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Cathy Wylie

Job Title: 
Chief Researcher

PhD from Victoria University of Wellington.

Cathy joined NZCER is 1987. Her main research expertise is education policy and how it impacts learning, teaching, school leadership and more equal learning opportunities.

She led NZCER’s national school surveys from 1989 until recently. She has a leading role in the new research-based tool for schools focused on effective teaching and school practices, and school leadership: the Teaching and School Practices survey tool.

Cathy’s 2012 book, Vital Connections, makes a cogent case for system change to strengthen all our schools and counter uneven educational opportunities. 

Her longitudinal study ‘Competent Learners’ provides important understanding about different trajectories of engagement and achievement in learning from early childhood education into early adulthood, and provides strong evidence of the importance of developing the national curriculum’s key competencies. 

In 2014 Cathy was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.

Cathy's current work includes:

She was a member of the Government’s Independent Taskforce to Review Tomorrow’s Schools, which published this report in December 2018. 

Selected publications:

Policy & School Development

Wylie, C. (2009). What can we learn from the last twenty years?. Paper for 2009 NZARE Conference, Rotorua, NZ, December 2009.

Wylie, C., with Cameron, M., Twist, J., McDowell, S., & Fisher, J. (2009). Conditions for school innovation and transformation. Paper for 22nd ICSEI, Vancouver, January 2009. [214 KB PDF]

Wylie, C. (2007). What can New Zealand learn from Edmonton? NZCER Occasional paper.

Wylie, C. (2007). Snapshot of New Zealand primary schools in 2007 – some key findings from the NZCER national survey. NZCER Report.

Wylie, C. (2007). Can we improve our school governance? set: Research Information for Teachers, 2, pp. 29-30.

Wylie, C. (2007). School governance in New Zealand: How is it working? Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Hipkins, R., Joyce, C., & Wylie, C. (2007). School planning and reporting in action: The early years of the new framework.  Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Hipkins, R., Wylie, C., & Hodgen, E. (2007). Can standards-based qualifications improve low-performing students’ engagement in learning, and their achievement? Paper given at AERA conference, Chicago.

Wylie, C. (2006). Making the most of research in policymaking. NZCER seminar paper.

Wylie, C.  (2006). What is the reality of school competition?. Paper given at AERA conference, San Francisco 7-11 April 2006.

Hodgen, E. & Wylie C. (2005).  Stress and wellbeing among New Zealand principals.  Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Wylie, C. & King, J. (2005).  An increasing tightness — pressure points for schools’ financial management.  Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Wylie, C., & Arago-Kemp, V. (2004). Whaia te iti Kahurangi: NZCER evaluation: 2004. NZCER for Te Rünanga o Ngäti Porou and the Ministry of Education.

Wylie, C., & King, J. (2004). How do effective schools manage their finances? Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Wylie, C., with Mitchell, L. (2003). Sustaining school development in a decentralised system: Lessons from New Zealand. Paper given at ICSEI conference, Sydney, 2003. [pdf file, 53KB]

Wylie, C. (2002). The local and systemic roles of school trustees. Paper given at the annual conference of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education, Palmerston North, 5-8 December 2002. [pdf file, 49KB]

Wylie, C. (2002. Meeting individual educational needs: Legal identification, or systemic support? set: Research Information for Teachers, 2, 22-23. [pdf file, 25KB]

Wylie, C. (2000). New Zealand - innovation and tensions in a devolved education system. In T. Townsend & Y.C. Cheng (Eds.), Educational change and development in the Asia-Pacific region: Challenges for the future. Lisse, Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger.

Wylie, C. (2000). Picking up the pieces - review of Special Education 2000 for the Ministers of Education. [choice of Word or pdf file]

Wylie, C. (1999). Is the land of the flightless bird the home of the voucherless voucher? New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 34 (1), 99-109.

Wylie, C. (1999). Ten years on: how schools view educational reform. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Wylie, C. (1998). Can vouchers deliver better education? A review of the literature, with special reference to New Zealand. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. [pdf file, 489KB]

From the longitudinal Competent Learners (Competent Children) project

Wylie, C. & Hodgen, E. (2007). Competent Learners@ 16: Competency levels and development over time. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Wylie, C., & Hodgen, E. (2007). The continuing contribution of early childhood education to young people's competency levels. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Rivers, J., Wylie, C., Hodgen, E., Ferral, H., Dingle, R., Thompson, J., & Hipkins, R. (2006). Growing independence: A summary of key findings from the Competent Learners @14 project. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Wylie, C. (2006). Why key competencies matter for student development.  In Key Competencies: Repackaging the old or creating the new? NZCER Conference Proceedings compiled by Webber, B. Wellington: NZCER Press.

Wylie, C., with Ferral, H. (2005). Patterns of cognitive and personality development: evidence from the longitudinal Competent Children/Learners study. In Low, J., & Jose, P. (Eds). Lifespan Development – New Zealand Perspectives. Auckland: Pearson Education. Pp. 90-100.

Wylie, C., & Hipkins. R. (2006). Growing independence: Competent Learners @14. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Wylie, C., Hodgen, E., & Ferral, H. (2006). Completely different or a bigger version?: Experiences and effects of the transition to secondary school: Evidence from the Competent Children, Competent Learners project: Final report to the Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Wylie, C. (2004). Twelve years old and competent: A summary of the research report — Competent Children at 12.  Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Wylie, C., with Thompson, J. (2003). The long-term contribution of early childhood education to children's performance - evidence from New ZealandInternational Journal of Early Years Education, 11 (1), 69-78.

Wylie, C. (2003). Beating the Odds. Factors which can make a difference for New Zealand children in low-income homes. Paper presented at the Connecting Policy, Research and Practice Conference, Wellington Convention Centre, Wellington, April, 2003.

Wylie, C. (2003). Longitudinal research - the Competent Children project. In C. Davidson & M. Tolich (Eds.), Social Science Research in New Zealand. Auckland: Pearson Education.

Wylie, C. (2001). Making sense: Relations between literacy, television use, computer use and other uses of children's time. Paper given at the annual conference of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education, Christchurch, 6-9 December. [pdf file, 51KB]

Research outputs

Year published Title Publication type Category
2020 Curriculum, assessment and reporting to parents and whānau - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report School governance and management Curriculum and assessment
2020 Kāhui Ako - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Learning with digital technologies - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report ICT School governance and management
2020 Meeting the needs of Pacific students - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Parent and whānau perspectives on their child’s learning and school - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education Families and communities
2020 Principal careers, wellbeing, and support - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Providing for English language learners - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Providing for students with disabilities or who need learning support - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 School culture and teacher learning - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 School resourcing, rolls, interactions with other schools, and system support - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Student wellbeing and positive behaviour - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management Student health and wellbeing
2020 Te reo Māori and school provisions for ākonga Māori - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management Māori and education
2020 Teachers' work, morale, and changes they would make - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Teaching, School, and Principal Leadership Practices Survey 2019 Research report School governance and management Education leadership practices
2020 Team teaching and innovative learning environments - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Trustees' perspectives and the work of school boards - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 What’s happening in our English-medium primary schools: Findings from the NZCER national survey 2019 Full report Research report Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 What’s happening in our English-medium primary schools: Findings from the NZCER national survey 2019. Summary Research summary Public understanding of education School governance and management
2020 Women becoming secondary school leaders: Barriers, supports, and enablers Report Literature review Policy School governance and management Education leadership practices
2019 Competent Learners @ 26: Summary of key findings Research report Post-school learning
2019 Pathways, labour market experiences, and learning at work and beyond at age 26 Research report
2019 Teaching, School, and Principal Leadership Practices Survey 2018 Report Research report School governance and management Education leadership practices Māori and education
2019 Teaching, School, and Principal Leadership Practices Survey 2018: Summary report Research summary Policy School governance and management Education leadership practices
2018 Teaching Practices, School Practices, and Principal Leadership: The first national picture 2017 Research report
2018 TSP: The first national picture 2017—report summary Research summary School governance and management
2017 Ākonga Māori in English-medium primary and intermediate schools: Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016 Research report
2017 Principals and their work: Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016 Research report School governance and management
2017 School resources, relations with other schools, and support: Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016 Research report School governance and management
2017 Te Ahu o te Reo Overview Report Research report Te Wāhanga Māori and education
2017 Teachers' work and professional learning: Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016 Research report Professional learning School governance and management
2017 The work of school boards – trustees’ perspectives: Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016 Research report School governance and management
2016 Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako: The Emergent Stage Research report
2016 Incredible Years Teacher-NZCER Evaluation Research report Evaluation
2016 Secondary schools in 2015 Research report Policy School governance and management Student health and wellbeing NCEA Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2016 WAPA 2020: Gains and insights from an enduring school network Paper School governance and management Education leadership practices
2015 New Zealand principals: Autonomy at a Cost Journal article Policy School governance and management Schooling for the future
2015 Ngā whakaratonga mō ngā ākonga Māori i roto i ngā kura auraki Providing for Māori students in English-medium schools Research report Te Wāhanga
2015 Strengthening the strategic leadership of New Zealand principals Research report
2014 Achievement in Boys' Schools Research report NCEA
2014 Capital connections for education Book chapter Public understanding of education Schooling for the future
2014 Primary and intermediate schools in 2013 Research report Policy School governance and management National Standards Student health and wellbeing Moderation Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2014 Progress and stalling on the path to learning-centred schools in New Zealand Conference paper
2013 Improving learning opportunities: Why schools can’t do it on their own Journal article Policy School governance and management
2013 National Standards: What difference are they making? Conference paper National Standards
2013 Schools and Inequality Book chapter Public understanding of education
2013 Secondary schools in 2012 Research report ICT Policy School governance and management NCEA Curriculum and assessment
2012 Challenges around capability development in a system of self-managed schools in New Zealand. Research report School governance and management
2012 Handbook of Research on Student Engagement Book Student engagement Building Research Capability
2012 Trajectories and patterns of student engagement: Evidence from a longitudinal study Book chapter Student engagement Building Research Capability
2012 Vital connections: Why we need more than self-managing schools Book Policy School governance and management National Standards NCEA
2011 Competent Learners @ 20: summary of key findings Research summary Student health and wellbeing
2011 Educational Leadership Practices Survey Research report Policy School governance and management Education leadership practices
2011 Forming Adulthood Past, Present and Future in the Experiences and Views of the Competent Learners @ 20 Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2011 Opportunities for Teacher Collaborative Practices in a Self-Managed School System: the New Zealand Experience Research report Policy School governance and management Longitudinal projects
2011 The Development of Leadership Capability in a Self-Managing Schools System: the New Zealand Experience and Challenges Book chapter School governance and management Education leadership practices
2010 NZCER 2010 Primary & Intermediate Schools National Survey Research report Longitudinal projects
2010 Principal vacancies and appointments 2008-9 Research report Longitudinal projects
2009 Competent Learners on the Edge of Adulthood: A summary of key findings from the Competent Learners @ 16 project Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2009 School resources, culture and connections: NZCER National Survey Thematic Report Research report School governance and management Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2009 Tomorrow’s Schools after 20 years: can a system of self-managing schools live up to its initial aims? Journal article
2008 Locality-based evaluation of Pathways to the Future—Ngā Huarahi Arataki: Stage 1 baseline report Research report
2008 Outcomes of early childhood education: Literature review Literature review
2007 Can we improve our school governance? Journal article School governance and management Longitudinal projects
2007 Competent Learners @ 16: Competency levels and development over time Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2007 Continuing contribution of early childhood education to young people's competency levels Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2007 Hawke's Bay primary and intermediate schools' incidence of severe behaviour: 2007 Research report
2007 School governance in New Zealand - How is it working? Research report
2007 School planning and reporting in action: The early years of the new framework Research report Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2007 Snapshot of New Zealand primary schools in 2007 - some key findings from the NZCER national survey Research report
2007 What can New Zealand learn from Edmonton? Occasional paper
2006 Competencies at age 14 and competency development for the Competent Children, Competent Learners study sample Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2006 Completely different or a bigger version? Experiences and effects of the transition to secondary school: Evidence from the Competent Children, Competent Learners project Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2006 Contributions of early childhood education to age-14 performance: Evidence from the longitudinal Competent Children, Competent Learners study Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2006 Evaluation of initial uses and impact of Equity Funding Research report Policy Māori and education
2006 Growing independence : A summary of key findings from the Competent Learners @14 project Research report
2006 Growing Independence: Competent Learners @ 14 Research report Student engagement
2006 Making the most of research in policy making Conference paper
2006 What is the reality of school competition? Conference paper
2006 What is the reality of school competition? Conference paper Policy Schooling for the future
2006 What matters in the transition to secondary level? Results from NZCER longitudinal research Journal article
2005 An increasing tightness - pressure points for schools’ financial management Research report Education leadership practices
2005 Gender and academic promotion: a case study of Massey University Research report School governance and management Education leadership practices
2005 Leisure activities and adolescent engagement in school learning Conference paper
2005 Stress and well-being among New Zealand principals: Report to the New Zealand Principals' Federation Research report School governance and management Education leadership practices
2004 Competent children at 12 Research report Families and communities Longitudinal projects
2004 Evaluation of the introductory professional development programme for teacher aides/kaiāwhina: Supporting teachers of students with special education needs Research report
2004 How do effective schools manage their finances? Research report
2004 Te rerenga ā te pīrere: a longitudinal study of kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori students - Phase I Report Research report
2004 Twelve Years Old and Competent Book Longitudinal projects
2004 Whaia te iti Kahurangi: NZCER evaluation: 2004 Research report
2003 Beating the odds: Factors which can make a difference for New Zealand children in low-income homes Conference paper Student engagement Longitudinal projects
2003 Long-term contribution of early childhood education to children's performance - evidence from New Zealand Journal article
2003 Longitudinal research - the Competent Children project Book chapter
2003 Status of educational research in New Zealand: New Zealand country report Conference paper
2003 Sustaining school development in a decentralised system: Lessons from New Zealand Conference paper
2003 Te Hiringa i Te Mahara: The power of the mind: Evaluation report Research report
2002 Local and systemic roles of school trustees Conference paper
2002 Meeting individual educational needs: Legal identification, or systemic support? Journal article Policy
2002 Meeting individual educational needs: Legal identification, or systemic support? Occasional paper
2002 NZPF 2001 transience survey: NZCER analysis check Research report