ERO evaluated the extent to which schools had undertaken deliberate actions that led to an increase in the number of students achieving at or above national standards. The evaluation involved 193 schools undergoing an education review in Terms 2 and 3, 2013. These schools were using The New Zealand Curriculum and the national standards. The types of schools, roll size, school locality (urban or rural), and decile range are shown in Appendix 1.
ERO’s judgement was based on the:
ERO focused on the accelerated progress of individual students, rather than the overall increase in the proportion of students achieving at a school. Improvement in the progress of an individual’s achievement contributes to the overall goal of all students achieving.
The investigation considered both short‑ and long‑term acceleration of progress. Progress was considered to be accelerated when the student’s achievement moved from well below to below, at or above a national standard, or from below to at or above. This meant the student made more than one year’s progress over a year.
Progress was also considered to be accelerated when the student’s progress was noticeably faster than might otherwise have been expected from their own past learning when using norm-referenced tools that assessed the breadth of reading, writing or mathematics. It needed to be faster progress than classmates progressing at expected rates. This acknowledged the need for equitable outcomes, and took into account acceleration over less than one year.
If leaders and teachers do not know what they have done to accelerate some students’ progress they will not be able to apply this knowledge to scale up, spread and extend their reach to more students. The investigation considered deliberateness in teacher and leader actions to improve outcomes and to evaluate impact. It also considered teacher and leader depth of knowledge about particular students’ learning, interests and needs, and about curriculum progression to know what and how to teach so students’ learning progressed at expected rates.
ERO evaluated schools’ capability to do something different for students achieving below expectation. In schools that had taken deliberate actions and improved student outcomes, ERO explored the triggers for the particular group of students the school identified. ERO also evaluated how the school sustained the focus on improving outcomes for students achieving below or well below year group expectation.
The investigative questions for the schools that had an innovative response to underachievement were:
In schools that had a more‑of‑the‑same response to underachievement, ERO explored the following:
The framework below highlights these questions. The evaluation prompts are in Appendix 2.