This report is part of a series ERO is publishing over three years about the implementation of National Standards in English-medium schools, with students in Years 1 to 8. Reports to date are:

  • Working with the National Standards within The New Zealand Curriculum, August 2010
  • Working with the National Standards: ERO’s interim findings for Term 3, 2010, November 2010
  • Working with the National Standards: Raising Student Achievement in Reading, Writing and Mathematics, March 2011.

The National Standards came into effect in 2010 for English-medium schools with Years 1 to 8 students. The standards sit within The New Zealand Curriculum and are descriptions or signposts of what learners in Years 1 to 8 should know and be able to do in reading, writing and mathematics at different points in their schooling. The standards describe the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to fully access and meet the demands of The New Zealand Curriculum across all learning areas. Information about student achievement related to the standards will help schools and the Ministry target assistance to priority learners and raise achievement for all students.

In this evaluation, ERO investigated the extent to which:

  • trustees were working with the National Standards in their governance role
  • school leaders and teachers were working with the National Standards as part of the school’s curriculum and assessment processes
  • the school was working with the National Standards to raise student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Schools were expected to set targets in their 2011 charters that would enable them to outline in their 2012 annual report: [1]

  • the numbers and proportions of students at, above, below or well below the standards, including by Māori, Pasifika and by gender (where this does not breach an individual’s privacy)
  • how students are progressing and achieving against the standards.

ERO was particularly interested in the information boards of trustees were receiving about students’ progress and achievement related to the National Standards, how this information was being used to set targets and how teachers were responding to these targets in their teaching.

Data was gathered for this evaluation in Terms 1, 2 and 3, 2011. The Ministry of Education’s timelines for setting and submitting targets meant schools that ERO reviewed early in 2011 were not expected to have finalised or submitted their targets. ERO took account of this in its reviews. By the end of the data collection period for this evaluation, all schools were expected to have submitted their targets related to the National Standards to the Ministry.

The National Administration Guidelines (NAGs) require schools to report to parents about their child’s progress and achievement related to the National Standards. From February 2010, schools have been required to report to parents in writing, in plain language, and at least twice a year, about how their child is progressing and achieving in relation to the reading, writing, and mathematics standards. The mid-year report is expected to focus on progress towards meeting the standards, with the end-of-year report focused on the summary of individual student’s progress and achievement against the standards. ERO investigated whether schools had provided parents and whānau with two plain language reports in 2010 about their child’s progress and achievement against the National Standards.