Introduction

The ERO report Raising achievement in primary schools (June 2014) presented findings about how well schools were undertaking deliberate actions that increased the number of students achieving at or above the National Standards’ expectations for their year group. The findings were based on 193 schools with Years 1 to 8 students reviewed in Term 2 and 3, 2013. ERO was particularly interested in schools’ responses to raising achievement for Māori and Pacific students, who are over‑represented in the groups ‘below’ and ‘well below’ National Standards.

Two components informed ERO’s judgement about each school:

  • the first was the extent to which the school increased the proportion of students achieving at or above National Standards for their cohort
  • the second was the deliberateness of the school’s actions.

A key finding from the report was that leaders in the most effectiveschools knew how to design and implement an improvement plan that enabled more students to achieve better results with less inequity across the school population. These plans were coherent ‘living documents’ that were adapted in response to outcomes. The plans included:

  • a clearly articulated reason for the urgency and need to improve outcomes for particular groups of students
  • active and relentless use of student progress and achievement information to monitor individual student’s progress, evaluate the impact of decisions and adapt responses
  • reporting progress and achievement to parents, boards of trustees, and the Ministry
  • short-term remedial responses to student achievement that included using highly effective teachers to provide supplementary support to complement classroom learning
  • actively involving students, and their parents and whānau, in designing and implementing learning plans and reviewing progress
  • longer-term strategic responses to prevent student underachievement by building teacher and leader capability in:
    • using learning progressions and developing an engaging and worthwhile curriculum
    • using assessment and evaluation information to know what works, when and why for different students
    • working as teams, which include students, their parents and whānau, and other professionals, to support all students to achieve at expected levels.

This ERO report needs to be read alongside Raising achievement in primary schools (June 2014). It explores the 93 schools that participated in some aspect of ALiM and ALL from 2010 to early 2013 and were part of the original ERO evaluation in Terms 2 and 3, 2013.

The Ministry‑funded Accelerating Learning in Maths (ALiM), Mathematics Support Teacher (MST) and Accelerating Literacy Learning (ALL), were intended to help schools use their expertise to undertake a short-term inquiry focused on accelerating progress of a group of students who were underachieving. It was also for schools to develop a long-term school improvement plan.[4]