English in the New Zealand Curriculum is one of seven curriculum statements covering the essential learning areas of the New Zealand curriculum. Reading is one of the substrands of this curriculum statement. ERO evaluated the quality of teaching of reading at Year 4 and Year 8 during Term 3, 2004.
This study is the fifth in an ongoing series of evaluations by ERO examining the quality of teaching of specific learning areas and skills in alignment with the National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP). NEMP (set up in 1995) assesses student achievement in different curriculum areas and skills on a four-yearly cycle, from a sample drawn from Year 4 and Year 8 in New Zealand schools. ERO’s evaluations focus on the quality of teaching of the learning areas selected by NEMP over the same cycle.
ERO evaluated the quality of teaching of reading from a sample of 112 schools.
ERO found the following examples of good practice.
- Students in most schools had frequent opportunities for learning in reading.
- Most students participate in interesting and challenging reading programmes.
- Many teachers were very knowledgeable about the teaching of reading and provided programmes that met the needs of their students in reading.
- Comprehensive and detailed assessment information on student achievement in reading was gathered by many teachers and analysed to identify their students’ learning needs.
- In most schools, the content of the reading programme was clearly linked to English in the New Zealand Curriculum and had appropriate sequences and coherent progression over time.
- A wide range of appropriate texts was used effectively to enhance reading programmes.
Based on the findings of this evaluation, ERO recommends a focus on the following for continued development:
- supporting teachers of Year 8 students in planning and teaching high quality reading programmes;increasing the use of ICT and electronic media in reading programmes to extend students’ opportunities for problem solving and creative thinking with these tools;
- identifying the learning needs of the diverse range of students within classes and adapting the programme and teaching strategies to meet these needs;
- expanding the opportunities provided to students to evaluate and regulate their own learning; and
- using student achievement information in reading to inform curriculum review and decisions about policies and resources.