Appendix 3: Evaluation framework and indicators

In evaluating the quality of Activity Centres, ERO focused on the following questions:

  • How well are students achieving and progressing?
  • How well is the Activity Centre focused on improving educational and social outcomes for each student?
  • To what extent is the Activity Centre part of a cluster-wide plan for supporting students in the Centre?
  • How effectively managed are the processes used in transitioning students to further education, training or employment?

ERO developed a specific set of indicators (see below) outlining quality at an Activity Centre. These indicators were informed by The Toolkit and adapted from indicators used in earlier evaluations. They were originally sourced from the literature on good practice in catering for at-risk students in alternative education settings.

Dimension: Outcomes


Educational outcomes/

Promoting students’ engagement achievement and progress

  • Students show signs of meaningful progress during their time at the centre.
  • Students are engaged and enjoy learning.
  • Students are achieving in national qualifications (age 14 ).
  • Work samples provide evidence that students are achieving.
  • Parents and whānau are satisfied with their child's achievement.
  • High priority is given to achievement in literacy and mathematics.
  • Planning in literacy and mathematics is appropriate for meeting the specific requirements of each student.

Social Outcomes

  • Students are healthy. Any significant social or health issues are addressed through appropriate agencies.

Student engagement

  • Students are engaged in discussions about their learning and learning processes.
  • Students have opportunities to explore their interests and strengths.
  • Students have clear and challenging goals or expectations for learning.
  • Students take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Students state that they enjoy learning and can say how it is relevant to their ongoing achievement and pathways.

Quality of curriculum, planning and assessment

  • Teachers are making use of information about students (e.g. assessment information) to plan, implement and review the curriculum for them.[9]
  • Planning reflects the need to identify and develop the interests and strengths of students.
  • Educational activities include contexts that are authentic and relevant to students.
  • Topics and themes link to situations outside the classroom context and are relevant to students.
  • Students are able to investigate their own questions.
  • Resources are appropriate, accessible and enhance the programme.
  • Classroom activity is engaging and challenging for students.
  • Students receive high quality feedback on their learning.
  • High quality career education and guidance is given with an emphasis on transition to the workplace or further education/training.

Identifying student needs

  • Teachers and leaders use valid and reliable approaches to identify the educational strengths and weaknesses of students.
  • Teachers and leaders have sought and used the student’s point of view with regard to what supports their learning.
  • Teachers and leaders have processes in place for identifying and supporting the needs of students in relation to any physical, sensory, psychological, neurological, behavioural or intellectual impairments.
  • Teachers and leaders have culturally responsive processes to identify and support the needs and aspirations of Māori and Pacific students and their parents and whānau and these are embedded in the curriculum and the tikanga of the Centre.

Sustaining student development and gains

  • Programmes offered to students engage them in learning and in knowing about their pathways to further education, training or employment.
  • There are processes for accessing and maintaining coherent interagency support for students while they are in Activity Centres and after they move on to further education, training or employment.
  • Integrating key competencies (from The New Zealand Curriculum) into the programme.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

  • IEPs have clear goals for learning or development.
  • IEPs explain the processes to be used to support students to reach their goals.
  • IEPs are integrated into the exit transition of the student.
  • IEPs are regularly reviewed and revised in line with student progress and needs.
  • IEPs contain a plan for future education/employment.
  • IEPs contain an understanding of the student’s exit transition and what has to happen to support that transition.
  • IEPs include an indication of what the student wants to achieve in the residence to prepare them for their future education, training or employment.
  • The IEP incorporates the key competencies (of The New Zealand Curriculum).

Pedagogy for at risk students

  • Educational activities involve authentic problems, and are relevant to students.
  • There are non-authoritarian and non-coercive classroom structures where power is shared between the student and teacher, e.g. classroom rule sharing, negotiated outcomes (excellence).
  • Staff support the development of the key competencies (of The New Zealand Curriculum).
  • Staff apply strategies to limit negative behaviour.
  • Topics and themes link to situations outside the classroom context and have some immediate relevance and meaning to them.
  • Students are able to investigate their own questions.
  • Students are able to work together in some situations, discussing ideas, reaching conclusions and teaching each other.
  • Students are taught to evaluate their own learning and are aware of their achievements and next steps.
  • Classroom activities take into account the individual needs of students.
  • There are clear goals and expectations for classroom activity and student work.
  • Staff have high expectations and express these often.
  • Learning is valued by staff and students.
  • There are close relationships between staff and students with adult educators operating as respected leaders and role models.
  • Staff understand and affirm, through their practices and protocols, the cultural backgrounds of the students.
  • Classroom activity is engaging and challenging for students, rather than ‘dumbed-down busy work’.

Pedagogical culture and environment

  • There is a warm, nurturing and safe atmosphere in the Activity Centre.
  • Humour is used to support the development of positive relationships among staff and students.
  • Teachers recognise that previous structures have not worked for these students.
  • Teachers recognise that motivation is likely to be a bigger challenge than ability for many students.
  • Teachers assume that students can succeed and are not fatalistic or judgemental about what a student may bring (socially or culturally) to the classroom.
  • Staff are compassionate, actively listening to students and reflecting their points of view.
  • Students express a sense of security and comfort with the environment.
  • Staff show enthusiasm about making a difference for students.
  • Staff demonstrate the importance of social and pastoral care as a pathway to support the achievement of students.

Numeracy and literacy development

  • Planning in literacy and mathematics is appropriate for meeting the specific requirements of each student.
  • Resources are appropriate, accessible and enhance the programme and are relevant for the diverse identities, languages and cultures of the students.
  • Students are positive about the progress they are making.
  • Students initiate aspects of their own learning.
  • Diagnostic assessments describe each student’s ability in reading (especially in decoding and comprehension), writing and numeracy.
  • A variety of relevant activities are used to support and increase student reading, writing and mathematics knowledge and skills.
  • Oral language strategies are used to support language development.
  • Students receive positive feedback about their work in literacy and mathematics.
  • Progress in mathematics and literacy is recognised and recorded in IEP documentation.

The use of Te Kura programmes

  • Where appropriate, Te Kura staff support students to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve academic goals.


Management and Governance


Transitions in and out of the Activity Centre

  • There are good quality orientation and induction processes in place.
  • Staff focus on building effective relationships with students as they transition into the Activity Centre.
  • Parents are included in the process of finding out about students.
  • Students’ destinations are monitored and recorded.
  • The exit outcomes of students are analysed to inform programme evaluation.
  • Exit transition planning is based on the progress students have made.
  • The exit transition planning details the types of support students will receive for their ongoing learning and development.
  • The exit transition includes clear roles and responsibilities for the student and those supporting the student after they leave the centre.

Leading and Managing

  • School leaders (in the Activity Centre and the enrolling school) use information from a variety of sources (e.g. students’ achievement and progress, feedback from students, parents and whānau, and transition data) to make decisions about provisions for students.
  • School leaders ensure that the curriculum is well designed and that teachers are implementing high quality teaching strategies and interventions for students.
  • Good quality and appropriate professional development is provided for staff (PLD is linked to evidence about what needs to be improved).
  • A robust performance appraisal process has been established that focuses on building the capacity of teachers and leaders.
  • School leaders are responsive to community aspirations, interests and concerns.
  • School leaders provide clear direction for the work and development of the school characterised by:unity of purpose
  • consistency of expectation
  • clear lines of communication.
  • The school’s procedures and practices align with policies and directions.
  • Leaders provide good quality and timely information about the achievement and progress of students.


  • The principal and the board of the host school receive good quality and timely information about the achievement and progress of students.
  • The principal and board understand their role.