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Jo MacDonald

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Senior Researcher

Jo is a Senior Researcher at NZCER. She has a keen interest and expertise in policy and programme evaluation across diverse contexts. In recent years much of her work has been in the area of initial teacher education and early career teaching. A common thread is how people (particularly teachers) are prepared for and supported to do their work through initial and ongoing training, mentoring, and communities of practice. Jo was a lead evaluator on the four-year evaluation of the Teach First NZ pilot and has recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Sector Evaluation (Distinction).

Jo has expertise in evaluation methodologies. She enjoys working with clients to meet their evaluation needs, and using mixed-methods to answer evaluation and research questions. Jo's research interests are wide-ranging, and at NZCER she has worked on projects in the areas of school leadership, early career teachers, NCEA, special education, prison education, and student health and wellbeing. In addition to her role as a senior researcher and evaluator, Jo leads NZCER's coordination of the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), a contestable research fund that NZCER manages for the Ministry of Education.

Jo has over 20 years’ experience in education and educational research, including a decade working in research and evaluation in the government sector in New Zealand and Scotland. In the government setting she has managed portfolios of research and evaluation projects in curriculum implementation, middle schooling, Pasifika education, special education, and early childhood education. Jo has a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Sector Evaluation (Distinction),  MA in Education (first class), BA in Sociology, and a Diploma of Teaching (Primary). 

Research outputs

Year published Title Publication type Category
2019 Secondary schools in 2018: Findings from the NZCER national survey Research report Families and communities Policy School governance and management
2018 Challenges for initial teacher education in the context of 'twenty-first century' learning imperatives Book chapter Learning at work Professional learning
2018 Fire safety in schools, kura, ECE centres, and kohanga reo: Looking to the future Research report Early childhood Evaluation
2017 Enriching the wellbeing of young adolescents in secondary school Book chapter
2017 Final Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ programme pilot: Delivered in partnership with the University of Auckland Research report
2017 Formative evaluation of the Principal Recruitment Allowance Research report Evaluation Policy
2017 High quality practica and the integration of theory and practice in initial teacher education Research report
2017 Reflecting on evaluation practice by considering an educative values-engaged approach: How would it have changed this utilisation-focused evaluation? Journal article Evaluation
2017 Reviewing the game plan: What can be learnt from the first year of Research report
2017 Training for a Reflective Workforce: Transfer of learning for support worker apprentices Research report
2016 2015 Annual Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ programme pilot delivered in partnership with the University of Auckland Research report Evaluation
2016 An analysis of participant blogs supplemented by teacher interviews Research report
2016 Creating a space for student voice in an educational evaluation Journal article Evaluation
2015 "It's who we are" Stories of practice and change from PB4L School-Wide Schools Research report Student engagement Student health and wellbeing
2015 2014 Annual Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ Programme Research report Learning at work Post-school learning Professional learning
2015 Evaluation of the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy Research report
2015 My FRIENDS Youth final evaluation report Research report