This evaluation highlights that many New Zealand schools are not yet demonstrating sufficient commitment to ensuring the progress and achievement of Māori students.

There is some evidence that the quality of teaching for Māori students has improved since 2006. About half of the secondary schools in this study could show improved NCEA results for Māori students since their previous review. In approximately a quarter of primary schools students had improved levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy since the previous ERO review. The quality of achievement data gathered for individual students, including Māori, has improved overall.

Nevertheless, current research information and national and international achievement data continue to show sustained Māori underachievement in education. Despite this well-promulgated evidence, many schools do not yet undertake sufficiently rigorous analysis of student achievement data, or set targets for improved Māori achievement. Many do not implement strategies aimed specifically at making improvements in areas identified, and when strategies are initiated there is limited analysis of outcomes. As a result there are not enough schools where Māori student achievement is comparable to that of non-Māori, or where schools can demonstrate that they are making a difference for these students.

More schools need to do more to promote success for Māori students. They need to:

  • monitor and respond to trends in Māori student attendance and achievement
  • adopt effective classroom and school-wide practices for assessment, analysis of student achievement information, target setting and evaluation of initiatives
  • improve relationships with whānau so that home and school can work in partnership to improve learning
  • build better relationships with Māori students, to help raise the expectations for achievement while also recognising the importance of te ao Māori.

Underpinning these is the importance of good classroom teaching and appropriate pedagogy. In combination with strengthening relationships and seeing value in te reo me nga tikanga Māori there is considerable potential to continue to improve Māori student achievement in New Zealand schools.

These principles underpin Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, the Ministry of Education’s strategy for Māori education. As this review found, many schools have used this document to improve their performance for Māori. However, at this stage all state schools should be well on the way towards implementing this strategy. Those schools that do not yet see the value of building stronger relationships with Māori students and their whānau need to use Ka Hikitia to improve their approach for Māori.

A priority of ERO’s revised methodology for school reviews is an increased focus on schools’ capacity to promote success for Māori. It is to be hoped that this focus will encourage schools to review their own performance in this area. ERO does not consider any school to be high performing unless the school can demonstrate that most of Māori learners are progressing well and succeeding as Māori.