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Peggy Kern

Dr Peggy Kern is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education. Originally trained in social, personality, and developmental psychology, Dr Kern received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Arizona State University, a Masters and PhD in social/personality psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. Her research is collaborative in nature and draws on a variety of methodologies and interdisciplinary perspectives to examine questions around who flourishes in life and why. More specifically, her research focuses on several related areas: (a) understanding and measuring healthy functioning, (b) evaluating sophisticated theories of psychosocial processes underlying health over time, (c) big data approaches to psychological study, and (d) whole school approaches to wellbeing.   

Title of Session: Wellbeing Measurement in Schools: Practical Approaches and Problematic Aspects


Synopsis: There is growing interest in identifying strategies for building wellbeing in schools, ranging from single interventions within a classroom to carefully designed whole school approaches to change. But how do we know whether such strategies are helping to increase the wellbeing of students? At times, even the best of efforts become misguided, such that we emphasise things that seem like a good idea at the time, but in reality are not.


Measurement and evaluation play an important role in understanding the wellbeing of the educational community, monitoring change over time, and identifying which programmes and practices are more or less effective. A growing range of tools and approaches are available. However, measurement also brings numerous challenges, which if not addressed, can undermine any added value of measurement. Through real life examples, Dr Kern will illustrate a variety of approaches to wellbeing measurement, as well as identify issues and challenges to consider.

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