Director, Assessment and Psychometric Research

Prior to joining us in August 2011, Mike was Associate Director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program at WestEd, a preeminent educational research and development organization in the United States. Highly experienced in running educational research and development projects, he is a recognised leader in the development of innovative ways to assess students in electronic-learning environments.

Let’s get to know our Trans-Pacific leader a little better ...

What do you do in your role?

MT: As Director of Assessment and Psychometric Research, I lead one of the two research divisions at ACER. I provide intellectual leadership for the division, as well as managing the overall direction of the work that is undertaken. This involves working with a talented group of research directors across our core programme areas; Assessment & Reporting, Systemwide Testing and Psychometric Research.

I am also ACER’s lead investigator on the Science of Learning Research Centre, a collaboration with the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne to conduct research in educational neuroscience.

What do you love most about your role?

MT: I love being able to shape the direction of the educational research that ACER engages in so that we help education systems in Australia and around the world to improve learning. I particularly enjoy working with others to problem solve challenges in our work and to come up with creative solutions.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?

MT: The most challenging aspect of my role is striking a balance between day to day management of a large research division that comprises around 70 staff and my connection to educational research in those areas of particular interest to me personally.

HR Helper: As an aside, I must point out that ACER is very lucky to benefit from Mike’s significant expertise and accessible style of leadership.

How did you end up in your current field?

MT: I have worked in the education sector for almost 35 years, starting off in education administration for local authorities in London, England. When I moved to the United States I became interested in the field of educational measurement and pursued a Ph.D. so that I could make a contribution to the field of measuring learning in electronic learning environments. And for the last few years I have been working in Australia, so I have experience in education in three countries.

How would you describe ACER, its culture and its people?

MT: ACER is a stimulating culture to work in as it blends educational research with provision of services to the education field. The people working here are very committed to improving educational outcomes for learners and it feels good to be a part of an organisation with worthy goals.

When you’re not busy enjoying life at ACER, what keeps you occupied? Any hobbies?

MT: In my spare time I enjoy travelling both within Australia and overseas. I love paddling my kayak on Port Philip Bay as well as snorkelling and scuba diving when I can