Professor James Chapman: New Zealand

James Chapman is Professor of Educational Psychology and International Advisor at the Massey University Institute of Education. He received his M.A. with Distinction in Education from Victoria University of Wellington, and his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Alberta, Canada, specializing in cognitive-motivational factors associated with learning disabilities.

Professor Chapman trained as a secondary school teacher and taught for two years before undertaking doctoral studies in Canada. Following the completion of his PhD, he joined Massey University in 1980, and has held positions as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, and Professor. He served for 8 ½ years as Head of the Department of Learning and Teaching, and 10 years as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Dean) of the College of Education. He has published over 100 journal articles, book chapters and books on learning disabilities, special education, literacy learning difficulties, early literacy development, reading intervention, and self-system factors in academic achievement.

He serves or has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Learning Disability Quarterly, Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, the Asia-Pacific Journal of Development Differences, and the International Journal for Research in Learning Disabilities. Professor Chapman served a 4-year term as President of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, and has been a member of the Executive Board for 20 years. In 1999 he was co-winner of the International Reading Association’s Dina Feitelson Award for Excellence in Research.

He is currently Co-Principal Investigator of a New Zealand Ministry of Education funded longitudinal literacy research project (Enhancing Literacy Learning Outcomes for Year 1 Children) focusing on literacy learning in Year 1 children and professional development for teachers of Year 1 children.

Published June 2015: Excellence and equity in literacy education: the case of New Zealand. W.E. Tunmer & J.W. Chapman (eds.) (June, 2015). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

“Literacy is arguably the most important goal of schooling as, to a large extent, it determines young children’s educational and life chances and is fundamental in achieving social justice. New Zealand’s literacy education programme has long been regarded as one of the world’s most successful approaches to teaching literacy skills to young children. Excellence and Equity in Literacy Education questions this widely held assumption. In the late 1990s the New Zealand government developed a national literacy strategy aimed at reducing persistently large inequities in literacy achievement outcomes. The chapters in this edited volume present evidence indicating that the national literacy strategy has failed, examine the major factors responsible for the continuation of New Zealand’s comparatively wide spread of scores in literacy achievement, and describe the most effective strategies for reducing the literacy achievement gap and achieving excellence and equity in New Zealand literacy education.”