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

Principles of appraisal for learning


This website is intended to contribute to improved outcomes for Māori students through helping users to build better practice. It is underpinned by a set of principles that were identified from research (Sinnema, 2005) and confirmed through exploratory work within schools and kura. These principles are listed and discussed in the table below.



Appraisal focuses on the learning of Māori students.

  • Student learning is the touchstone of any teacher appraisal.
  • Teachers, along with school leaders, understand the learning needs of their Māori students in relationship to outcomes that are described in The New Zealand Curriculum and valued by the students themselves, by their whānau and wider community, and in te ao Māori, te ao Pākehā, and te ao whānui (the wider world).

Appraisal is inquiry-based, interrogating the relationship between teaching and learning.

  • Appraisal seriously examines how teachers’ practice impacts on students’ learning.
  • Rigorous inquiry supports teachers to consider what they need to do to address their Māori students’ learning needs and whether their current practices are supporting their students to achieve the outcomes identified as important.

Appraisal is informed by data.

  • Data is used throughout the appraisal process so that everybody understands how Māori students are doing in relationship to the outcomes valued for their learning.
  • Teachers and school leaders know how to use a range of tools for gathering and analysing information about their Māori students. The data includes information about sociocultural and affective aspects of learning as well as about cognitive outcomes.
  • Teachers and school leaders also know how to organise information to monitor change over time.
  • Engaging with data from multiple points in time helps teachers to examine the effect of changes they have made to their practice on their students.

Appraisal builds knowledge that links to teachers’ professional learning needs.

  • Teachers and school leaders inquire into the relationship between teaching and learning to identify new knowledge and skills that teachers may require to meet their Māori students’ needs.
    • They respond to that information as they set new appraisal goals, consider how to achieve them, and decide how progress towards those goals will be monitored.
  • Appraisal goals and subsequent professional learning programmes address both the learning needs of individual teachers and the shared needs of the wider school community. 
    • They build on the foundation of the knowledge and skills that teachers already have and that they can share with others. 
  • If the necessary expertise is not held within the school community, school leaders look beyond to see where it may lie and how they can access it.

Appraisal is improvement-oriented (for both the appraisee and the appraisal process).

  • The improvement of practice is a fundamental purpose of carrying out appraisal. 
    • While appraisal often highlights issues and problems, the focus on data and evidence ensures that appraisal conversations leave individuals with a sense of optimism about tackling issues together with colleagues to better serve their Māori students.
  • Leaders and appraisers use their experience within appraisal along with school self-review to improve their school’s appraisal processes.

Appraisal emphasises individual responsibility and accountability.

  • While the school has a collective responsibility for Māori students’ learning, appraisal emphasises the influence that each teacher has. 
    • Appraisal ensures that individual teachers are responsible and accountable for the students in their classrooms. 
    • Appraisal for learning means that these teachers also receive the support they need to do better.

Appraisal recognises the importance of school-wide collaboration and collective responsibility.

  • Teachers do not walk alone on their journey; they have time to process their learning with others, including in professional conversations. 
    • Their appraisal goals are connected to those for the school as a whole and monitored alongside them.
  • For leaders, this principle means aligning appraisal with schools’ processes of self-review. 
  • For parents and whānau, it means working in partnership with their children’s teachers. 
  • Sitting beneath it is an ethic of care – a belief that all students are ‘our students’ and we share the responsibility and privilege of supporting them to achieve their potential.

Appraisal is rigorous, providing real opportunities for change and for exploring what works and what doesn’t work.

  • During appraisal teachers and school leaders are honest with each other and build the trusting relationships necessary for deep learning to take place. 
  • There are opportunities to try out different ideas and approaches and see how they affect learning outcomes for Māori students. 
    • Such explorations are still rigorous; difficult issues are addressed and expectations explicitly agreed for Māori students who are not achieving as they need to.

Appraisal is embedded and ongoing.

  • Appraisal is not an annual event completed as a necessary chore, disconnected from what is happening in the classroom. 
  • Appraisal goals are reviewed throughout the year. 
  • Regular observations and discussions within the context of planned professional learning provide information as a basis for appraisal decisions and reports.

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