E. A., Audas, R. P., & Willms, J. D. (2007). Evaluating programs for at-risk adolescents: Toward an outcome-based assessment framework. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 12(4), 459-476. Retrieved from:

Letourneau, N. L., Fedick, C. B., & Willms, J. D. (2007). Mothering and domestic violence: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Family Violence, 22, 649-659. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D., Smith, T. M., Zhang, Y., & Tramonte, L. (2006). Raising and levelling the learning bar in Central and Eastern Europe. Prospects, XXXVI(4), 411-418. Retrieved from:

Baucal, A., Pavlovic-Babic, D., & Willms, J. D. (2006). Differential selection into secondary schools in Serbia. Prospects, XXXVI(4), 539-546. Retrieved from:

Straková, J., Tomášek, V., & Willms, J. D. (2006). Education inequalities in the Czech Republic. Prospects, XXXVI(4), 517-538. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (2004). Early childhood obesity: A call for early surveillance and preventive measures. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 171(3), 243-244. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (2003). Student engagement at school: A sense of belonging and participation. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (Ed.). (2002). Vulnerable Children: Findings from Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta Press. Retrieved from:

Tremblay, M. S., & Willms, J. D. (2000). Secular trends in body mass index of Canadian children. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 163(11), 1429-1433. Retrieved from:

Boyle, M. H., & Willms, J. D. (1999). Place effects for areas defined by administrative boundaries. American Journal of Epidemiology, 149(6), 577-585. Retrieved from:

Raudenbush, S. W., & Willms, J. D. (1995). The estimation of school effects. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 20(4), 307-335. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (1994). Monitoring school performance: A guide for educators. An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, 5(4), 394-397. Retrieved from:

Raudenbush, S. W., & Willms, J. D. (Eds.). (1991). Schools, Classrooms and Pupils: International Studies of Schooling from the Multilevel Perspective. New York: Academic Press. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1989). A longitudinal hierarchical linear model for estimating school effects and their stability. Journal of Educational Measurement, 26(3), 209-232. Retrieved from:

McPherson, A. F., & Willms, J. D. (1987). Equalization and improvement: Some effects of comprehensive reorganization in Scotland. Sociology, 21(4), 509-539. Retrieved from:

Willms, J. D. (1986). Social class segregation and its relationship to pupils’ examination results in Scotland. American Sociological Review, 51, 224-241. Retrieved from: