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Dr Michael Johnston

Senior Fellow

Dr Michael Johnston has held academic positions at Victoria University of Wellington for the past ten years. This includes being the Associate Dean (Academic) of the University’s School of Education for the last 3 years.

Prior to his time at Victoria, Dr Johnston was the Senior Statistician at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, a position he held for 6 years. Before that, he held positions at Melbourne and Latrobe universities.

Dr Johnston holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Melbourne.

He lives in Roseneath, Wellington, with his wife and two young children.

Phone: 044990790

Email: michael.johnston@nzinitiative.org.nz

Recent Work

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Critical failure

For a brief moment last year, it looked as if the Ministry of Education was finally going to embrace methods of teaching literacy and numeracy supported by scientific evidence. They published a new literacy and numeracy strategy that made reference to structured teaching methods. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
24 March, 2023
EPS 147 Public service

Podcast: Public Service Political Neutrality

The public service, and the neutrality of its leaders, has become a recent issue. In this episode, Drs Oliver Hartwich and Michael Johnston discuss New Zealand's public service, how it is run, and the importance of public servants being impartial and objective in their work. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Dr Michael Johnston
8 March, 2023
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Education Ministry considers changes to new literacy and numeracy tests to reduce failure rate

The Education Ministry's considering changes to new literacy and numeracy tests like fewer questions, simpler language and letting students use spell-check. Documents obtained by RNZ show the Education Ministry and Qualifications Authority have been at odds about the tests' high failure rates. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Newstalk ZB - Heather Du Plessis-Allan Drive
6 March, 2023
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Policy Dominoes

The most effective policy ideas are not always the most glamourous. In education, there are so many problems that, even having decided on a policy programme, the challenges faced by a Minister in getting it implemented are daunting. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
3 March, 2023
EPS 145 Free Kiwis

Free Kiwis! podcast: Emeritus Professor Roger Openshaw

Roger Openshaw is Emeritus Professor of Education at Massey University. We drew on his rich knowledge of NZ educational history as we discussed the changing relationship between central government and NZ schools over the past century or so; the perils and promises of the new history curriculum; and how solid the evidence is for the common assertion that the NZ education system is racist. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Professor Emeritus Roger Openshaw
20 February, 2023

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