NSB Logo

Douglas Willms

Educator, Canada Research Chair in Literacy & Human Development

Dr. Douglas Willms  is a Professor and Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy at the University of New Brunswick (UNB)/ He holds the Canada Research Chair in Literacy and Human Development. Dr. Willms is a Member of the US National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and President Elect and Fellow of the International Academy of Education.

Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada


Student Engagement: Leading

Student Achievement

Early Years Evaluations

The Learning Bar  

  • Willms’ research will have important implications for educators in Canada and around the world. It seems that every school district in Canada is struggling with how they can increase the number of children that gain the necessary reading skills to succeed at school. The main policy response has been to test children with standardized tests at the end of grades 2, 3 or 4, and to use these trailing indicators in a framework to improve student outcomes. However, this approach is insufficient by itself to reduce childhood vulnerability; teachers and principals also need leading indicators that identify children who need extra help. - Canada Research

Summary Profile

Dr. Willms is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the International Academy of Education, and a Member of the US National Academy of Education.   He has published over two hundred research articles and monographs pertaining to youth literacy, children’s health, the accountability of schooling systems, and the assessment of national reforms. Dr. Willms played a lead role in developing the questionnaires for Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) and the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Dr. Willms is known for his training of new investigators in the analysis of complex multilevel data. He regularly conducts workshops on multilevel modeling across Canada and throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. Dr. Willms’s current interests include the examination of family, school and community factors that contribute to the health and well-being of children and adolescents, and the use of continuous monitoring for evaluating school reforms. His research areas include Childhood Development, Monitoring Systems, Program Evaluation, Research Design, School Effectiveness, Social Policy, Statistical Modelling, and National and International Assessment. He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick with his wife, Ann, and three children, Alison, Maya, and Andrew.