Michael Johnston

Dr Michael Johnston profile picture

Associate Dean (Academic) School of Education


Teaching in 2020


My teaching focusses on educational assessment, in particular, on its positive and negative impacts on pedagogy and curriculum.

In MSSL 506 (Leading Evidence-based Practice), which is situated in the Master of Secondary Leadership programme, senior teachers undertake a guided process of interrogating assessment data to inform and evaluate teaching, learning and school-wide programmes.

TCHG 501 (Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching), which contributes to initial teacher education in the Master of Teaching and Learning degree, includes work on using assessment and other data to shape pedagogical and relational approaches for individual students.

EDUC 543 (Modern Assessment: Theory and practice) is a course in the Master of Education programme, undertaken by educators from the early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, and other students. The course is centred on a broad of assessment validity; the view that, to be valid, assessment must not only measure achievement as intended, but also contribute positively to students’ further learning and minimise any potentially harmful effects, such as a narrowing of curriculum or demotivation of students.

Research interests

My research interests are congruent with my teaching and focus on educational assessment and measurement, the connection between assessment, pedagogy and curriculum, and the use of assessment data to improve teaching practice. I also have an interest in the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy in the primary and secondary years.

Recently completed supervisions

Edit McIntosh (2016) The development of science epistemology in senior science courses. (MEd)

Anita Mortlock (2015) Lifting the School Mat: An Investigation of Pedagogy and Children’s Social Worlds at Mat Time(Phd)

Selected publications

Yates, A. and Johnston, M. (2017). The impact of school-based assessment for qualifications on teachers’ conceptions of assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0969594X.2017.1295020

Johnston, M. and Sheehan, M. (2016). Historical Thinking and the ‘boy friendly’ curriculum. Assessment Matters, 10, 74-99.

Hipkins, R., Johnston, M. and Sheehan, M. (2016). NCEA in context. NZCER Press.

Bonne, L. and Johnston, M. (2016). Students’ beliefs about themselves as mathematics learners. Thinking Skills and Creativity. 20, 17–28.

Locke, T. and Johnston, M. (2016). Developing an individual and collective self-efficacy scale for the teaching of writing in high schools. Assessing Writing.

Hodis, F. A., Johnston, M., Meyer, L. H., McClure, J., Hodis, G. M. and Starkey, L. (2015), Maximal levels of aspiration, minimal boundary goals, and their relationships with academic achievement: The case of secondary-school students. British Educational Research Journal. doi: 10.1002/berj.3189


Teaching in 2020