System Studies in Pedagogies and Educational Outcomes

Description of Task Force

This niche area engages in conducting system-level, ecological research into pedagogies in Singapore schools and educational outcomes. Drawing from the Core 1 (2004–2007) and Core 2 (2009–2013) research programmes, the Core research has always taken an ecological-systems approach into understanding the Singapore education system, that is, by examining the complex and inter-related arrangements of factors across all levels of the education system that combine to shape, influence and give meaning and significance to teaching and learning. Specifically, this includes generating empirical and descriptive responses to:

  • classrooms as sites for disciplinary, cognitive and metacognitive learning and growth that stimulates the intellectual, dispositional, social, cultural and ethical demands of contemporary local and global living;
  • schools’ capacities to maximise their intellectual, technological, human, moral and organisational resources as responsive institutions; and
  • systems as distribution sites for economic, social, cultural, intellectual and moral resources.

The Core approach is based on an understanding of the interplays among all of these micro-, meso- and macro-level variables, and seeks to enhance the general educational environment for an entire system – that of the Republic of Singapore – by concentrating professional and research attention on everyday classroom pedagogies. Central aims of this task force are:

  • to investigate what makes the Singapore education system successful yet challenging;
  • to monitor trends in student behaviours and educational outcomes, trends in teacher characteristics (including beliefs, values, knowledge, skills, behaviours),  and understand the relationships between teacher factors, student behaviours and outcomes; and
  • to examine what systemic pedagogical considerations are required to advance Singapore’s education to the next level. This includes examining key aspects of stability of practice, emerging hybridities of teaching and learning, and the nature of systemic change initiatives that attempt to innovate pedagogical practice.

For the past 10 years, two key research questions continue to drive the Core programmes:

  1. What are the factors contributing to success—and challenges—in school learning in key curriculum domains (English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies)?
  2. How can students’ learning in the classroom be enhanced, in what ways and for what purposes?

Such research invariably encompasses a comprehensive range of methods and methodologies in order to examine an education system across different levels, layers and units of analysis. System studies in pedagogies and educational outcomes therefore attempts to develop a coherent, systematic and cumulative suite of studies employing cross-sectional and longitudinal, quantitative and qualitative, theoretically rich and sociologically driven research to provide a rich description of pedagogies and pedagogical change as the central dynamic of educational experience, as well as a redefinition of educational outcomes that extends beyond conventional institutional measures to include alternative forms of assessments, life pathways, and the acquisition of attitudes, values and dispositions that will contribute towards building a concerned and productive citizenry.

In the long term, the Core Research task force hopes to inform educational policy and practice as it seeks to engage in system studies that bridge the micro/meso/macro levels: between inside/outside schools, local/national/global, classroom/school/system.

List of team members:

List of team members' publications related to the research theme:

  • David Hung Wei Loong
    • Hung, D., Lee, S.-S., & Lim, K. Y. T. (2012). Moving forward: key areas for educational research in the Asia Pacific. Asia-Pacific Educational Researcher, 4, 342–346.
    • Hung, D., Lee, S.-S., & Lim, K. Y. T. (2012). Teachers as brokers: Bridging formal and informal learning in the 21st century. KEDI Journal of Educational Policy, 12, 344–356.
    • Lim, K. Y. T., Hung, D., & Huang, J. (2011). Towards a situative view of extending and scaling innovation in education – a case study of the Six Learnings Framework. Educational Review for Policy and Practice, 10(2), 1.
  • Teh Laik Woon
    • Bodine, E., Fuller, B., Gonzalez, M-F., Huerta, L., Naughton, S., Park, S., & Teh, L. W. (2008).  Disparities in charter school resources: The influence of state policy and community.  Journal of Education Policy, 23(1), 1–33.
    • Teh, L. W. (2005, April).  Causal inference and school effectiveness.  Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
    • Teh, L. W., Hogan, D., Dimmock, C. (2013).  Educational Knowledge Mobilisation and Utilisation in Singapore. In B. Levin, J. Qi, & H. Edelstein (Eds.), The impact of research in education: International perspectives on universities and knowledge mobilization. Bristol, UK: The Policy Press.
  • Paul Chua Meng Huat
    • Chua, P. (2006). Looking ahead: Values-based leadership, systems leadership and curriculum leadership.  Paper presented at the N1 Cluster Retreat, Singapore.
    • Chua, P. (2011, March). A comparative study of decision-making by Singaporean and English school leaders. Paper presented at the Asia Leadership Roundtable, Thailand.
    • Chua, P. (2013, June). The relationship between values and ill-structured problem-solving: A pilot study of experienced secondary school principals in Singapore. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore.
  • Dennis Kwek Beng Kiat
    • Cazden, C., Kwek, D., & Comber, B. (2009). Editorial on subject English in bilingual and multilingual settings: Embracing the linguistic other. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 8(2), 1–5. Available at
    • Hogan, D., Kwek, D., Towndrow, P., Rahim, R., Tan, T. K., Yang, H. J., & Chan, M. (2014). Visible learning and the enacted curriculum. In Z. Deng, S. Gopinathan & C. Lee (Eds.), Globalization and the Singapore curriculum: From policy to practice. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
    • Kwek, D. (2012). Weaving as frontload and backend pedagogies: Building repertoires of connected learning. In Day, C. (Ed.), International handbook on teacher and school development (pp. 335–350). London, UK: Routledge.
  • Melvin Chan Chee Yeen
    • Hogan, D., & Chan, M. (2012, September). Instructional tasks, assessment and student achievement in secondary 3 mathematics and English. Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Cadiz, Spain.
    • Hogan, D., Chan, M., Rahim, R., Kwek, D., Khin, M. A., Loo, S. C., Sheng, Y. Z., & Luo, W. S. (2013). Assessment and the logic of instructional practice in secondary 3 English and mathematics classrooms in Singapore. Review of Education, 1(1), 57–106.
    • Hogan, D., Chan M., & Rahim, R. (2012, September). The epistemic and cognitive framing of instructional tasks in secondary 3 mathematics and English. Singapore.
  • Wong Hwei Ming
    • Paris, S. G., Yeung, A., Wong, H. M., & Luo, W. (2011). Global perspectives on education during middle childhood. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, & T. Urdan (Eds.), APA educational psychology handbook: Volume 3 application to learning and teaching. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    • Tan, A. L., & Wong, H. M. (2012). Didn’t get expected answer, rectify it: Teaching science content in an elementary science classroom using hands-on activities. International Journal of Science Education, 34(2), 197–222.
    • Wong, H. M., Hogan, D., & Paris, S. (2013). Final technical report of PERI Project. Singapore.
  • Ridzuan Abdul Rahim
    • Hogan, D., Rahim, R. A., Chan, M., Kwek, D., & Towndrow, P. (2012). Understanding classroom talk in secondary 3 mathematics classes in Singapore. In B. Kaur  (Ed.), Connections, reasoning and communication: New directions in mathematics education. Singapore: Springer.
    • Hogan, D., Rahim, R. A., Chan, M., Towndrow, P., & Kaur, B. (2012). Disciplinarity and the logic of Mathematical tasks in secondary 3 Mathematics lessons in Singapore. In R. Gillies (Ed.), Pedagogy: New developments in the learning sciences. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers. 
    • Rahim, R. A., Hogan, D., & Chan, M. (2012). The epistemic framing of mathematical tasks in secondary 3 Mathematics lessons in Singapore. In B. Kaur (Ed.), Connections, reasoning and communication: New directions in Mathematics education. Singapore: Springer.
  • Lee Yew Jin
    • Lee, Y.-J. (Ed.). (2010). The world of science education: Handbook of research in Asia. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
    • Lee, Y.-J. (2011). More than just story-telling: Cultural-historical activity theory as underutilised methodology for educational change research. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43, 403–424.
    • Lee, Y.-J., & Chue, S. (2013). The value of fidelity of implementation criteria to evaluate school-based science curriculum innovations. International Journal of Science Education, 35, 2508–2537.
  • Luo Wenshu
    • Luo, W. S., Hogan, D., & Paris, S. G. (2011). Predicting Singapore students' achievement goals in their English study: Self-construal and classroom goal structure. Learning and Individual Differences, 21, 526–535. Luo, W. S., Paris, S. G., Hogan, D., & 
    • Luo, Z. (2011). Do performance goals promote learning? A pattern analysis of Singapore students' achievement goals. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 165–176.
  • Steven Tan Boon Seng
    • Tan, S., Shaznay-Sen, N., Hogan, D., Towndrow, P., & Kwek, D. (2013). Case study primary 5 English S3T1. Singapore: Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, Office of Educational Research, National Institute of Education.
    • Tan, S., Shaznay, N., Hogan, D., Towndrow, P., & Kwek D. (2013). Case study secondary 3 literature in English S21T4. Singapore: Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, Office of Education Research, NIE.

List of projects from this research group: