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Norah Saiying Hu

Norah Saiying Hu

  • Research Associate Professor, Education and Social Policy
  • Research Director, Center for Talent Development

Research Interests

Academic achievement, psychological and social-emotional development, educational measurement and assessment, meta-analysis and research synthesis, quantitative research methods, executive functions, gifted education and talent development.


Saiying Steenbergen-Hu is research associate professor and the research director of the Center for Talent Development (CTD) of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. Her research focuses on the efficacy of educational programs on K-12 students’ academic achievement and social-emotional development. Her methodological skills include meta-analysis, research synthesis, educational measurement and assessment, research design, and multivariate statistical analysis.  

She has published a number of refereed journal articles and book chapters. She co-authored (with Matthew Makel and Paula Olszewski-Kubilius) a comprehensive review of 100 years of research on ability-grouping and acceleration in the Review of Educational Research (RER). The RER was ranked first out of 267 peer-reviewed education and educational research in the world for the fifth year in a row as of 2022. Furthermore, this publication is in the 99th percentile out of 21,457,683 research output Almetric has tracked across all sources to date. 

Steenbergen-Hu’s research received generous support from the American Psychological Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. Her work won the 2018 Award for Excellence in Research from the Mensa Foundation. It was also awarded Gifted Child Quarterly Paper of the Year Award in 2012, 2018, and 2021. Moreover, her work received Gifted Child Quarterly Paper of the Decade award in 2011-2020. Equally important, Steenbergen-Hu’s publications have been cited 1,721 times. 


  • PhD, Educational Psychology, Purdue University, 2009
  • MA, University of Science & Technology of China, 2000

Awards and Honors

  • 2011-2021: Paper of the Decade, Gifted Child Quarterly
  • 2021:  Paper of the Year, Gifted Child Quarterly
  • 2018:  Paper of the Year,  Gifted Child Quarterly 
  • 2018: Public Voices Thought Leadership Program Fellow, Northwestern University
  • 2012:  Paper of the Year, Gifted Child Quarterly

Selected Publications

Steenbergen-Hu, S., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Calvert, E. (2022) The effectiveness of current interventions to reverse the underachievement of gifted students: Findings of a meta-analysis and systematic review. Gifted Child Quarterly, 64 (2), 132-165. 

Steenbergen-Hu, S. & Calvert, E. (2019) Book review of “Identify gifted students: A practical guide”. Teachers College Record, March 25, 2019. 

Steenbergen-Hu, S. (2019) What Exactly is an ‘Underachiever,’ and Why are There so Many of Them in our Schools. The Washington Post.

Steenbergen-Hu, S. (2019) Many teachers see social-emotional learning as the ‘missing link in student success’: Data support recent interest in the non-academic aspects of learning. The Hechinger Report.

Almarode, J. T., Subotnik, R. F., Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Lee, G. M. (2018) Perceptions of selective STEM high school graduates: Deep versus surface learning, college readiness, and persistence in STEM. Research in the Schools 25 (1), 72-84. 

Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2017). Factors that contributed to gifted students’ success on STEM Pathways: The Role of Race, Personal Interests, and Aspects of High School Experience. Journal for the Education of the Gifted40(2), 99–134.

Steenbergen-Hu, S., Makel, M. C., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2016). What One Hundred Years of Research Say About the Effects of Ability Grouping and Acceleration on K-12 Students’ Academic Achievement: Findings of Two Second-Order Meta-Analyses. Review of Educational Research, 86(4), 849–899.

Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2016). How to conduct a good meta-analysis in gifted education: Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 60(2), 132–141.