Sixty-eight secondary schools, due for an education review in late Term 1 until the end of Term 3, 2011, took part in this evaluation. Information about the sample is included in Appendix 1 of this report.

Data collection

Methods for collecting the data included document analysis, observation of lessons, observations of, and participation in teacher meetings, and interviews with teachers and school leaders.

Criteria and indicators

Review officers used a set of criteria, sourced from ERO’s evaluation indicators,[7] to make judgements about school effectiveness with respect to literacy and mathematics. Criteria were developed to help review officers decide if practice in relation to the evaluation questions was highly effective, partially effective, minimally effective or not effective. These are included in Appendix Two and are also referred to throughout this report.

For a school to be highly effective, all of the criteria for the question were expected to be evident. Where many, but not all of the criteria were present, the school was judged to be partially effective. Where a school was judged to be minimally effective, only a few criteria were evident in their practice. Where none of the criteria were evident, a school was judged to be not effective in relation to that particular evaluation question.