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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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Free Kiwis! podcast: Elizabeth Rata - Science, tribalism, and democracy

Elizabeth Rata is a professor in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. We talked to her about the nature of science; her theory of 'neo-tribal capitalism'; and why 'partial loyalty' might be crucial to liberal democracy. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Free Kiwis! Podcast
4 August, 2022
Student boy

Crying fowl

The chickens of negligence have come home to roost – but they’re not welcome in the Henhouse of Education. As we wrote in Insights last week, in a pilot of new literacy and numeracy assessments for NCEA, only two thirds of assessed students met a basic standard of adult numeracy and reading ability. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
29 July, 2022
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Michael Laws from The Platform interviews Dr Michael Johnston about the NCEA pilot assessment on literacy and numeracy

Just one third of the students participating in a pilot of new literacy and numeracy assessments for NCEA passed the writing assessment, and only two thirds passed each of the reading and numeracy assessments. Michael Johnston talks to Michael Laws, The Platform about the alarming results. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
The Platform - Michael Laws
22 July, 2022
Education funding square

Michael Johnston discusses the alarming results from a pilot of new literacy and numeracy assessments for NCEA

Just one third of the students participating in a pilot of new literacy and numeracy assessments for NCEA passed the writing assessment, and only two thirds passed each of the reading and numeracy assessments. Michael Johnston talks to Andrew Dickens, Newstalk ZB about the these alarming results and what needs to be done about it. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Newstalk ZB - Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive
19 July, 2022
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Podcast: Michael Johnston on resetting literacy standards

Declining literacy is a contributor to low productivity and New Zealand's students have been let down by the education system. In this podcast Dr Michael Johnston and Amanda Boyd discuss the Ministry of Education's plan to introduce new NCEA requirements and what this means for students, schools and businesses. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Podcast
13 July, 2022
electrician

Risk assessment

Question: How many electricians does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Just one, as long as they’ve completed a Job Safety, Environmental Analysis and Risk Assessment, a COVID-19 Workplace Safety SmartForm and an Electrical Safety Certificate. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
8 July, 2022
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Don’t delay literacy for children struggling with oral language

In an article in the June 11-17 edition of the New Zealand Listener, speech-language therapist Karena Shannon argued that our education system over-values literacy and under-values oral language. Shannon correctly noted that oral language is “innate” in human beings, whereas literacy is “constructed”. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
1 July, 2022

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