Professor Judy Margaret Parr

PhD (Psychology), BSc(Hons) (Australian National University), MA(Hons), DipTchg (Distinction)


Judy Parr is Professor of Education in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. Her research programme focuses on enhancing teacher practice and raising student achievement in literacy. Most has been larger-scale funded research, conducted collaboratively within major national (or regional) projects for school change and improvement. Such work is designed to inform the ongoing direction of the projects and subsequent policy and practice. Judy’s particular expertise is in writing, encompassing how writing develops, the cultural tools of literacy, considerations of instructional issues like teacher knowledge and practice and, in particular, assessment of written language. She has published widely in a range of international journals spanning literacy, technology, policy and administration and school change and is an editorial board member and acts as invited reviewer for a range of international journals in these areas. Two books co-written or edited with Professor Helen Timperley, in particular, bridge theory and practice: Using Evidence in Teaching Practice: Implications for Professional Learning (2004) and Weaving Evidence, Inquiry and Standards to Build Better Schools (2010). Judy is an active and successful supervisor of doctoral students, receiving, in 2015, a University of Auckland Teaching Excellence Award for Post Graduate Supervision. Amongst her more than 30 doctoral graduates are winners of national and international prizes for their theses. 

Inaugural Lecture: Writing and the Challenge for Writing Pedagogy
2 November 2011

Research | Current

A major focus of Judy’s research concerns school change and improvement in order to ensure effective practice and raise achievement in literacy. She values research with professional communities; most of her research is in school contexts alongside teachers, leaders, professional developers and Ministry personnel. Currently, she holds a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative grant (with Dr Murray Gadd), working with schools to raise achievement in writing. Major recent projects include seven years of research alongside the National Literacy Professional Development Project, investigating how the conditions at each systemic level contribute to substantive improvement in achievement; an allied project examining the achievement of Pasifika schools on LPDP, and a project involving both evaluating and building evaluative capability in Schooling Improvement. Judy also is part of international funded research collaborations: in Norway as part of a large project on writing assessment and, in Canada, research concerning play, talk and writing in remote northern communities. 

Recent publications

Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising 9 doctoral students (plus 3 completed this year and graduating, and 2 under examination) and two masters students. To date has supervised to completion >30 doctoral theses and 35 masters theses. Recent doctoral graduates include:

2015     Rae Si’ilata (PhD in Education). Va'a Tele : Pasifika learners riding the success wave on linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogies. Co- supervisor Prof Helen Timperley. Winner of VC Award for Outstanding Doctoral thesis and of the NZARE Sutton- Smith Award for Best Thesis.

2015     Susan Bedford (PhD in Education). What are the knowledge needs of teachers to inform the multimodal authoring of their students in years 1-8? Co-supervisor Prof Stuart McNaughton.

2015     Murray Gadd (PhD in Education). What is critical in the effective teaching of writing? : A study of the classroom practice of some Year 5 to 8 teachers in the New Zealand context. Co-supervisor Prof Stuart McNaughton 

2015     Elizabeth Anderson (EdD). Drama's powerful pedagogy : Building a picture of effective drama practice for the primary classroom.  Co-supervisor Prof John Morgan.

2015     Thi Phuong Lan Luu (PhD in Education). The effects of computer-assisted listening instruction on Vietnamese teachers and students of English. Co-supervisor Assoc Prof Cathy Gunn.

2014     Kenneth Ong (PhD in Education). EFL vocabulary learning through codeswitched reading tasks. Main supervisor Prof Lawrence Zhang.

2014     Kane Meissel (PhD).  Applying quantitative analyses in education: Explaining student progress in achievement. Co-supervisor Prof Helen Timperley.



Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • 2012 - 2014 Head of School of Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • 2012 - 2014 Member Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Heads Advisory Group
  • 2008 - 2011 Associate Dean Research Faculty of Education
  • 2008 - 2011 Member of University Research Committee
  • 2009 - 2011 Member of University Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) Co-ordinating Committee
  • 2009 - 2010 Member of Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Non-Faculty Staffing Committee


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.
  • Parr, J. M., & Jesson, R. (2020). Relations Between Literacy Research and Practice in New Zealand. READING TEACHER, 73 (6), 691-696. 10.1002/trtr.1868
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Jesson
  • Li, H. H., Zhang, L. J., & Parr, J. M. (2020). Small-group student talk before individual writing in tertiary English writing classrooms in China: Nature and insights. Frontiers in Psychology, 11 (570565)10.3389/fpsyg.2020.570565
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lawrence Zhang
  • Jesson, R., & Parr, J. (2019). Writing interventions that respond to context: Common features of two research practice partnership approaches in New Zealand. TEACHING AND TEACHER EDUCATION, 8610.1016/j.tate.2019.102902
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Jesson
  • Gadd, M., Parr, J. M., Robertson, J., Carran, L., Ali, Z., Gendall, L., & Watson, K. (2019). Portrait of the student as a young writer: some student survey findings about attitudes to writing and self-efficacy as writers. LITERACY, 53 (4), 226-235. 10.1111/lit.12178
  • Yang, C., Zhang, L. J., & Parr, J. M. (2019). The reactivity of think-alouds in writing research: Quantitative and qualitative evidence from writing in English as a foreign language. Reading and Writing10.1007/s11145-019-09970-7
  • Parr, J. M. (2019). Noticing as key to meet the needs of developing writers. Developing Habits of Noticing in Literacy and Language Classrooms: Research and Practice across Professional Cultures (pp. 41-58). 10.4324/9780429320828-3
  • Peterson, S. S., Parr, J., Lindgre, E., & Kaufman, D. (2018). Conceptualizations of writing in early years curricula and standards documents: international perspectives. CURRICULUM JOURNAL, 29 (4), 499-521. 10.1080/09585176.2018.1500489
  • Gadd, M., & Parr, J. M. (2017). Practices of effective writing teachers. Reading and Writing, 30 (7), 1551-1574. 10.1007/s11145-017-9737-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Murray Gadd

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 600
New Zealand