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Sue McDowall is a Senior Researcher at NZCER. She works in the areas of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.
Sue is currently leading the project Researching pedagogies for curriculum integration which explores the possibility of integrating two or more learning areas while maintaining the integrity of the knowledges, discourses, and practices of these different areas. She has been involved in numerous projects on implementing the New Zealand Curriculum, and on re-thinking curriculum for the future. These include projects on: the discipline specific competencies and capabilities that can be developed through different learning areas; games for learning; and collaboration between schools and the community. She is a co-author of the book Key competencies for the future; the resource Curriculum for the future: The game; and more recently, the article How the key competencies evolved over time: Insights from the research.
Sue is particularly interested in disciplinary literacy, critical literacy, and multimodal forms of meaning making in the English learning area and the arts and has led or contributed to research and resource development in these areas.
As an ex-primary school teacher, Sue is drawn to the interface between theory and practice. She has supported numerous Teaching Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) and Teacher-Led Innovation Fund (TLIF) projects, led a research project on implementing inquiry in the first round of the TLIF and carried out a synthesis of the TLRI literacy, critical literacy, and disciplinary literacy projects.
Sue has also been involved in developing survey and assessment tools, including: the Teaching and School Practices Survey tool; the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement: English tool; the PACT Reading scale descriptors; the PAT:Reading tool; and items for the Assessment Resource Banks in the English learning area.
McDowall, S. (2011). Literacy teaching and learning for the 21st century: Bridging the theory to practice gap. Practical research for education 44, pp. 47-56.
McDowall, S. (2009). How well is Reading Recovery really working in New Zealand? Reply to Chapman, Greaney, and Tunmer. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 43 (2), 121-125.
Darr, C. & McDowall, S. (2008). Standardised testing: Dilemmas and possibilities. Paper presented at the annual conference of the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Wellington.
McDowall, S. (2006). Effective use of Reading Recovery in low decile schools. set: Research Information for Teachers, 1, 24-28.
McDowall, S., & Watson, V. (2006). How students interpret poetry: findings from Assessment Resource Banks trials. set: Research Information for Teachers, 2, 7-11.
McDowall, S. (2004). Opening up a new world: The use of The Game and other stories by reluctant readers. set: Research Information for Teachers, 1, 12-14.
Croft, C., McDowall, S., & Rapson, G. (2002). Levels-based assessment of writing: Scoring guides from the Assessment Resource Banks. set: Research Information for Teachers, 1, 31-37.
McDowall, S., & Boyd, S. (2001). Word processors: Drafting, crafting, or presentation tools? Students' use of computers for writing in two primary schools. set: Research Information for Teachers, 2, 4-8.
McDowall, S. (2010). Literacy and eLearning: Possibilities for transformation. In V. Ham & D. Wenmoth (Eds.), eLearnings: Implementing a national strategy for ICTin education, 1998 - 2010. Christchurch: CORE Education.
McDowall, S. (2009). The Research: Reading Recovery in New Zealand and Australia. In B. Watson & B. Askew (Eds.), Beyond horizons: Marie Clay’s search for the possible in children’s literacy, 133-161. Auckland: Heinemann.
Potter, H., Taupo, T., Hutchings, J., McDowall, S. & Isaacs, P. (2011). He whänau matua, he whänau ora: Mäori adult literacy and whänau transformation. Wellington: NZCER.
McDowall, S. (2010). Literacy teaching and learning in e-learning contexts. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Twist, J. & McDowall, S. (2010). Life long literacy. Wellington: Cognition Institute.
Bolstad, R., Roberts, J., and McDowall, S. (2010). Education and enterprise: Learning at the interface. Final report from the regional education for enterprise clusters evaluation. Wellington: Ministry of Education and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
Roberts, J., McDowall, S., and Cooper, G. (2008). Enterprising and future-focused? The first report from the Regional Education for Enterprise Clusters Evaluation: Report prepared for Ministry of Education and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.Wellington: Ministry of Education and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
McDowall, S., Cameron, C., & Dingle, R. with Gilmore, A., & MacGibbon, L. (2007). Evaluation of the Literacy Professional Development Project, Ministry of Education, Wellington.
Boyd, S., Bolstad, R., Cameron, M., Ferral, H., Hipkins, R., McDowall, S., & Waiti, P. (2006). Planning and managing change: Messages from the Curriculum Innovation Projects. Final report to the Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
McDowall, S., & Boyd, S. (2005). Messages about reading: What do parents and teachers hear, share, do, and need when engaging in literacy partnerships? Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
Boyd, S., McDowall, S., & Ferral, H. (2006). Innovative pathways from school: Taking the first step. Final report. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
McDowall, S., Boyd, S., & Hodgen, E., with van Vliet, T. (2005). Reading Recovery in New Zealand: Uptake, implementation, and outcomes, especially in relation to Mäori and Pasifika students. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
McDowall, S., & Boyd, S. (2003). Playing the game: The impact of classroom use of The Game and other stories on eleven reluctant readers. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Boyd, S., McDowall, S., & Cooper, G. (2002). Innovative pathways from school: The case studies. Phase 1 report. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
Boyd, S., & McDowall, S. (2001). Techno magic - whizz or fizz?: The relationship between writing mode, editing process, and writing product. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
Teaching and assessment tools and resources:
Darr, C., McDowall, S., Ferral, H., Twist, J., & Watson, V. (2008). PAT Reading: Comprehension and vocabulary (Revised, 2008). Wellington, NZCER.