Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Faculty Emeritus

Faculty Emeritus
School of Education 121


Dr. Jonathan Burns is a distinguished educator and leader in the field of education. During his tenure as a full-time faculty member in the Learning and Instruction Department, he made significant contributions to the School of Education's General Education Program. One of Dr. Burns' notable achievements was his role as the founding director of the Master's program in Educational Technology. Beyond his teaching and program development roles, Dr. Burns held leadership positions as the Chairperson for the L&I department and the SOE Faculty Association. Dr. Burns also mentored and guided many students through their dissertation process.

Moreover, Dr. Burns played a pivotal role in various institutional review efforts, both at the University of San Francisco and beyond. He was a leading figure in WSCUC reviews, ensuring that USF maintained high standards of academic quality and institutional effectiveness, and was one of the first members on the university-wide assessment committee, where he skillfully guided the School of Education through program reviews. 

Research Areas

  • Research on teaching and instruction, particularly the effects of class composition on student learning
  • Research methodology
  • Statistics


  • PhD, Education, University of California, Santa Barbara

Selected Publications

  • Burns, R. & Mason, D. (2002). Class composition and student achievement in elementary schools. American Educational Research Journal, 39(1), 207-233.
  • Mason, D., & Burns, R. (1999). Assignment of teachers to combination classes. Journal of School Leadership, 9, 51-78.
  • Burns, R., and Mason, D. (1998). Class Formation and Composition in Elementary Schools. American Educational Research Journal, 35, 739-772.
  • Mason, D., & Burns, R. (1997). Toward a theory of combination classes. Educational Research and Evaluation, 3, 281-304.
  • Mason, D., & Burns, R. (1997). Reassessing the effects of combination classes. Educational Research and Evaluation, 3, 1-53.
  • Burns, R. (1996). A study of combination class achievement. Focus on Learning, 1(2), 11-25.
  • Mason, D., & Burns, R. (1996). "Simply no worse and simply no better" may simply be wrong: A critique of Veenman's conclusion about multigrade classes. Review of Educational Research, 66, 307-322.
  • Mason, D., & Burns, R. (1995). Teachers' views about combination classes. Journal of Educational Research, 89, 36-45.
  • Burns, R., & Mason, D. (1995). Organizatonal constraints and the formation of elementary school classrooms. American Journal of Education, 103(2), 185-212.
  • Burns, R. (1994). Surveying the cognitive terrain [Review of Human cognitive abilities: A survey of factor-analytic studies]. Educational Researcher, 23(3), 35-37.
  • Burns, R. (1994). Practitioner interpretations of Bloom's Learning for Mastery. Outcomes, 13.
  • Burns, R. (1994). Models of learning. In T. Husen & N. Postlethwaite (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of education (2nd. ed) (Vol. 7, pp.3880-3886). Oxford: Pergamon.
  • Burns, R. (1994). Paradigms for research on teaching. In T. Husen & N. Postlethwaite (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of education (2nd. ed.) (Vol. 10, pp. 6202-6208). Oxford: Pergamon.