Esther Yao

BA(Hons) with First Class Honours (Auckland)


Esther is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education and Social Work’s School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice. Her doctoral thesis investigates the methodological complexities and associated implications of ethnicity measurement in social science research. Prior to her PhD, Esther worked as a research assistant in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice where she was primarily involved in research in educational psychology.

Research | Current

PhD topic: The operationalisation of ethnicity in quantitative social science research

This research empirically investigates the effects that methodological decisions around the construction of ethnicity as a variable have on statistical analyses in the social sciences in increasingly ethnically diverse age cohorts. It utilises survey data from two nationally representative studies in Aotearoa New Zealand: the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal birth cohort study and the Youth2000 national youth health and wellbeing survey series.


  • University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship, University of Auckland, 2016
  • Faculty of Arts Masters/Honours Scholarship, University of Auckland, 2013
  • Summer Research Scholarship, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland, 2012

Areas of expertise

  • Educational and developmental psychology
  • Adolescent development
  • Ethnicity and culture
  • Quantitative methods

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Meyer, F., Yao, E. S., & Meissel, K. (2020). The summer learning effect in writing in New Zealand (vol 33, pg 1183, 2020). READING AND WRITING, 33 (5), 1211-1211. 10.1007/s11145-020-10027-3
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kane Meissel, Frauke Meyer
  • Meissel, K., Meyer, F., Yao, E. S., & Rubie-Davies, C. M. (2017). Subjectivity of teacher judgments: Exploring student characteristics that influence teacher judgments of student ability. Teaching and Teacher Education, 65, 48-60. 10.1016/j.tate.2017.02.021
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kane Meissel, Frauke Meyer, Christine Rubie-Davies
  • Brown, G. T. L., Peterson, E. R., & Yao, E. S. (2016). Student conceptions of feedback: Impact on self-regulation, self-efficacy, and academic achievement. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 86 (4), 606-629. 10.1111/bjep.12126
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gavin Brown, Elizabeth Peterson
  • Yao, E. S. W., Deane, K. L., & Bullen, P. (2015). Trends and transitions from secondary school: Insights from a boarding school for disadvantaged New Zealand youth. Journal of Youth Studies, 18 (10), 1347-1365. 10.1080/13676261.2015.1048202
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kelsey Deane, Pat Bullen

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 306
New Zealand

Web links