Karen Vaughan

Research Projects

23 Feb 18
with: Tertiary Education Commission: TECNew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: EvaluationEducation & TrainingEngineering

Engineering e2e (education-to-employment) is a programme designed to increase the number of engineers in New Zealand. It was established in 2014 by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) in response to Government concerns about the possible economic impact of a forecasted engineer shortfall, especially for technicians and technologists (NEEP Project Governing Group, 2010). The evaluation of Engineering e2e is a high-level review of it as a “systems integrator” that “coordinates, catalyses, and monitors” education-employment activity (Barton, Farrell, & Mourshed, 2013). Through a review of documentation and 16 interviews with steering group members and initiative or project leaders, the evaluation asked two questions: 

  • In what ways has Engineering e2e acted as a model of systems integration?
  • What can be learned that might apply to Engineering e2e in the future and/or to e2e projects in other fields?
29 Sep 17
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingE-LearningInformation & Communications Technology

The Zooming in on Learning in the Digital Age (ZILDA) research programme aims to 'zoom in' - or dig down deeper - into issues surrounding 'digital age learning'.

The goal of the first phase of the ZILDA research was to zoom in on the views and experiences of 'digital age learners'. 

27 Sep 17
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchSecondary Education

The research is set against the background of the introduction of the new senior secondary school qualifications regime, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). For three consecutive years, NZCER is exploring the manner in which student subject choice at Year 11 changes in response to the implementation of the NCEA reforms, in six case study schools. These schools are similar in size, but have been selected to represent a diversity of student groups and contextual settings. Part of this longitudinal study included regular reporting. This project consists of some of the findings from this study, including:

Learning curves: Meeting student needs in an evolving qualifications regime: From cabbages to kings: A first report - This short report summarises the initial findings from the three-year longitudinal study.

Learning curves: Meeting student learning needs in an evolving qualifications regime: Shared pathways and multiple tracks: A second report - This report builds on findings from the first report From Cabbages to Kings, which was released in mid-2002.


25 Sep 17
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchSecondary Education

The Learning Curves project has documented changes in the subject and assessment choices offered to senior students in six medium-sized New Zealand secondary schools between 2002 and 2004 as the National Qualifications Framework and National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) reforms were progressively implemented. It has also investigated how students perceive and make their subject choices within the context of each school’s curriculum policies and practices. 

This report documents findings from the third and final year of Learning Curves and is subtitled Shaping Our Futures: Meeting Secondary Students’ Learning Needs in a Time of Evolving Qualifications. 

06 Sep 17
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEmployment & LabourEducation & TrainingTertiary EducationYouth

Pathways and Prospects is a 4-year study of young people's pathway and career experiences and perspectives after leaving school and entering study/training and the workforce.

This report analyses two years worth of in-depth interviews with 114 young people in employment, the army, apprenticeship, university, and youth training.

It focuses on how they make career choices in relation to the different dimensions of security and exploration in their outlooks.

The analysis suggests we support young people by shifting our focus away from tracking people and pathways to understanding career and identity production.

28 Aug 17
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEmployment & LabourEducation & Training

How do people learn to become general practitioners, carpenters and engineering technicians? This report is based on the Knowing Practice project and explores practice-based learning (apprenticeship or vocational immersion) across three different fields. It is based on observations and interviews with 41 learner-practitioners and their workplace-based mentors, teachers, and advisors:

  1. GP registrars in the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners’ (RNZCGP) General Practice Education Programme
  2. carpentry apprentices in managed apprenticeships with the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)
  3. engineering technician cadets employed by engineering companies associated with the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand’s (IPENZ) Futureintech initiative

The significant learning experiences discussed by participants were detailed and specific to their field. However, those experiences also had many similarities: they almost always revealed the big picture and integrated aspects of practice. They had a memorable, 'no going back' quality. Sometimes they involved painful or counter-intuitive realisations about themselves and their work. 

To understand these aspects of capability development, the authors developed the idea of vocational thresholds: transformational learning experiences that do not just involve knowledge and ability to do things but involve a way to be as a GP, carpenter or engineering technician. There are implications for the kinds of experiences learner-practitioners are exposed to, and when, as well as the deliberate practice opportunities provided.

25 Aug 17
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEmployment & LabourEducation & TrainingHealthcare

This report presents findings from a research project focusing on a group of 21 apprentices undertaking the new Careerforce apprenticeship programme, the Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing. These apprentices are among the first to embark on the apprenticeship programme. NZCER explored the following questions:

1. How does the apprenticeship programme contribute to work capability?
2. What value is added by the apprenticeship programme (e.g. work practice, confidence and career pathways, client confidence)?
3. What are the implications for workforce planning, learning support and pathways development? 

13 Jul 15
with: Ministry for Women categories: ResearchEmployment & LabourInequalityEducation & TrainingSchoolsPolicyWomenLabour forceYouthGender

Report prepared for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, September 2008.

18 Feb 15
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: SchoolsSecondary EducationTertiary Education

The Competent Children, Competent Learners project is a longitudinal study undertaken by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) which focuses on a group of about 500 young people from the greater Wellington region. Seven phases of the project have now been completed - the first when the students were near age 5, the next when they were at age 6 and then at ages 8, 10, 12,14 and 16. A further phase is currently underway collecting data from the sample of young people at age 20.