Research Outputs

Working papers

New Zealand Literacy Projections

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The aim of this paper is to derive projections of the average literacy score attained by the population, by gender and Māori /non-Māori, for an aggregate set of New Zealand regions. The estimated projections in this research illustrate a slow, gradual change in literacy levels over time, accompanied by a widening gap between regions' levels of literacy proficiency. The gap between Māori and non-Māori literacy scores (favouring non-Māori) is comparatively large and constant across the projection periods.

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Adult literacy and numeracy programmes and labour market outcomes

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This paper examines the effects of three broad types of L+N programmes separately: Workplace LN, Intensive LN and ILN English (for speakers of other languages). We find increases in education and training participation as a general activity indicator of whether a person is in employment, education or training shows positive results for all three programme types. There is little effect on workplace accident claims.

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Skills & Life-course Trajectories of NZ Adults

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This paper examines the life-course trajectories of NZ adults across different skill levels in literacy and numeracy. Findings show that adults with low measured skills have less favourable outcomes in a number of areas. They have lower rates of educational attainment, lower employment rates and average earnings, higher rates of hospitalisation, and higher rates of criminal offending and convictions.

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Skills & Outcomes of NZ Youth

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This research paper examines the life-course trajectories of a cohort of NZ youth using linked administrative data to track their outcomes. It finds that students with low measured skills have less favourable outcomes in a number of areas. Outcomes for Māori in both the low-skills and above-baseline groups are less favourable than those of their NZ European counterparts.

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Human Capital Formation and Changes in Low Pay Persistence

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This paper aims to broaden understanding of how persistence in low pay changes over time. We utilise population-wide tax records to track monthly labour market trajectories of workers who are observed in low paid employment during the initial period of analysis.

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Skills, Economic Crises and the Labour Market

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This paper examines the effect of two major economic setbacks, the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09, and the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, on wage progression for different skill level New Zealanders. The analysis links PIAAC survey data with Inland Revenue tax data to assess if higher skills help mitigate the negative impacts of an economic crisis.

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Reading Engagement and Wellbeing

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This research paper aims to disentangle the effects of two different aspects of literacy, literacy proficiency as measured by standardized tests, and reading engagement as measured by self-reports of everyday reading activities. The paper uses multivariate regression models on nationally representative survey data from New Zealand, to estimate the effects of reading engagement on earnings, health, social trust, political efficacy, and civic engagement.

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Adult literacy and numeracy intervention landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand

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This working paper describes the literacy and numeracy (L+N) intervention landscape in Aotearoa ascertained from discussions with key stakeholders in the sector. These discussions were focused on identifying key aspects of the L+N intervention landscape including high-level government policy and strategy, specific provider and referral pathways, and the type of individuals for whom L+N learning is designed.

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An empirical portrait of New Zealand adults living with low literacy and numeracy skills

The aim of this research paper is to provide a comprehensive portrait of the population living with low literacy and / or numeracy (L/N) skills in NZ. Prior literature argues that “low basic skills levels of adults are a complex policy problem” that does not have “straightforward solutions”. This research paper aims to provide the baseline with which to understand the complex nature and landscape of low L/N skills in NZ.

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We also developed an infographic to accompany and summarise some of our findings:

Infographic

Reading components, reading engagement and literacy proficiency in Aotearoa New Zealand

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This working paper develops multivariate models of how reading component processes are related to the higher order literacy proficiency assessed by the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and to adults’ engagement with reading in everyday life.The differences observed in those relationships suggest that the use of practice-centred instructional strategies and designs for intervention programs may be particularly helpful to those living with low literacy.

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Adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand: Context, conceptual issues and existing evidence

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This working paper provides a literature review to inform this research programme. It examines conceptual and definitional issues and relevant aspects of the New Zealand (NZ) context, and provides a high level overview of existing evidence. It discusses what is meant by ‘skill’ and the related concept of competency, and how these terms are associated with literacy and numeracy. It looks at how the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) defines and measures skills. It also looks at the existing evidence on NZ’s skill levels and patterns and the importance of skills to economic outcomes and wellbeing.

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Articles & Reports

Research Summary In their voice: Adult learners’ perspectives on literacy and numeracy, learning and wellbeing

Wāhine Māori engagement with literacies

In their voice: Adult learners' perspectives on literacy and numeracy, learning and wellbeing

Ko te ngako te kōrero: Māori understandings of literacy and numeracy

Institutional racism and internalised racial oppression: evidence from the narratives of Samoans in the New Zealand workplace

Adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand: How does current research and organisational reporting align with the Living Standards Framework?

Empirical analysis of Pacific, Māori and ethnic pay gaps in New Zealand

The Pacific workforce and the impact of COVID-19

Journal Articles

A Mātauranga Māori Perspective of Literacy for Adult Learners

Research note: Empirical analysis of ethnic pay gaps in New Zealand

Adults’ reading engagement and wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand

Basic reading and mathematics skills and the labour market outcomes of young people: Evidence from PISA and linked administrative data

Adults’ Reading Engagement and Wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • The Public Library of Science ONE - Reder, S.

Rethinking Oceanic-Pacific Methods of Data Collection During COVID-19: Insights From the Field

When There is No Way Up: Reconsidering Low-paid Jobs as Stepping-stones

Presentations

Workshop: Social policy and the labour market in turbulent times: (no) need for change?
Date: 19-20 July 2023

  • Effects of literacy and numeracy programmes – empirical evidence from New Zealand - Thomas Schober, AUT
  • The effect of literacy and numeracy programmes on labour market outcomes - Thomas Schober, AUT

Nuremberg Research Seminar in Economics
Date: 12 July 2023

  • Effects of literacy and numeracy programmes – empirical evidence from New Zealand - Thomas Schober, AUT

NZAE Conference 2023
Date: 28-30 June 2023

Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Intersectionality Series
Date: 27 April 2023

AUT Faculty of Business, Economics, and Law Professional Development 
Date: 23 April 2023

  • Barriers and enablers to literacy and numeracy: insights from the Pacific people - Betty Ofe-Grant, AUT

Western Economic Association International Conference 2023
Date: 12-15 April 2023

Women of Colour Leadership & Allyship Summit
Date: 21-22 March 2023

New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum
Date: 8 September 2021

The Pacific Days Show - Pacific Media Network 531pi
Date: 12 May 2021

Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Cultural Capability - Ako Aotearoa
Date: 14 April 2021

New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum
Date: 12 November 2020

Some of the topics covered include:
Supporting practice-based learning with digital technologies; Development and Early Delivery of a Degree Apprenticeship Model for Engineering Education; Working and learning together: Lessons learned from tutor capability building in Aotearoa New Zealand; and How do vocational literacy and language learning take place in an online and distance context?

Productivity Commission
Date: 10 October 2022

ProLiteracy Conference (San Antonio, Texas)
Date: 3-5 October 2022

Wellington & Auckland Workshop
Date: 22 - 23 September 2022

Research Work and Learning Conference
Date: 13 - 15 July 2022

WEAI, 97th Annual Conference
Date: May 2022

62nd Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists
Date: May 2022

2022 AERA Annual Meeting
Date: April 2022

International PIAAC Research Conference 2022
Date: March 2022

AEFP 47th Annual Conference
Date: March 2022

9th GEBF Conference Bamberg
Date: March 2022

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