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Dr. Charles A. Hughes

Dr. Charles A. Hughes
Phone: 8148631699
Office Address:
207 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Professor of Education (Special Education)


Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Special Education


Charlie Hughes worked as a special education teacher and teacher consultant for 12 years before joining the Special Education Faculty at Penn State University in 1985 where he is currently a Professor of Special Education. He is also an Adjunct Senior Scientist with the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (KU-CRL). His scholarly interests focus on the development and validation of instructional strategies designed to help students with learning and behavior problems self-regulate their academic and social behaviors.  He has published 120 articles, books, curriculum materials, and book chapters.  His most recent book (co-authored with Dr. Anita Archer) is entitled Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching. Additionally, he has coauthored five Learning Strategy Curriculum manuals included in the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) developed through the KU-CRL.

Charlie has served as Editor-in-Chief for two professional journals: The Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice and is currently on the editorial board of nine additional journals, including Exceptional Children, Journal of Learning Disabilities, and Learning Disability Quarterly. He has served as both President and Executive Director of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD).  In addition to delivering hundreds of conference presentations and professional development sessions around the U.S., he has consulted internationally, working with universities and governmental and professional agencies in Jamaica, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, Spain, China, and Sweden.  He has also provided consultation to various U.S. organizations such as the National Board of Medical Examiners, Educational Testing Services, Center on Instruction, the National Center on Response to Intervention, the National Center on Learning Disabilities, the National Center on Intensive Intervention, and the National Science Foundation.

His professional accomplishments have been acknowledged through receiving a number of awards including the “Career Achievement” and “Outstanding Faculty” awards from Penn State University College of Education, and the “Leadership” and “Partnership” awards from the KU-CRL.  In 2014 he was presented with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities’ Jeannette Fleischner Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Learning Disabilities.” He also been awarded two Senior Specialist Fulbright Scholarships in South Korea and Sweden.

Areas of Expertise

Age Levels


Individual Difference



Instructional Methods and Design
Learning Assessment

Methodological Research

Quantitative Research

Special Education

Applied Behavioral Analysis
Mild Disabilities

Courses Taught

SPLED 412:  Design and Delivery of Effective Instruction for Students with High-Incidence Disabilities

SPLED 530:  Graduate Seminar on Learning Disabilities

SPLED 500:  Doctor Seminar:  Effective Instruction

SPLED 550:  Doctoral Seminar: Professional Issues

Office Hours

Spring 2019:

Wednesdays 1:30 - 3:30 or by appointment

Education History

Ph.D in Special Education from the University of Florida

Representative Publications

Publications: 2013-2019

Hughes, C.A. & Ricommini, P.J. (accepted). Purposeful and deliberate practice strategies to help students with disabilities to remember what they have learned.  TEACHING Exceptional Children.

Hughes, C.A. & Lee, J (accepted) Effective approaches for scheduling and formatting practice activities: Distributed, cumulative, and interleaved practice.  TEACHING Exceptional Children.

Hughes, C.A., Riccomini, P.J., Morris, J.R. (in press). Use explicit instruction. In J. McLeskey, L. Maheady, B. Billingsley, M. Brownell, & T. Lewis (Eds.), High leverage practices for inclusive classrooms (pp. 215-236). Council for Exceptional Children/New York: Routledge

Hughes, C.A. Morris, J.R., & Therrien, W.J., Benson, S.K. (2017) Explicit Instruction: Historical and Contemporary Contexts.  Learning Disabilities Research and Practice. 32,3. 1-9.

Therrien, W.J., Benson, S.K., & Hughes, C.A., & Morris, P.J. (2017). Explicit Instruction and NGSS Aligned Science Classrooms: A fit or a split?  Learning Disabilities Research and Practice. 32,3, 10-17.

Riccomini, P.J., Moreno, S. & Hughes, C.A. (2017). Big ideas in special education: Specially designed instruction, high leverage practices, explicit instruction, and intensive instruction. TEACHING Exceptional Children. DOI: 10.1177/0040059917724412

Foxworth, L., L., Mason, L.H., Hughes, C.A. (2016) Improving Narrative Writing Skills of Secondary Students with Disabilities using Strategy Instruction.  Exceptionality, 1-18

Hughes, C.A. (2014). Current educational trends in the U.S. and their impact on students with learning disabilities.  Journal of Learning Strategies Intervention, 3, 1, 1-10.

Valasa, L.L, Mason, L.H., Hughes, C.A. (2014).  Full essay-writing interventions for adolescent students with high incidence disabilities: a review of research.  International Journal for Research in Learning Disabilities. 2, 1, 72-97.

Dexter, D.D., & Hughes, C.A. (2013). Graphic organizers as aids for students with disabilities. In G. Schraw, M. McCrudden, & D. Robinson (Eds.), in Learning through visual displays. Current perspectives on cognition, learning, and instruction series. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Hughes, C. A., & Dexter, D.D. (2013). Using RTI to identify students with learning disabilities: A review of the research.  RTI Action Network Web, National Center for Learning Disabilities. site:

Selected Presentations: 2013-2019

Hughes, C.A. & Lee, J. (accepted 2019, June). The science of practice: Ways of helping students remember.  Paper presented at the Division for International Special Education and Services’ Conference, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Hughes, C.A, & Lee, J. (accepted, 2019, February). Strategies for scheduling and formatting practice activities: Distributed, cumulative, and interleaved practice. .Paper presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Indianapolis IN.

Hughes, C.A, & Lee, J. (accepted, 2019, February). Strategies for scheduling and formatting practice activities: Distributed, cumulative, and
interleaved practice. Paper presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Indianapolis IN.

Lee, J.Y. & Hughes, E.M., & Hughes, C.A. (2018 October). Argumentative Writing interventions for adolescents with learning disabilities: A synthesis of the literature. Poster Session presented at the 2018 Council for Learning Disabilities, Portland OR.

Hughes, C.A. & Morris, J.  (2018, February). Explicit Instruction: Effective Lesson Design and Delivery for Increased Student Achievement, Paper presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Tampa, FL.

Morris, J. & Hughes, C.A. 2017, October). The purposes of practice. Poster Session presented at the 2017 Council for Learning Disabilities Council, Baltimore MD.

 Hughes, C.A. (2017, March). Explicit instruction:  Effective and efficient teaching.  Invited presentation/workshop at the 2017 General and Special Education Conference: Brain-based Science, Learning and Achievement, Seattle WA.

Hughes, C. A. (2017, March). The Science of Practice: If your students do not remember what you taught, you didn’t teach it. Invited Keynote Speaker, “Diverse Voices from the Field” Speaker Series, Keene State College, Keene NH.

Hughes, C.A. (2016, April).  The power of purposeful practice.  Presentation at the Behavior Analysis Research Colloquium, Penn State University.

Ferko, D., Hughes, C., D., Hosp, J., Lee, D., Taylor, J. & Therrien, W. (2016, October) Practice with a Purpose: Designing Motivating Practice Activities. Paper presented at the Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders Annual Conference, Tempe, AZ.

Therrien, W., Taylor, J, & Hughes, C (2016, January).  Science education for students with high incidence disabilities: Status of the research base and future directions.  Invited Plenary Session at the Advancing Individual Differences Research on STEM Learning Opportunities: A National Conference.  Sponsored by the AERA and UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara CA.

 Therrien, W., Lee, D., Hughes, C. (2015 October) Evidence based academic and behavioral supports for students with EBD in inquiry science classrooms. Lecture presented at the Annual Conference of Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders, Tempe, AZ. 

Hughes, C.A. (2014, November).  Current trends and issues in learning disabilities in the U.S.  Invited Keynote at the Korean Learning Disabilities Association International Conference, Seoul Korea.

Lee, D., Hosp, J., Hughes, C.A., & Therrien, W. (2014, October) I'm Going to Have Who in My Classroom? Building a Support System for Students with EBD from the Ground Up. Paper presented at the Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders Annual Conference, Tempe, AZ.

Hughes, C.A. (2014, October).  Effective vocabulary instruction for students with learning problems:  Building knowledge for comprehension.  Invited Plenary Session at The Child Assessment & Research in Education Centre, 5th Biennial Education Conference, Kingston, Jamaica.

Dexter, D.D., Hughes, C.A., & Dexter, C.A. (2014, July).  Effective use of graphic organizers in secondary inclusion classrooms.  Paper presented at the Division of International Special Education and Services Conference, Braga, Portugal.

Dexter, D.D., Hughes, C.A., & Dexter, C. (2014, April). Secondary common core standards in content-area literacy:  Successfully including students with LD. Paper presented at the International Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Philadelphia, PA

Park, Y.J., & Hughes, C.A. (2013). Technical adequacy of CBM in content-areas for secondary students with learning disabilities.  Poster presented at the International Council for Exceptional Children Conference, San Antonio TX.

Dexter, D.D., Hughes, C.A., & Dexter, C.A. (2013, April). Using Graphic Organizers in Secondary Science and Social Studies Inclusion Classrooms. Poster presented at the International Council for Exceptional Children Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Hua, H., Hosp, J. Hughes, C.A., Lee, D. & Therrien, W. (2013, October).  Increasing student engagement in secondary science classes. Paper presented at the Teacher Educators for Children with Behavioral Disorders Annual Conference, Tempe, AZ.

Hughes, C.A. (2013, November). Explicit Instruction.  Invited presentation for the “Setting the Pace Lecture Series” sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, Bowling Green University.

Hughes, C.A. (2013, November). Active student participation: They key to a successful lesson for students with learning and attention problems.  Invited Keynote Presentation.  International Special Education Symposium.  Seoul, Gongju, & Daegu, Korea.


Co-PI, (with Kim, K. & Hitchcock, J.) Analysis of Interventions that can be used in a Response to Intervention Context: A Literature Review of Effective Practices, Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, 2007-2008, $125,000.00

Co-PI, (with Kim, K. & Hitchcock, J.), Mid-Atlantic Policy Analysis on the Development and Implementation of the Response to Intervention Model, Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, 2007-2008, $150,000.00

Co-Project Director, (with Ruhl, K, PI), Preparing Outstanding Scholars for Special Education, Leadership Grant, OSEP, 2007-11, $800,000.00

Principle Investigator, Evidence-based Practices for Including Students with High Incidence Disabilities in General Education Classrooms. Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, 2006-2007, $199,000.00

Project Director, State-wide SIM professional training project, PDE/PaTTAN, 07/04-06/05, $400,000.00

Project Director, State Improvement Grant, PDE/OSEP,  07/99-06/04,  $2,000,000.00

Project Director, Higher Education Disability Support Providers. USDOE, Preparation of Leadership Personnel, August 1994 to August 2000, $517,000.00

Activities and Honors


Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award, Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities, 2014

Fulbright Senior Specialist, Gongju National University of Education, South Korea, 2010

UCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Outreach Program of the Year:  Keystone Tutoring Program, 2008

Fulbright Senior Specialist, Stockholm Institute of Education, Sweden, 2007

Fellow, International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, 2005-Present

College of Education Career Achievement Award, Penn State, 2004-05

Leadership Award, University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning, 2004

Penn State Continuing Educations’ Exemplary Program Award, RISE Program, 2003

University Continuing Education Association’s Outstanding Credit Program Award, ABA 2002 and 2004

Gordon Alley Partnership Award, University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning, 1996

University Collaborative Undergraduate Program Development Award, Penn State, 1994

College of Education Outstanding Faculty Award, Penn State, 1993-94

Finalist, George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, Penn State, 1991

Presidential Recognition Award for Outstanding Contribution, University of Florida, 1985