Staff, honoraries and research students

EMAH staff and honoraries
Jim Tognolini

DIRECTOR: Professor Jim Tognolini, PhD (Murdoch, WA), MEd (Murdoch, WA), BEd (UWA), DipEd (WA CAE), BAppSc (WAIT)

Jim Tognolini has a breadth of experience in assessment and educational measurement, having been involved in the establishment, implementation, delivery and evaluation of educational policy in many systems. He supported Professor Gordon Stanley in establishing the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment and also worked with Professor David Andrich in establishing the Pearson Psychometric Laboratory at UWA. He has set up centres internationally, including the Centre for Assessment, Evaluation and Research in India, the Centre for Educational Testing, Measurement and Evaluation for the Government of the UAE, and the Pearson Research and Assessment Centre. Professor Tognolini also brings to the role solid experience in the tertiary sector, having supervised master's and PhD studies, and assessed many postgraduate theses.

Gordon Stanley

HONORARY PROFESSOR: Professor Gordon Stanley, BA(Hons), PhD (UWA)

Gordon Stanley is Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Sydney and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. From 2008 until 2010 he was the inaugural Pearson Professor of Educational Assessment and Director, Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment. He was President of the Board of Studies in NSW from 1998 to 2008. In 2007, he chaired the National Numeracy Review for the Human Capital Working Group of the Council of Australian Governments. He has researched and published in educational and psychological testing and has been responsible for managing a number of research and education projects.Professor Stanley's current research interests are around the role of standards in educational assessment, system-level reform, and automated assessment systems.

Lucy Lu

ADJUNCT SENIOR LECTURER: Dr Lucy Lu, PhD (UOW), MCom (Macquarie), BComputerSc (Zhejiang, China)

Lucy Lu brings to the centre a wealth of expertise and experience in leading innovative educational research projects. Dr Lu currently leads the Statistics and Analysis Unit in the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation at the NSW Department of Education. She has a particular interest in test-score validity and test validation. The high-profile research Dr Lu has led has included the development of the Family Occupation and Education Index for the school-equity funding; the development of value-added measures of school performance; and research studies into the reliability and validity of educational tools such as automated essay marking and the English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) Learning Progression.

Carol Taylor

ADJUNCT SENIOR LECTURER: Carol Taylor, MEd, (UNSW), BADipEd (Sydney)

Carol Taylor is an education consultant with more than 40 years experience in school education. She is recognised across Australia as an expert in teaching and educational standards, and in school-based assessment and evaluation. As the former chief executive of the NSW Board of Teaching and Educational Standards she was responsible for implementing major reforms in the areas of HSC assessment and teaching standards. Ms Taylor has recently been an adviser in education policy to former NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli. She is currently a member of the NSW Education Standards Authority Board, and is on the Board of the Public Education Foundation.

Michelle Davidson


Michelle Davidson has worked on a range of innovative assessment projects at a national and international level over the past 21 years. Most recently, she has developed trial reading items in preparation for NASOP. She has a wealth of experience in student assessment across a range of year levels, and across a breadth of curriculum areas. She has been responsible for item/test design; development and implementation; large-scale assessment and testing; the development of support materials; and the management of reporting and diagnostics. Ms Davidson has coordinated and managed system-level testing projects in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the Middle East. She has previously held positions with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the Educational Testing Centre (EAA). Ms Davidson has been involved in developing and delivering projects utilising a range of delivery methods, and addressing a number of curriculum areas, notably in literacy, numeracy, science and civics and citizenship.

Yoshitaka Nakakoji

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Yoshitaka Nakakoji PhD (Sydney), MSc, MPAcc (Ext)(UNSW), GradDipEd(Secondary), BSc, GradCert Research Methodologies(Sydney)

Yoshitaka Nakakoji is a postdoctoral researcher in educational measurement and assessment with mathematics and research methods background. He has broad interests across educational evidence, policy and practice with a particular interest in higher education. He has recently published research articles and presented at conferences. His current research aims to develop rubrics for graduate qualities and scales to measure those qualities. His professional knowledge and skills relevant to research have been developed through the completion of several degrees and courses, including mathematics, social research methodologies and methods, and secondary teaching.He recently completed his PhD, which focused on the nexus between mathematics and science and transfer of mathematical learning at university. He has also taught first-year undergraduate mathematics.

Beverley Powell

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: Beverley Powell, MEd (UWS), BA, DipEd (Macquarie)

Bev Powell worked in secondary education for more than 30 years before joining Professor Tognolini as his executive assistant. As a teacher, Ms Powell specialised in assessment and learning strategies for students with learning difficulties and designed individual, as well as school-based programs to enhance learning and improve literacy and numeracy for all students. She has also been involved in several research projects to develop classroom teaching strategies.

Sydney School of Education and Social Work academics associated with the EMAH
Helen Watt

Professor Helen Watt, PhD (Sydney), BEd(Sec:Math) (Sydney).

Helen Watt is a professor of educational psychology and an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Sydney. She previously held appointments in quantitative research methods and educational psychology at Monash University and the universities of Michigan, Western Sydney, Sydney and Macquarie. Her interests include motivation, educational and occupational choices, and quantitative analyses for developmental data. She is presently engaged in two large-scale longitudinal projects: the FIT-Choice project, which has implications for supporting career development for beginning teachers; and the STEPS study, investigating youth dis/engagement from sciences and mathematics. professor Watt initiated the international Network Gender & STEM, which works to redress continued gender imbalances in mathematics- and science-related careers. Currently she is associate editor for AERA Open and is on the editorial boards of Contemporary Educational Psychology, as well as the International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, and the Australian Journal of Education.

Rachel Wilson

Dr Rachel Wilson, DPhil (Oxford), MSc(Research Methods) (Oxford),
GradCertHigherEdStud (Sydney), PGCE (Oxford), DipAudiology (Melbourne), BSc (ANU)

Rachel Wilson is a senior lecturer with The Sydney School of Education and Social Work and has a breadth of experience in education assessment, research and evaluation. With a background in psychology and audiology, Dr Wilson made a career change to teaching and then education research where she focuses on issues related to assessment, child development and research methods. Rachel has been responsible for several large-scale evaluation projects and provided evidence reviews for state and national education authorities. She has worked in and with government, and maintains a strong understanding of current policies and practice. Dr Wilspn sits on several advisory committees and has particular expertise in collecting, accessing and interrogating data from studies in education settings.

Research student

Name Degree being studied Thesis title

Lewis, Chris


Measuring graduate attributes: understanding and assessing influence