Te aromihi pouako e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Getting started with this website

Te hīkoi whakamua me tēnei pae tukutuku

This Ruia website is based on research evidence about teaching and professional development practices that can make a real difference to the achievement of Māori students. It shows how schools can align their appraisal policies and practices to cycles of professional learning that are clearly focused on raising outcomes for Māori students.


Research shows that many schools struggle to integrate appraisal into their policies and practices for improving teaching. However, it also shows that some New Zealand schools are using appraisal successfully to make a real difference for their Māori students.

A common feature of these schools is that they have a strong commitment to self-review. They sort their data in response to the outcomes that their community values, and they respond actively to what their analysis tells them. This website draws on the experience of some of these schools. You can see examples of what these schools are doing in the case studies in this site.

Ruia promotes using an inquiry and knowledge-building cycle, but you may want to start looking at your school’s appraisal practices before you commit to all or part of the cycle. One or more of the suggestions provided here could help you focus on the specific needs and interests that will drive an inquiry.

The list below suggests some starter activities you could use in your school before committing to a more systematic cycle of inquiry that uses this website as a tool for improvement.

Starting with a tool

  • Use the tool Reviewing Appraisal in Your School to assess to what extent your schools’ current appraisal policies align with the principles of appraisal for learning and contribute to improving outcomes for Māori students.
  • Use the appraisal planner to design appraisal processes that are aligned with the principles of appraisal for learning while addressing the realities of your context.

Starting with what successful schools are doing

  • Look at what successful schools are doing in their appraisal processes and practices. Consider to what extent these are present in appraisal in your school. Choose one of the themes and discuss in depth how you might move your school closer towards what successful schools are doing. 
  • Read one of the case studies. Think about which principles of appraisal for learning the case study illustrates. Consider how the ideas or activities that are described might be applied to your context and whether they might help to promote Māori student achievement at your school. For example, several case studies refer to using observation templates. Do you use such templates in your school? How well do they work? What do teachers suggest about how they could be improved to focus more explicitly on their needs and goals and on the community’s priorities for Māori students?

Starting with the principles of appraisal for learning

  • Consider the appraisal policy and practices at your school. Then critically examine the principles of appraisal for learning described in this website. Discuss and record your initial responses to the principles and compare them to what is happening at your school. Next, read the sections on the connections and supporting evidence for these principles, and discuss whether they have had an impact on anyone’s point of view. Identify any issues with your appraisal practices that you would now like to address and start discussing your next steps.
  • Conduct a mini inquiry into one of the principles of appraisal for learning, identifying a related issue in your school and trying something new. For example, to what extent do your current appraisal processes take into account the school community’s goals for Māori students? You could survey the staff to identify how aware of these goals they are.
  • Look at something you have done recently and consider it in relationship to the principles of appraisal for learning. For example, to what extent are decisions about student and teacher learning informed by analysed data about the impact of current teaching and appraisal practices on Māori students? What do you need to do or learn to ensure that appraisal at your school is data-informed?

Starting with focused reflection

  • Start by identifying an issue at your school that is important in raising Māori student achievement and that can be addressed through appraisal. Find a section in this website that will assist, and agree on a process that you can use to inquire into what is happening in your school.
  • Explore the section Appraisal in New Zealand Now. Discuss whether the practices and requirements described are present in your school and whether there are other practices or themes that you would regard as important. As a consequence of this discussion, identify an area where you would like to see change and how you could start that process.
  • Discuss the concepts that underpin the inquiry and knowledge-building cycle and how they relate to the principle of ako. If you have had limited experience in inquiry-based professional learning, read the section Using evidence in inquiry and pull out the key points. Consider whether you need further support in this area.

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