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

Ruia case studies: Examples of the principles in practice


The underpinning principles of appraisal for learning hold true in any context.

However, their implementation will differ according to what is important and of value for the people in a specific school community. While you will need to work with processes and activities that suit your community, adhere to the key principles. The Ruia case studies illustrate this well.

As part of the development process for this website, teachers and leaders at eight schools were interviewed. 

They shared their experiences with appraisal practices that have contributed to supporting Māori students to be successful.

The findings from this exploratory work were grouped into seven themes that showed strong alignment with the principles of appraisal for learning identified from research.

The seven themes are:

You can explore the themes and what successful school are doing in the table below.


What successful schools are doing


  • There is a real belief that Māori students can achieve and ‘graduate’ as citizens. This belief is modelled by leaders and teachers.

Evidence-based inquiry

  • Māori student learning is the touchstone.
  • Inquiry into teaching and learning is the focus. It is embedded and ongoing.
  • School improvement is data driven: at all levels of the school, teachers and leaders use data to identify Māori students’ needs and strengths. They respond to what the data tells them.
  • Teachers aren’t scared of the data: everybody is supported to work with and understand it, and the staff often undertake shared data analysis.
  • The purpose of appraisal is to contribute to the inquiry into teaching and learning. Appraisal is not about compliance.


  • Teachers and leaders believe that teachers can make a difference, and this belief fosters a commitment to grow teachers.


  • Teachers and leaders have a sense of collective responsibility and individual accountability for Māori student outcomes: if students are not succeeding, they will try something different. There is a real drive to ‘step up’.


  • School principals are strong leaders who work with their teachers as leaders of learning.
  • The principals foster distributed leadership among others who have the capacity to lead professional learning (for example, heads of department and syndicate leaders).
  • The leaders know how to support teacher professional learning (for example, how to observe, how to analyse and use data, and how to transfer understandings between contexts and learning areas).
  • The leaders understand the importance of building their own pedagogical content knowledge and that of their teachers.
  • Leaders have high expectations of themselves and their teachers.


  • Appraisal is genuinely rigorous. Leaders and teachers are trained to observe practice and have rich, explicit conversations afterwards.


  • Leaders use recruitment, induction, and professional learning to deliberately build a teaching staff with the expertise, knowledge, and beliefs that will strongly support Māori student learning at the school.

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