Academic Profile : Faculty

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Dr Melvin Chan C. Y.
Assistant Dean, Knowledge Management, OER Education Research
Research Scientist, National Institute of Education - Office of Education Research
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I am a Research Scientist affiliated with the Lifelong Learning, Cognition and Wellbeing research programme. From 2014-2020, I was affiliated with Schools, Leadership and System Studies. I also hold the appointment of Assistant Dean on Knowledge Management where I oversee matters related to research data management practices. From 2014-2019, I served as Managing Editor of NIE's flagship journal, Asia Pacific Journal of Education.

I have been fortunate to have received a balanced interdisciplinary education. My first degree was in psychology. After some years as a social policy analyst, I pursued a Masters degree at the School of Demography, Australian National University, where I explored topics on the characteristics of global population changes. In 2014, I obtained my PhD degree in Education from Nanyang Technological University, titled “Self, identity and agency in reflexive modernization: A case of Singaporean adolescents”.

Between 2014 to 2021, I was awarded several competitive research grants (amounting to over S$1.2m as PI). My primary research focuses on the effectiveness of what works in teaching and learning (e.g., which types of T&L practices are beneficial, which are detrimental, and for which outcomes, how do individual and institutional contexts influence educational opportunity and advancement). Known by many as the NIE Core Research Programme, this repeated cross-sectional research adopts a multilevel and multicohort approach that aims to provide empirical answers to persistent questions about the nature and effects of schooling. I’ve been involved in this programme since its inception and led the last three cycles (2014, 2016, 2018). Hundreds of reports have been disseminated and numerous presentations have been given to practitioners, specialists and government leaders. In these projects, I was the co-designer of the conceptual framework and instrumentation (building on work done by my predecessors) and the lead statistical analyst. One of my proudest contribution was implementing a longitudinal design in the last two cycles. In 2021, I was awarded another grant (Examining educational transitions and pathways in Singapore), which follows the same students into post-secondary as well as collecting new samples from the same population. Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of life course theory and positive psychology, this project integrates two important fields of human development and is possibly the first in pursuing a large-scale panel study relating to lifelong learning, well-being and school-to-work transitions in Singapore.

I have a strong interest in examining processes of teaching and learning, their causes, and consequences. I am also interested in topics on motivation and student engagement. Among the topics that I have been invited to speak on locally and internationally are comparative research on student achievement (using PISA data and Core), instrument measurement and academic motivation. I have a keen interest in working with complex models and am well-versed with a range of statistical methods that include structural equation modeling, multilevel and longitudinal modeling, mixture modeling and Rasch models.
Dr. Chan has a diverse research background in educational psychology, human development and quantitative methodoloy. He is particularly interested in examining individual and institutional contexts and processes (e.g., social class effects, classroom/school compositional effects) and how these factors contribute to student outcomes and future life chances. His recent research on educatoinal transitions and pathways provides the potential to examine not only individual transitions but also longer term trajectories across multple lifestages of learning and living, from school to higher education to work, and from adolescence to emerging adulthood to full adulthood. Beyond fundamental research topics, he has a strong interest in exploring the use of innovative methods of measurement models appropriate to the measures being examined.
  • Core (2018): A Quantitative Study of Teaching and Learning in Singapore Classrooms
  • Creating lifelong learners: Investigating metacognition as support for learning and learning transfer
  • CORE 3 Research Programme: Baseline Investigation of Mother Tongue Pedagogies in Singapore's Primary and Secondary Classrooms (C3MT)
  • Development of a Tool for decision making on subject placement in secondary schools
  • A Follow-up of the Singapore Kindergarten Impact Project (SKIP) Cohort in Middle Childhood: Social-Emotional, Physical, Academic Outcomes and Predictors
  • Paving the Way Towards Lifewide and Lifelong Learning: Exploring and Fostering Metacognition for Learning and Transfer
  • Examining educational transitions and pathways in Singapore: From secondary to post-secondary.
  • Understand characteristics of educational research data management at NIE