Our People


Dr Gavin Brown - Director


Dr Gavin Brown is Associate Professor in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice. His research focus is on school-based assessment, informed by psychometric theory, with a special focus on the social psychology of people’s responses to educational assessment. This means he focuses on measuring academic performance, affective attitudes, and investigating how assessment is understood by students and teachers. Specifically, he seeks to determine which beliefs and attitudes most powerfully influence practices of assessment and increased academic performance. Previously, Gavin was a standardised test developer for NZCER and the asTTle Project, and was actively involved in item writing and analysis, norming, equating, and standard setting. He has conducted or supervised studies which have used multivariate statistical techniques such as: exploratory & confirmatory factor analysis; structural equation modeling, classical test and item response theory; latent curve modeling; invariance testing; cluster analysis; and multidimensional scale analysis. He believes in mixing qualitative and quantitative techniques within a post-positivist, scientific approach to investigations and evaluations.

Dr Mohamed Alansari


Kane Meissel - Affiliate


Kane Meissel is an emerging academic with a strong interest in research design, methodology and quantitative analysis, and the impacts that decisions made by researchers about these aspects of research can have on research outcomes. He is particularly passionate about equitable assessment and evaluation, and believes that effective design and analysis are integral to determining “what works” for students. He is also passionate about teaching, and enjoy sharing and gaining knowledge from his students.

Kane recently submitted his PhD in Faculty of Education and Social Work, in which he investigated the extent to which different decisions about quantitative analysis could affect conclusions made about a large professional development project (more than 20,000 students tracked for two years). In addition, his thesis investigated whether the professional development provided to teachers during this project had transferred to improvements in student achievement, with a particular focus on equity.

Mei Lai - Affiliate


Dr Mei Lai is Associate Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education and Social Work. Her research interest is in collaborative research-school partnerships to improve teaching and learning. A recent focus is on how teachers and school leaders use evidence for school improvement and effectiveness. Mei has led or co-led national and large-scale projects on improving and sustaining students' literacy achievement across a variety of contexts, from high poverty multi-cultural schools to rural primary and high schools. Most recently, she co-led a national project to build evaluative capability in government funded schooling improvement initiatives, and a regional intervention to improve reading comprehension and NCEA Level 1 qualifications. She has also been a consultant to the NZ Ministry of Education. Her recent books are “Practitioner Research for Educations”(2006) with Viviane Robinson (which was nominated for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Outstanding Book Award) and “Data-driven decision making in education: Challenges and opportunities” (2012).

Dr Eric Bing Mei - Affiliate