9 July 2012
A report released today by the Education Review Office shows that secondary schools in New Zealand are gathering limited performance information about their years 9 and 10 students, and the information they do collect is not well used to help students’ progress.
The findings of the report, Literacy and Mathematics in Years 9 and 10: Using Achievement Information to Promote Success, are based on 68 secondary schools reviewed in 2011.
Dr Graham Stoop, Chief Review Officer for the Education Review Office, says that years 9 and 10 seem to have become the ‘forgotten years’ for assessing students’ progress and feeding this information into classroom programmes.
The report found that in many schools years 9 and 10 students were taught a predetermined curriculum in literacy and mathematics that took no account of their individual strengths and needs.
“Our report shows that, generally, limited information was gathered throughout the year to tell teachers how well their students were achieving and progressing in years 9 and 10. Very few schools were actually setting improvement targets for these students, with boards of trustees typically in the dark about the achievement of this group of students,” he says.
The ERO report sought to answer the question: ‘How effectively do schools use literacy and mathematics achievement information to improve learning for years 9 and 10 students?’
“The straight answer to that question is that at present they are not very effective. Many schools in the evaluation didn’t have well-established processes for using assessment information to help students learn. These are the foundation years for secondary schooling and it’s vital that schools get it right for these students,” says Dr Stoop.
ERO found that just seven percent of schools had highly effective processes for knowing about students’ achievement and progress in years 9 and 10. Most schools (57 percent) had partially effective processes; and 36 percent had minimally effective or not effective processes.
Overall, the report notes that there are improvements needed in three areas by most secondary schools for years 9 and 10 students: using achievement information well; planning to improve outcomes for priority students; and building learning partnerships with students.
ER0 makes several recommendations including that school leaders and teachers give greater priority to creating the right conditions for students to achieve success in literacy and mathematics. This includes setting and monitoring targets for students whose progress in literacy and mathematics needs accelerating.
It also recommends that the Ministry of Education clarifies for schools the expectations for monitoring student progress at years 9 and 10, and provides professional development and resources to help teachers in this area.
The report includes examples of good practice to guide schools for improving their practice.