Assessing the assessments

‘If it’s not being assessed, is it being taught?’ asks respected science educator Azra Moeed.

Associate Professor, Azra Mooed

Since moving to New Zealand from India in 1975, Associate Professor Azra Moeed has become one of the country’s most experienced and respected science educators.

She has taught science at every level, from early childhood to tertiary, and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award administered by Ako Aotearoa.

Associate Professor Moeed teaches in Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Education and says she has never lost her connection with the classroom.

“I do my research in the classroom because I love the classroom,” she says.

“From research to policy and policy to practice is a long road. But if you go into a classroom and support teachers, then you’ll get results for the children.”

Research is about capacity building, believes Associate Professor Moeed. “Research is not just about you. You have to take people with you. There is some very good teaching in New Zealand and for me the purpose of educational research is to improve teaching and also learning. I’m a teacher and I want all kids to learn.”  

Associate Professor Moeed joined Victoria from the Wellington College of Education in 2005. She was working at Victoria when she embarked on her PhD, which studied the phenomenon of science investigation and explored the connections between the motivation to learn, learning and assessment.

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In a nutshell

My research matters because … It is about the current issues in science education. It is embedded in the classroom and an important link between teacher education and science teaching in schools.

One of the inspirations for my research has been … The students I teach and the classrooms where I conduct my research. I have had the privilege to work with some of the most inspiring science teachers in New Zealand.

The best thing about my job is … That my research provides robustness to my teaching and it is encouraging to see my ideas supported by research being implemented in classrooms by the student teachers I have had the opportunity to educate.

My career highlight so far has been … The realisation that I have become a researcher and can write and publish. A highlight of my teaching career is summed up by a 14-year-old student who said, “Miss, I have never not wanted to come to your class.”

My advice to aspiring researchers is … Do research in areas you are passionate about and that is likely to make a difference not just for you but also for others.