The methodology for this investigation is grounded in the Raising achievement in primary schools methodology as described in this section. ERO’s Education Review reports for the schools in the sample were also analysed to investigate the factors that influenced school effectiveness.
ERO evaluated the extent to which schools had undertaken deliberate actions that led to more students achieving at or above National Standards. ERO’s judgement was based on the:
ERO focused on individual student’s accelerated progress, rather than the overall increase in the proportion of students achieving at a school. Improvement in the progress of individual students contributes to the overall goal of all students achieving.
The evaluation considered both short and long‑term acceleration. Progress was considered accelerated when a student’s achievement moved from well below to below, at or above a national standard, or from below to at or above. This meant the student made more than one year’s progress over a year.
Progress was also considered accelerated when a student’s progress was noticeably faster than might otherwise have been expected from their own past learning when using norm-referenced tools that assessed the breadth of reading, writing or mathematics. It needed to be faster than classmates progressing at expected rates. These considerations acknowledged the need for equitable outcomes, and took into account acceleration over less than one year.
If leaders and teachers do not know how they have accelerated some students’ progress, they will not be able to apply this knowledge to scale up, spread and extend their reach to more students. The investigation considered deliberateness in teacher and leader actions to improve outcomes and evaluate impact. It also considered depth of teacher and leader knowledge about particular students’ learning, interests and needs, and about curriculum progression to know what and how to teach so students’ learning progressed at expected or accelerated rates.
ERO evaluated schools’ capability to do something different for students achieving below expectation. The initial questions focused on the best practice in each school. This provided a strength-based framework for reporting the findings.
In schools that had taken deliberate actions and improved student outcomes, ERO explored the triggers for the particular group of students the school identified and the deliberate actions they took. Some schools used ALiM or ALL examples. ERO also evaluated how each school sustained the focus on improving outcomes for students achieving below or well below year group expectation. The investigative questions for schools that had an innovative response to underachievement were:
In schools that had a more‑of‑the‑same response to underachievement, ERO explored the following:
The framework in Figure 1 highlights these questions. The evaluation prompts are in Appendix 1of the main report. This framework was also used to describe the findings.
Ninety-three schools reviewed in Terms 2 and 3, 2013 had participated in Accelerating Learning in Mathematics (ALiM), Accelerating Literacy Learning (ALL) or Mathematics Support Teacher (MST).
Some schools had been involved in an initiative more than once and some had been involved in more than one initiative. Twenty-one schools had participated in both ALiM and ALL and five of these schools had participated in ALL twice. Most schools were involved in ALiM or ALL in 2012 or 2013. The difference in numbers between these two programmes for these years was the schools that accessed MST support.
The complexity of school involvement is shown in Figures 2 and 3. Over the years the initiatives have been evaluated by the Ministry and there have been considerable changes to the design and implementation. For example, from 2013 schools are expected to undergo two cycles of inquiry.
Figure 2: Number of times schools have participated
Figure 3: Number of schools participating each year
Information about the types of schools, roll size, school locality (urban or rural), and decile range is in Appendix 1.