Associate Professor Mei Kuin Lai
PhD, MA (1st class Hons)
Mei has led or co-led national and large-scale projects on improving and sustaining students' literacy achievement across a variety of contexts, from high poverty multi-cultural schools to rural primary and high schools. Her recent projects are a national project to build evaluative capability in government funded schooling improvement initiatives and a regional intervention to improve reading comprehension and increase the numbers of students gaining national certificates.
Mei was awarded The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship, University of Auckland Masters/Honours Scholarship, Senior Scholar in Education (Top student in School of Education at advanced undergraduate level) and the Certificate of Merit in Statistics (Top 2% in Statistics at undergraduate level).
Her previous experience included work as a Research Analyst responsible for training School Support Services Facilitators in Auckland and Northland in inquiry, and a Researcher-developer in Schooling Improvement Cluster (Mangere Analysis and Use of Student Achievement Data initiative) responsible for programme development and evaluation.
Research | Current
University of Auckland Research Excellence Award
Project leader / co-leader
- 2008-2012 West Coast Secondary Project (Regional project)
- 2008-2011 Building Evaluative Capability in Schooling Improvement (National project)
- 2008-2009 Teaching Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) Project on Sustainability (Large-scale grant)
- 2008 West Coast Sustainability Project (Regional project)
- 2005–2007 West Coast Literacy Project (Regional project)
International addresses at disciplinary associations
- 2013 - Keynote. International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement Regional Symposium, Sweden http://www.icsei.net/index.php?id=1676
- 2016 - Invited speaker. Vice-Presidential Invited Speaker Session, Division H, Division H, American Educational Research Association (AERA), USA
- 2018 - Main Speaker. Post Graduate Research Forum at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI), Singapore https://www.icsei.net/2018/index.php?id=1855
- Conferences (e.g., 2010 - American Educational Research Association conference; 2008 - International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement conference)
- Journals (e.g., Reading Research Quarterly, Instructional Science, and School Improvement and School Effectiveness)
- 2008 - Programme Chair for International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement conference
- 2012 - International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement conference interactive symposium
Teaching | Current
- Manaikalani Digital Teaching Academy (overall Academic Director)
- EDCURRIC 740 Accelerating Learning (Course Director)
- EdProfst 700 Literacy Education Research and Practice
- 2012- 2013 EDPROFST 757 - Undertaking Research for School Improvement
- 9 doctoral students. Theses topics include a high school literacy intervention and literacy learning over summer in Germany .
- 14 masters students. Theses topics include the impact of professional learning communities on classroom practice, students' perceptions of academic counselling in high school, and the impact of Samoan bilingual education in a primary school.
- 3 dissertation students. Theses topics include the analysing facilitation of professional learning communities.
- Co-authored book Practitioner Research for Educators nominated for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Outstanding Book Award. This award recognises as exemplary books that make a significant contribution to the knowledge base of teacher education or of teaching and learning with implications for teacher education. The book was on the distributer's bestseller list for 2006 (ranked in the top 10 books for Australasia)
- Associate Director, Woolf Fisher Research Centre
Areas of expertise
- Research and development interventions to improve literacy achievement, in particular, interventions with indigenous and ethnic minority students
- Sustainability of educational reforms
- Professional learning communities
- Analysis and use of data to improve teaching and learning
- Problem-based methodology
- 2012 - School of Curriculum and Pedagogy Research Committee
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Fjørtoft H, & Lai, M. K. (2020). Affordances of narrative and numerical data: A social-semiotic approach to data use. Studies in Educational Evaluation10.1016/j.stueduc.2020.100846
- Wilson, A., & Lai, M. K. (2019). Leading Literacy Change Through Collaborative Analysis of Practice. JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT & ADULT LITERACY, 62 (4), 455-458. 10.1002/jaal.916
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Aaron Wilson
- Lai, M. K., & McNaughton, S. (2018). LEARNING NETWORKS FOR SUSTAINABLE LITERACY ACHIEVEMENT. In C. Brown, C. L. Poortman (Eds.) (pp. 152-171). ROUTLEDGE.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart McNaughton
- Jesson, R., Wilson, A., McNaughton, S., & Lai, M. (Eds.) (2017). Teachers leading inquiry for school problem solving. Wellington, N.Z.: NZCER Press. Pages: 102.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Jesson, Aaron Wilson, Stuart McNaughton
- Poortman, C. L., Schildkamp, K., & Lai, M. K. (2016). Professional development in data use: An international perspective on conditions, models, and effects. Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 363-365. 10.1016/j.tate.2016.07.029
- Lai, M. K., & McNaughton, S. (2016). The impact of data-use professional development on student achievement. Teaching and Teacher Education, 60, 434-443. 10.1016/j.tate.2016.07.005
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart McNaughton
- Allison, C., Laxman, K., & Lai, M. K. (2016). New setting, same skill: Teaching geography students to transfer information literacy skills From familiar to unfamiliar contexts. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 4 (2), 27-38. 10.7575/aiac.ijels.v.4n.2p.27
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kumar Laxman
- Lai, M. K., & Schildkamp, K. (2016). In-service teacher professional learning: Use of assessment in data-based decision-making. In G. T. L. Brown, L. R. Harris (Eds.) Handbook of human and social conditions in assessment (pp. 77-94). New York, USA: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.