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

Reviewing the impact of changes: What it might look like

This section includes excerpts from case studies on the schools that participated in the Ruia exploratory study. A link to the full case study is provided at the end of each excerpt. In addition, there are excerpts from Rangiātea case studies with links to the Rangiātea website.

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Opotiki College

Opotiki College is a state secondary school in the Bay of Plenty. Over 80 percent of the students are Māori. The school is a participant in the Te Kotahitanga project. The principal, a teacher who is the school’s Te Kotahitanga facilitator, and a parent were interviewed for the Ruia project.

The implementation of Te Kotahitanga and an effective appraisal system, along with the focus on whānau engagement, have all contributed to improved NCEA results. Over the past four years, only six students have left the school without qualifications after four years’ secondary education, with no student doing so in 2010. The percentage of Māori students leaving without qualifications is tracking down, while NCEA level 2 has become the most common leavers’ qualification for Māori, when it had previously been NCEA level 1. This success is described in greater detail in the Rangiātea project’s Opotiki College case study and exemplar.

Read the full Ruia case study.

Randwick School

Randwick School is a decile 3, year 0–8 suburban school with 207 students, of whom nearly half are Māori. The principal, a teacher, and a parent/BOT member asked to be interviewed together for Ruia, reflecting the way they usually work.

During the school’s participation in the LPDP (Literacy Professional Development Project), a range of evidence from classroom observations, student interviews, and student achievement data indicated that the teachers needed to establish writing groups based on the children’s learning needs, just as they did for reading and maths. It took time for teachers at Randwick School to get used to the writing groups, but it wasn’t long before they could see improvements in the students’ writing. The principal believes that this is because the changes were based on strategies that research shows help all students, including Māori, to be successful in their writing.

The appraisal process winds up at the end of each year with a feedback session, where the principal supports each teacher to reflect on their progress against their professional learning goals, to review their students’ achievement in relation to changes in their practice, and to think about what their next focus should be.

The appraisal process at Randwick School is quite formal and structured but also flexible enough to evolve. The members of the school community who were interviewed say that what worked well in one year may not work well in the next, and that they reflect on this and change the process if necessary.

Read the full Ruia case study.

Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awa Kairangi

Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awa Kairangi is a decile 3 kura in Lower Hutt, with students in years 1 to 10. Four people were interviewed for Ruia: the tumuaki (principal), deputy principal, a senior teacher, and a parent.

The tumuaki stated that the most powerful aspect of appraisal at Te Ara Whānui is that it is “rigorous and regular” throughout the year, with routines that are ongoing, embedded, and regularly checked and critiqued. At different stages of appraisal, teachers are asked to reflect on their practice by considering the following questions:

  • How are you adding value to the kura?
  • What is working well? What is not working well? What is the impact? How do you know?
  • How well have you achieved the goals you set at the beginning of the year? What is the effect and impact of this? How do you know?

The belief at the kura is that it is better to keep a check on professional standards in this ongoing way than through a one-off, set time for appraisal each year. Despite the workload this implies, the teacher who was interviewed said that she liked the following aspects of the appraisal process:

  • Staff can negotiate the “what and how” of the process and define the criteria for success.
  • There are regular opportunities to touch base with the professional development co-ordinator.
  • The professional development co-ordinator provides weekly prompts and questions around task and focus areas.

The tumuaki expressed her confidence in the effectiveness of the Whakapiki i te Reo project, explaining that the proficiency tests for kaiako and the practice of tracking a sample of tamariki over three years were providing evidence of its positive impact.

Read the full Ruia case study.

Kakapo College

A Rangiātea project school (The school chose not to use its real name.)

The English department at “Kakapo College” have developed and are implementing a radical new approach to ensuring that their male Māori students experience educational success. The school’s Rangiātea exemplar describes how the English department has monitored the students’ progress in terms of engagement and achievement. This includes monitoring student feedback on their teachers’ performance. The exemplar cites the reflection of a teacher who points out:

Change requires a leap of faith – you are not going to see results quickly, especially with allowing extra time for students to come at it their own way. Time can pass where there isn’t necessarily anything to show for it. It’s about having the confidence that they will keep going and they will get there in the end. Eventually you see the results. For people who may be more traditionally, “I’m the teacher, we do things my way”, this is a different approach and involves a very different way of engaging with the students.

English teacher

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