This report presents the findings of ERO’s evaluation of the Ministry of Education’s initiative for secondary schools called Achievement 2013-2017. This initiative is about schools and the Ministry working together to improve student achievement at NCEA Level 2.

A pilot initiative began in 2012 and was expanded in 2013. At the request of the Ministry, ERO looked at how the initiative operated in 30 of the 129 schools in 2013.

Overall we found that many students not likely to achieve NCEA Level 2 in 2013 did achieve success on the back of the Achievement 2013-2017 initiative.

The initiative has helped schools become more responsive to the issues affecting student achievement. Many of the schools we visited said their involvement in the initiative had helped them improve their focus on individual students to get them ‘across the line’.

We saw evidence of the support provided to students. This included identifying those students not likely to achieve NCEA and carefully matching them with a supportive adult who had regular conversations with them about their learning. Students had their progress and achievement closely monitored. Some received extra targeted teaching both during and outside regular school hours.

Schools also reported that attendance had improved and these students were more engaged as a result of the support.

Almost all the schools intended to continue with the effective practices introduced during 2013 and were considering what they could do to improve their support for students.

We believe that the longer term goal for schools must be that these effective strategies become the norm, across the secondary school, for all students from Year 9 onwards.

In this evaluation we discuss the challenges associated with the Achievement 2013-2017 initiative and the overall efforts to improve student achievement. The challenges are all closely linked to how schools review their new practices and look for improvements long-term.

By showing the effective practice of the schools in this evaluation, we hope other schools can apply this knowledge to their own context.

Iona Holsted

Chief Review Officer