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Professor Bronwen Cowie

Bronwen Cowie
Dean's Office
Associate Dean Research

Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research

Technology, Environmental, Mathematics, and Science Education Research Centre
Researcher (Science Education)

(+64) 7 838 4466 ext 4987
Doctor of PhilosophyUniversity of Waikato
Master of ScienceUniversity of Waikato
Bachelor of ScienceUniversity of Waikato


Professor Bronwen Cowie taught science, physics and mathematics in New Zealand secondary schools for a number of years before moving to The University of Waikato as the researcher on the Learning in Science Project (Assessment). Her doctorate is on formative assessment / assessment for learning in year 7 to 10 science classrooms with a particular focus on student perceptions and experiences. Bronwen was previously the director of the Centre for Science and Technology Education Research.

Bronwen has worked on a number of large national research projects including the Laptops for teachers evaluation, the Evaluation of Environmental Education in schools and kura, and the Curriculum Stocktake National Schools Sampling Study. She has extensive experience in classroom-based research with years 1 to 10 teachers and students using interviews, observation, the collection of student work and video as a data generation tools. Recently, she was a co-leader of a three year study of interactions around ideas in science and technology primary classrooms. She has just completed the Curriculum Exploratory Studies projects which were joint WMIER/NZCER projects. She is a co-director of the Science Learning Hub, which is a MSI initiative to make New Zealand science accessible to New Zealand teachers via a multimedia web-based resource. 

Research interests

Bronwen's research interests are in assessment for learning, classroom interaction, student voice, the role of ICTs in teachers’ professional lives, and curriculum development and implementation.

Some recent publications include:

Cowie, B., & Hipkins, R. (2014). Mediated conversations: A participatory method for generating rich qualitative data. In SAGE Research Methods Cases (pp. 1-13). London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Chen, J., & Cowie, B. (2014). Scientists talking to students through videos. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 12, 445-465.

Cowie, B., & Khoo, E. (2014). Digital tools disrupting tertiary studentsí notions of disciplinary knowledge: Cases in history and tourism. Education Sciences, 4(1), 87-107. 

Otrell-Cass, K., Khoo, E., & Cowie, B. (2014). Networked environments that create hybrid spaces for learning science. e-Learning and Digital Media, 11(1), 88-104.

Penney, D., & Cowie, B. (2014). Assessment: Power relations, P/political influences, and pedagogical change. In A. S. George, S. Brown, & J. O'Neill (Eds.), Facing the big questions in teaching: Purpose, power and learning. 2nd Edition (pp. 73-80). Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.

Smith, L. F., Hill, M. F., Cowie, B., & Gilmore, A. (2014). Preparing teachers to use the enabling power of assessment. In C. Wyatt-Smith, V. Klenowski, P. Colbert (Eds.) Designing Assessment for Quality Learning (pp. 303-323). Dordrect, Germany: Springer.

Willis, J., & Cowie, B. (2014). Assessment as a Generative Dance: Connecting Teaching, Learning and Curriculum. In C. Wyatt-Smith, V. Klenowski,  & P. Colbert (Eds.) Designing Assessment for Quality Learning (pp. 23-37).  Netherlands: Springer.

Cowie, B., Jones, A., & Otrel-Cass, K. (2010). Re-engaging students in science issues of assessment, funds of knowledge and sites for learning. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9, 347-366.

Cowie, B., & Carr, M. (2009). The consequences of sociocultural assessment. In A. Anning, J. Cullen & M. Fleer (Eds.), Early childhood education: Society and culture (pp. 105-116). London, England: Sage.

Cowie, B. (2005). Pupil commentary on Assessment for Learning. The Curriculum Journal, 16(2), 137-151.

Cowie, B., & Bell, B. (1999). A model of formative assessment in science education. Assessment in Education, 6(1), 101-116. 

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