Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.
It is very timely that, at the start of our school year, the OECD has released its report into New Zealand’s evaluation and assessment methods for schools. The report is one of 24 reviews being conducted on countries worldwide by the OECD.
The report’s authors make some very interesting comments and I urge you to read the report, particularly chapter five which focuses on school evaluation. In general, it shows that New Zealand is leading the world with its emphasis on schools undertaking reviews of their own performance. In fact, New Zealand is ahead of most other countries in using a collaborative approach to school evaluation where we complement a school’s own self reviews with regular external reviews conducted by ERO.
It is good to have this recognition from an international organisation like the OECD, and shows we are on the right track in evaluating and supporting schools.
As well as highlighting strengths in evaluation the report also identified challenges for ERO, including how to balance the accountability and improvement aspects of our role in evaluating schools. This is an ongoing challenge. On the one hand we are reviewing schools to provide the Government with assurance of quality, whilst on the other hand we are doing our best to help them make improvements. This will always be an area of tension and a work in progress.
Success for Māori – new National Evaluation Topic
ERO is committed to helping lift achievement for priority groups of learners. As part of this, ERO considers Māori students to be a priority group, and Māori educational success as Māori to be a key indicator of school success.
From the beginning of term two we will be gathering information during reviews for the new National Evaluation Topic about Success for Māori. This topic will be looking at how effectively schools promote Māori student success and success as Māori.
If your school or kura is having a review this year, ERO’s review coordinators will talk to you about what is involved for this new topic, and help prepare you for the review. ERO suggests that as a starting point for a review that each school reflects on what it knows about Māori students and tells its own story about what it has done to promote their success. Detailed information will be provided by the review coordinator who will be happy to answer any questions you have.
ERO will identify areas of strength and areas for review in relation to this topic. Information gathered in the reviews will also contribute to our national reports about Māori student success. These reports will provide case studies of success and be available as a resource for all schools and contribute to policy development.
New methodology for 4-5 year reviews
The new Arotake Paehiranga (4-5 year review) methodology is being piloted by ERO this year with a small number of schools across the country. This pilot will help us gauge the effectiveness of the review process so that it can be refined for the roll-out in 2013. The key principles of these reviews will be the same as all other ERO school reviews. They will be tailored on the basis of the school’s self-review information and capability.
Schools in the pilot will be offered support to help develop and present self-review information which may focus on innovation, strategies or practices that demonstrate how their school is improving the learning and achievement of students, particularly its priority groups of learners. We expect that there will be a particular focus on students who have been traditionally underserved by the education system. Pilot schools will be offered the opportunity to network with other pilot schools to share information.
Meetings with groups
ERO managers are always pleased to speak to boards of trustees, school staff and others. Please send us an invitation and we will find a time to suit. We also meet with national education sector groups and are currently setting up our annual programme of liaison meetings where we informally discuss a wide range of topics.
We hope that through our reviews, presentations and meetings we will get the opportunity to meet many of you and have useful discussions about education in New Zealand.
Nāku noa, nā
Chief Review Officer
Ko te Tamaiti te Pūtake o te Kaupapa – The Child, the Heart of the Matter