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Rosemary (Rose) Hipkins

Job Title: 
Chief Researcher
  • PhD, Deakin University, Melbourne.

Rose has been involved in a number of projects related to the development of a ‘capabilities’ approach to curriculum design:

  • The overall approach is summarised here.
  • This paper explains the approach for an international audience.
  • Published in 2014, the book Key Competencies for the Future draws clear lines of connection between the in-principle idea of key competencies and the future-focused nature of the changes in students’ learning experiences they are intended to foster.
  • The trajectory of our curriculum design thinking, moving from the initial concept of “key competencies” in the New Zealand Curriculum, to the weaving of capabilities, is summarised here.
  • An initial set of five “science capabilities for citizenship” formed the prototype for this ongoing programme of work.
  • The science education team at NZCER has drawn on students’ responses to questions in the National Monitoring Studies of Student Achievement (NMSSA) to create guidance and advice for teachers concerning the nature of progress in developing students’ science capabilities and to provide some insights into how and why they responded to challenges they encountered when completing NMSSA science assessment tasks.   
  • NZCER has created sets of planning decks to support practical curriculum design thinking in schools. The initial set, which models the weaving approach, can be found here.

In 2018 Rose led a review of future-focused assessment literature to prepare the report Trends in assessment for the Ministry of Education.  Her concern with maintaining the fidelity of the curriculum in high-stakes assessments is reflected in the book NCEA in Context, co-authored with two colleagues from Victoria University of Wellington. The three authors have also published an article exploring the effect of high-stakes assessment on the representation of epistemic knowledge in the enacted curriculum. Rose continued this exploration of the senior secondary curriculum by co-publishing an article that compares the Israeli and New Zealand approaches to curriculum and assessment.

Other recently completed projects include: an exploration of curriculum integration; and a study of senior secondary students’ subject choices in relation of the future of work.

Rose serves on the editorial boards of several journals and particularly enjoys helping teacher-researchers shape their experiences and insights for formal publication. She has also supported a number of TLIF (Teacher Led Innovation Fund) projects over the years of this fund’s existence.

In 2019 Rose was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science education.

Selected Publications

Publications related to school curriculum and key competencies:

Hipkins, R. (2009) Meaning making for democratic participation. Paper presented at AARE Conference, Canberra, Tuesday December 1, 2009.

Hipkins, R. (2009). The role of inquiry in 21st century learning in English. English in Aotearoa, 69, 28-35.

Hipkins, R., & Twist, J. (2009). Children's literary engagements with texts: Preliminary findings from the Lifelong Literacy research project. In M. Sinclair (Ed.), A journey of discovery: Facilitating the initiation and application of schooling research (pp. 31-41). Auckland: Cognition Institute.

Hipkins, R., Cowie, B. and Boyd, S. (2009). The collaborative path to implementation: Insights from the NZCER Curriculum Conference Series. Wellington, NZCER Press.

Cowie, B., Hipkins, R., Boyd, S., Bull, A., Keown, P., McGee, C., with Bolstad, R., Cooper, B., Ferrier-Kerr, J., Hume, A., Mckim, A., Moreland, J., Morrison, M., Spiller, L., Taylor, M., & Yates, R. (2009). Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies: Final report. Wellington: Ministry of Education. www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/curriculum/57760/1

Joyce, C. and Hipkins, R. (2009, September). Assessment dilemmas when “21st century” learning approaches shift students into unfamiliar terrain. Paper presented at International Association for Educational Assessment 35th annual conference, 13-18 September, Brisbane, Australia.

Wylie, C., Hipkins, R. and Hodgen, E. (2009). On the edge of adulthood: young people's school and out-of-school experiences at 16. Wellington, Ministry of Education.

Hipkins, R., Cowie, B., Boyd, S., & McGee, C. (2008). Themes from the Curriculum Implementation Case Studies. Ministry of Education. http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/.

Hipkins, R. (2006). Learning to do research: Challenges for students and teachers. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Publications related to assessment and NCEA:

Darr, C. & Hipkins, R. (2020).  Opportunities to reframe moderation practices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. set: Research Information for Teachers, 2, on-line first

Hipkins, R. (2009) Designing extended, creative learning experiences and gathering evidence of success in meeting competency-related curriculum goals: a case study of innovation in a New Zealand school. Paper presented at IAEA conference, Brisbane, September.

Hipkins, R., & Vaughan, K., with Beals, F., Ferral, H., Gardiner, B. (2005). Shaping our futures: Meeting secondary students' learning needs in a time of evolving qualifications. Final report of the Learning Curves project. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Hipkins, R. (2004).  Changing school subjects for changing times. Paper presented at PPTA Conference: Charting the future, The Way Forward for Secondary Education, 18–20 April 2004, Wellington.

Hipkins, R. (2004). The NCEA in the context of the knowledge society and national policy expectations. New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 14, 27-38.

Hipkins, R., Vaughan, K., Beals, F., & Ferral, H. (2004). Learning curves: Meeting student learning needs in an evolving qualifications regime: Shared pathways and multiple tracks: A second report. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Hipkins, R., & Vaughan, K. (2002). From cabbages to kings, a first report: Learning curves: Meeting student needs in an evolving qualifications regime. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Research reports:

Hipkins, R. (2020). Beneath the surface of timetable changes. New Zealand Principal, 35(3), pp.25-29. 

Hipkins, R. (2019). Weaving a local curriculum from a visionary framework document. European Journal of Curriculum Studies, 5(1), pp.742-752.

Hipkins, R. & Cameron, M. (2018). Trends in assessment: An overview of themes in the literature. Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Hipkins, R. (2017).  Nurturing citizenship: road safety as a rich context for learning. Wellington, New Zealand Transport Agency. 

Hipkins, R., Whatman, J. & Felgate, R. (2017). Exploring the impact of the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI). Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research. 

Peralta, L., Rowling, L., Samdal, O., Hipkins, R. & Dudley, D. (2017) Conceptualising a new approach to adolescent health literacy. Health Education Journal, DOI: 10.1177/0017896917714812 

Commentary and application of research insights:

Hipkins, R. (2019) Thinking critically about PISA. set: Research Information for Teachers, (2), pp.49-52.

Drake, J., Kupers, R. & Hipkins, R. (2017). Complexity – a big idea for education? International School, 19 (2) 30-33.

Hipkins, R. (2017) Assessment capability: A great idea that needs more work. ATA Magazine, 97(4), May 2017. 

Hipkins, R. & Cowie, B. (2016) The sigmoid curve as a metaphor for growth and change. Teachers and Curriculum, 16 (2).  

Bay, J., Hipkins, R., Siddiqi, K., Huque, R., Dixon, R., Shirley, D., Tairea, K., Yaqona, D., Mason-Jones, A. & Vickers, M. (2016). School-based primary NCD risk reduction: education and public health perspectives. Health Promotion International, 2016, 1–11.

Hipkins, R. (2016) Capabilities are curriculum weaving tools. English in Aotearoa, 90, 16-22.

Hipkins, R. (2016) Does ERO expect science achievement and progress to be reported by curriculum levels? New Zealand Science Teacher, 135, 29.

Publications related to NZCER National Surveys:

Hipkins, R., with Hodgen, E. (2004). National survey of secondary schools 2003. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Publications related to science education:

Hipkins, R. (2009) Where to now for school science? set reprints 2009, 1-5.

Bull, A., Hipkins, R., Joyce, C., & MacIntyre, B. (2007). Kick Starts; Key Competencies: The water cycle: A science journey: teacher's notes. Wellington: NZCER Press.

Hipkins, R. (2007). The revised curriculum in an international context. New Zealand Science Teacher, 116, 33-34.

Hipkins, R. (2007). A closer look at the content/context dilemma. New Zealand Science Teacher 115: 30-32.

Hipkins, R. (2006). Ontological possibilities the rethinking teaching on the "nature of science". Unpublished PhD thesis, Deakin University.

Hipkins, R., Barker, M., & Bolstad, R. (2005). Teaching the 'nature of science': Modest adaptations or radical reconceptions? International Journal of Science Education, 27 (2), 243-254.

Hipkins, R., & Kenneally, N. (2003). Using NEMP to inform the teaching of scientific skills. A report to the NEMP Board. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Hipkins, R. et al. (2002). Curriculum, Learning and Effective Pedagogy: a literature review in science education. Wellington: Ministry of Education. [ 1.5MB PDF ]

Hipkins, R., Stockwell, W., Bolstad, R., & Baker, R. (2002). Commonsense, trust and science: How patterns of beliefs and attitudes to science pose challenges for effective communication. Wellington: Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. [ 794KB PDF ]

Research projects that I am currently leading:

Research outputs

Year published Title Publication type Category
2020 Subject choice for the future of work: Insights from focus groups Research report Schooling for the future Careers and transition Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2020 Subject choice for the future of work: Insights from research literature Literature review Schooling for the future Careers and transition Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2019 Curriculum integration: What is happening in New Zealand schools? Research report Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2019 Rich tasks planning cards Classroom resource
2018 1 How the key competencies were developed: The evidence base Research report Key Competencies
2018 2 How the key competencies evolved over time: Insights from the research Research report Key Competencies
2018 Challenges for initial teacher education in the context of 'twenty-first century' learning imperatives Book chapter Professional learning Learning at work
2018 Complexity–a big idea for education? Journal article
2018 How “tight/loose” curriculum dynamics impact the treatment of knowledge in two national contexts Journal article Curriculum and assessment
2018 Trends in assessment: An overview of themes in the literature Literature review Policy Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2017 An innovative approach to assessing more complex outcomes of learning Journal article
2017 Building epistemic thinking through disciplinary inquiry: Contrasting lessons from history and biology Journal article
2017 Exploring the impact of the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) Research report
2017 Nurturing citizenship: road safety as a rich context for learning Research report
2017 Remixing NCEA achievement standards: A curriculum integration design deck Book
2017 Remixing the Key Competencies: A curriculum design deck Professional learning resource Key Competencies
2017 Weaving a coherent curriculum: How the idea of 'capabilities' can help Research report Key Competencies
2016 Capabilities are curriculum weaving tools Journal article Curriculum and assessment
2016 NCEA in Context Book NCEA
2015 Environmental education in New Zealand schools: Research update 2015 Research report Science education Schooling for the future Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2015 Evaluation of the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy Research report
2015 Exploring new metrics for Education 3.0 Research report Schooling for the future
2015 Learning to learn in secondary classrooms Research report Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2015 Science capabilities for a functional understanding of the nature of science Journal article Science education
2015 Science Engagement Survey: A new tool for primary science Journal article Assessment tools
2015 Year 2 Evaluation - Getting Runs on the Board Research report Student engagement Student health and wellbeing Evaluation
2014 Constructing your primary school's science curriculum Book Science education
2014 Different ways of thinking about learning Paper Public understanding of education Schooling for the future
2014 Doing research that matters: A success story from statistics education Research report
2014 Editorial Journal article NCEA
2014 Key Competencies for the Future Book Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2014 Supporting teachers' work Conference presentation Science education Professional learning
2013 Competencies or capabilities: What’s in a name? Journal article
2013 Measuring New Zealand students' international capabilities: An exploratory study Research report Public understanding of education Schooling for the future
2013 NCEA one decade on Research report NCEA Moderation Curriculum and assessment
2013 Reflecting on purposes for learning science Research report Science education
2013 Student management systems in secondary schools Journal article School governance and management
2013 Teaching for present and future competency: A productive focus for professional learning Journal article Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2012 Assessment of naturally occurring evidence of literacy Journal article Curriculum and assessment
2012 Building a science curriculum with an effective nature of science component Research report Science education
2012 Curriculum support in science Research report Science education
2012 Editorial Journal article
2012 Editorial Journal article Key Competencies
2012 Laying learning foundations to lift success at NCEA level 3 Conference paper NCEA
2012 NCEA and Curriculum Innovation Working paper NCEA Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2012 New Zealand students' intentions towards participation in the democratic processes: New Zealand results from the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study Research report Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2012 NZCER presentation about creating and embedding change in schools Presentation Student engagement Student health and wellbeing Evaluation
2012 Student inquiry and curriculum integration: Shared origins and points of difference (Part A) Journal article Policy Professional learning Curriculum and assessment
2012 Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching - a New Zealand perspective Research report Public understanding of education Schooling for the future
2012 The complexities of moderating student writing in a community of practice Journal article Curriculum and assessment
2012 The primary school curriculum: Assimilation, adaptation, transformation Research report Curriculum and assessment Education leadership practices Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Longitudinal projects
2011 Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies 2: Final report Research report Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2011 Editorial Journal article
2011 Exploring connections between engagement and student voice Conference presentation Student engagement
2011 Learning to be a new school: Building a curriculum for new times Research report Professional learning Schooling for the future Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2011 Learning to reinvent the school curriculum Conference paper Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2011 Learning to reinvent the school curriculum Research report Curriculum and assessment Education leadership practices
2011 Moderation and Teacher Learning: What can research tell us about their interrelationships? Research report National Standards
2011 National Standards, moderation challenges and teacher learning Conference presentation National Standards Curriculum and assessment
2011 Students’ experiences of their first two years at Albany Senior High Research report Professional learning Schooling for the future Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2011 The challenges of graph interpretation in science Journal article Literacy Science education Key Competencies
2011 The recursive elaboration of key competencies as agents of curriculum change Journal article Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2011 The shape of curriculum change Research report Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2011 The shape of curriculum change Conference presentation Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2011 The transfer of literacy, language and numeracy skills from learning programmes into the workplace: Literature review Research report Learning at work
2011 The Work of Accent Advisers Research report Professional learning
2010 Inspired by science Research report Science education Curriculum and assessment
2010 Kick-starting the Nature of Science Classroom resource Science education Curriculum and assessment Key Competencies
2010 Kick-starting the Nature of Science Book
2010 Learning through moderation Occasional paper
2010 Learning through moderation: Minding our language Journal article National Standards NCEA Curriculum and assessment
2010 More complex than skills: Rethinking the relationship between key competencies and curriculum content Conference paper Key Competencies
2010 Public attitudes to science: rethinking outreach activities Journal article Science education
2010 Reflections on being “labelled” by National Standards Journal article National Standards Key Competencies
2010 Reshaping the secondary school curriculum: Building the plane while flying it? Research report Curriculum and assessment Longitudinal projects
2010 Should students learn to ‘read’ science writing from the media? Journal article Science education
2010 The Evolving NCEA Research report NCEA Longitudinal projects
2010 Thinking in science—What might progress look like? Journal article Science education Curriculum and assessment Key Competencies
2010 What it looks like when it’s going well … Journal article Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2010 Working with the New Zealand Curriculum principles Journal article Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2009 Assessment dilemmas when “21st century” learning approaches shift students into unfamiliar terrain Conference paper Science education Curriculum and assessment Key Competencies
2009 Children's literary engagements with texts Book chapter Literacy
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 Complex or complicated change? What can biology education learn from disciplinary biology? Journal article Science education
2009 Determining meaning for key competencies via assessment practices Journal article Curriculum and assessment Key Competencies
2009 Engaging students in science Journal article Science education Student engagement
2009 Meaning making for democratic participation Conference paper Key Competencies
2009 New Zealand curriculum implementation exploratory studies: Final Report Research report Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2008 Curriculum changes, priorities and issues: findings from the NZCER secondary 2006 and primary 2007 national surveys Research report Curriculum and assessment Longitudinal projects
2008 Early experiences of longer learning periods at Alfriston College Journal article School governance and management
2008 Interplay of context and concepts in primary school children's systems thinking Journal article Science education
2008 Key competencies and inquiry learning. Perfect match or problematic partners? Conference presentation Key Competencies
2008 Longer learning periods for the secondary school day: What does research say? Journal article Student engagement
2008 Putting the Nature of Science strand into the water cycle Journal article Science education Implementing New Zealand Curriculum
2008 Seeing yourself in science Research report Science education
2008 The "something more" in key competencies Journal article Key Competencies
2008 Themes from the curriculum implementation case studies. Milestone report for November 2008 Paper Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2007 Assessing key competencies: Why would we? How could we? Journal article Curriculum and assessment Implementing New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies
2007 Course innovation in the senior secondary curriculum: A snapshot taken in July 2007 Research report Curriculum and assessment
2007 Engaging teachers in re-imagining curriculum Journal article Science education Professional learning Curriculum and assessment