This report presents the findings of ERO’s recent evaluation of the practices some schools used to support improved achievement for a specific group of Year 12 students.
In Term 3, 2012 Ministry of Education regional staff worked with 16 schools to increase the achievement of some of their students. The schools identified and provided additional support for 311 Year 12 students. These young people were unlikely to achieve National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 by the end of 2012. Subsequently, 189 of the 311 students achieved NCEA level 2 in 2012.
ERO’s report focuses on 13 schools and their useful practices to support achievement. These practices are similar to examples of responsive schooling highlighted by ERO in previous national reports and include:
This report shows how a significant focus on the individual student can make a difference, even in a short period of time.
As well as good practice examples and self-review questions, the report identifies some of the challenges. In particular, the tendency for some schools to focus on gaining NCEA credits at the possible expense of responding to students’ pathways to future education, training and employment.
Students in the target cohort were supported through mentoring by a ‘familiar’ adult. Mentors were carefully selected, with most of the matching done by the principal and a deputy principal. Each mentor was responsible for between one and three students.
Individual plans were drawn up with the students and individual profiles were set up in the student management system, including information on credit accumulation. These profiles were accessible to all staff, and were regularly updated and monitored by the principal and other senior leaders.
The students met fortnightly with their mentor who helped them monitor their progress. The mentors were responsible for checking that the courses were appropriate, offered sufficient credits and had the right balance to support their student’s career aspirations. Discussions were held with parents to build a partnership to support students. Mentors and the Year 12 dean visited the homes of students who had attendance concerns.
Whole-staff expectations were developed and displayed in the staff room. All staff were required to respond to target students’ requests and to record internal NCEA data promptly. A credit scoreboard (without names) was displayed for all staff, showing the number of students, who had achieved a targeted level of credits. Some staff responded to the schools urgency for the target group by providing support classes in the end of Term 3 break. All students in the target group attended these additional classes.