Maria is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She is the Director for MSc Education; the pathway Leader for the MSc in Child Development and Education; the convener of the Families Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL) Research Group  and the co-ordinator of the Departmental Research Theme Language Cognition and Development.

Her research focuses on the evaluation of early childhood interventions; the development of children at risk of educational underachievement; the language and literacy development in early years; enhancing parental engagement in children’s learning; parenting education and support; the effects of home learning environment and quality learning environments; early years professional development; the methodological issues involved in research; and the role of evidence-based practices in education. Her methodological expertise covers longitudinal studies, quasi-experimental designs, mixed methods and systematic reviews.