National report summary

Achievement 2013-2017: Success for students in 2013

This report presents the findings of ERO’s evaluation of the Ministry of Education’s initiative Achievement 2013-2017. This initiative is about schools and the Ministry working together to improve student achievement. In particular, groups of Year 12 students identified as being unlikely to gain NCEA Level 2 without additional support.

In 2013, 2701 students from 129 schools were identified and given additional support by leaders and teachers. Sixty percent of the students achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2013. Leaders also reported that attendance had improved and the students were more engaged as a result of the support.

What did schools do?

Leaders and teachers took effective steps to support the students not likely to achieve NCEA Level 2 by:

  • carefully matching each student with a caring, supportive adult who had regular conversations with them regarding their learning
  • timely monitoring of students’ progress and achievement
  • maximising learning opportunities for students with extra targeted teaching provided both during and outside regular school hours.

These practices encouraged students to take more responsibility for their own learning through helping them gain a better understanding of what they needed to do to achieve success.

A few schools actively fostered family and whānau support with some schools using texting to maintain regular contact with parents and whānau.

What needs to happen now?

Although almost all schools intended to continue with the effective practices introduced during 2013, they had not formally reviewed the impact of new practices.

When discussing their approaches with ERO, school leaders informally identified the need to focus on:

  • strengthening the sustainability of their approach by providing targeted support for a larger group of students from a wider range of staff.
  • developing partnerships with parents and whānau to ensure better teamwork and coordination between home and school
  • reviewing how effectively the school’s curriculum meets students’ needs, interests and aspirations
  • raising staff and student expectations for achievement
  • providing ongoing Professional Learning Development that supports teachers to actively monitor students’ progress and provide targeted teaching in all classrooms.

Schools should undertake more formal self review to identify what worked for their students. Findings from such self review should help schools explore how they could apply their new successful practices to improve curriculum initiatives, pastoral care processes and careers education for all students.

ERO recommended that the Ministry develop and introduce a self-review framework for schools taking part in Achievement 2013-2017.

Self-review questions schools could use

  • Which students at our school require additional support? Who are these students and what support do they need? Do we currently provide that support?
  • What processes exist at our school to identify and support individual learners who need support? How well do the academic, pastoral and careers aspects of our school work together for each of these students?
  • Do we have systems in place to respond quickly and effectively to students whose attendance, behaviour and/or learning means they are not likely to achieve the qualifications needed for their future success?
  • Do our students have access to a staff member who works as a mentor, provides direct support and is able to broker opportunities to gain NCEA credits?
  • Do students receive regular, specific and constructive oral and written feedback about what they have successfully achieved and what they need to work on next?
  • How easily can our teachers identify how many NCEA credits have been achieved by a student across each of their subjects and overall?
  • How well do our teaching staff follow the school’s systems to enter attendance and achievement data in a timely manner?
  • What processes do we have in place to identify and support students if they fall behind on NCEA assessments?
  • Is information about students’ progress and achievement shared and discussed by all their teachers?
  • Do we provide our students’ parents with clear information about programme choices, qualifications requirements and career pathways?
  • Do the parents of our students understand the pathways and goals of their teenager? How effective are the systems we use to tell parents about their teenager’s progress and involve them in processes to support student success?
  • Do we seek student voice as part of our regular self-review processes? Would our students say that their teachers never give up on them.
  • How responsive is our school’s curriculum to students, parents and whānau aspirations?
  • How well is our school focused on improving its responsiveness to students across academic, pastoral and career domains?
  • How well do our Māori and Pacific students achieve? What is needed to significantly improve the curriculum for individual Māori and Pacific students at our school now? What school-wide strategies might be needed to improve our responsiveness for groups such as Māori students and Pacific students?
  • How well prepared are our school leavers? What information does our school have about the destinations of its leavers? How well prepared were they for their pathways from school? What can our school do to better prepare future school leavers?