This report is a synthesis of findings from a wide range of evaluations carried out over recent years by the Education Review Office (ERO). As well as undertaking education reviews of schools and early childhood services, ERO produces system-wide evaluative information on significant educational issues, and publishes national evaluation reports on education sector performance and good practice.

Through ERO’s programme of national evaluations, a large amount of information has been accumulated that identifies aspects of effective and less effective teaching, school leadership, and management practices that are impacting on students’ learning. ERO decided to look across a range of recent evaluations to ascertain if there were patterns to the practices, with the purpose of identifying recurring themes that could be potentially addressed in schools, and by the Ministry of Education or other responsible agencies.

ERO has identified three key issues which evidence indicates are acting as impediments to New Zealand schools lifting their practice and, in particular, to raising the achievement levels of priority learners. This report also discusses aspects of practice that have been particularly helpful in raising students’ achievement and fostering their engagement in learning.