Adrienne Alton-Lee

Research Projects

04 Dec 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingPedagogy

Invited paper for the International Bureau of Education - UNESCO Project: Rethinking and repositioning curriculum in the 21st century: A global paradigm shift. Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education, Wellington: New Zealand.

24 Nov 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: EvaluationSecondary EducationPolicyMāori

This report analyses the impact of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 on Māori student achievement and wellbeing and explores the design and implementation features that enabled such accelerated improvement.

It has implications for policy makers, teachers, middle and senior leaders, principals, providers of  professional learning, communities, Boards of Trustees, Ministry of Education staff and other government agencies.

"[An] excellent  report", "as New Zealand moves forward with Ka Hikitia, I would hope that ... the data reported in Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5, 2010-12 will be considered  carefully" - Quality Assurance by Christine Sleeter, California State University.

25 Jan 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: Literature reviewResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersGender

The material in this report is drawn directly from an earlier, much larger report, Explaining and Addressing Gender Differences in the Compulsory School Sector: A Literature Review by Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee and Dr Angelique Praat. The aim of the earlier report, which was released in July 2000, was to:

  • review the available literature relating to identifying and explaining gender differences
  • describe strategies used to address gender differences
  • and report available evidence of the effectiveness of those strategies

The present report presents selected research examples and ideas from the main report and provides practical insights into issues of gender for teachers in the classroom.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchSchoolsPolicy

The BES exemplars are a series of publications that make transparent the nature of:

  • highly effective teaching
  • professional learning and development
  • educational leadership
  • educationally powerful connections with families whānau, and
  • communities that support such teaching.

They were created in response to requests from new Zealand teachers and principals for real-life examples. Wherever possible, the exemplars are derived, from research and development carried out in New Zealand schools and kura

This exemplar, ‘Developing communities of mathematical inquiry’, illustrates how two teachers developed teaching practices that proved highly effective for diverse learners. The teachers were working with year 4 to 6 students, most of whom were Māori or Pasifika. However, the pedagogy that accelerated the mathematics achievement of these students has implications for all students in primary, intermediate, and lower secondary school.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: Education & TrainingTeachersSchoolsLeadershipLanguage

The BES exemplars are a series of publications that make transparent the nature of:

  • highly effective teaching
  • professional learning and development
  • educational leadership
  • educationally powerful connections with families whānau, and
  • communities that support such teaching.

They were created in response to requests from new Zealand teachers and principals for real-life examples. Wherever possible, the exemplars are derived, from research and development carried out in New Zealand schools and kura

BES Exemplar 2, ‘Ripene Āwhina ki te Pānui Pukapuka’ (RĀPP), describes a Māori-led intervention that has proven highly effective in raising reading and reading comprehension levels of students in Māori-medium settings. The intervention involves students listening to recorded te reo Māori as they read accompanying text. The success of the approach stems from its refinement over a long cyclical process of innovative research and development. The intervention has exciting potential to also support and normalise learning in te reo Māori for students, teachers, and whānau in English-medium settings.

The BES exemplars are intended to open up possibilities for working ‘smarter rather than harder’ in education. RĀPP provides a way to accelerate student achievement in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori (the National Standards for Māori-medium education settings) while supporting a range of other valued outcomes.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchTeachersSchoolsLeadership

The BES exemplars are a series of publications that make transparent the nature of:

  • highly effective teaching
  • professional learning and development
  • educational leadership
  • educationally powerful connections with families whānau, and
  • communities that support such teaching.

They were created in response to requests from new Zealand teachers and principals for real-life examples. Wherever possible, the exemplars are derived, from research and development carried out in New Zealand schools and kura

BES Exemplar 3, ‘Teacher and student use of learning goals’, explains how student progress can be accelerated when teachers are supported to attend to learning goals. The exemplar illustrates the connection between the effective use of goals and effective feedback for students.

The context for this exemplar is primary school writing, but secondary teachers who have assisted with its development have also found it useful. Both primary and secondary teachers have commented that it could be used to help strengthen teaching across the curriculum.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsLeadership

The BES exemplars are a series of publications that make transparent the nature of:

  • highly effective teaching
  • professional learning and development
  • educational leadership
  • educationally powerful connections with families whānau, and
  • communities that support such teaching.

They were created in response to requests from new Zealand teachers and principals for real-life examples. Wherever possible, the exemplars are derived, from research and development carried out in New Zealand schools and kura

BES Exemplar 4, ‘Reciprocal teaching’ illustrates a teaching approach that builds thinking skills and accelerates reading comprehension, resulting in significant improvements within a relatively short period of time. The approach also trains students to collaborate in their learning.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchTeachersSchoolsLeadership

The BES exemplars are a series of publications that make transparent the nature of:

  • highly effective teaching
  • professional learning and development
  • educational leadership
  • educationally powerful connections with families whānau, and
  • communities that support such teaching.

They were created in response to requests from new Zealand teachers and principals for real-life examples. Wherever possible, the exemplars are derived, from research and development carried out in New Zealand schools and kura

BES Exemplar 5 describes how a teacher used feedback logs with a class of senior secondary students and how this approach strengthened student–teacher communications and accelerated learning. The proportion of students in her class not achieving the relevant NCEA Level 1 standards at the end of the year was less than half that of comparison groups, while the proportions gaining achieved, merit and excellence were correspondingly greater.

The context for this exemplar is year 11 English, but teachers who have assisted with the exemplar’s development have found the approach it describes useful for improving feedback processes in other curriculum areas. Furthermore, across the best evidence syntheses, learning logs and thinking books of various kinds have been found to accelerate the progress of learners from different year levels and in different curriculum areas.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaPolicyChildrenMāori

This presentation by the Chief Education Advisor, Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme to the Te Kotahitanga conference explains the strategy and approaches of the BES programme, linking it to the Te Kotahitanga programme, and the importance of Research and Development principles for improving outcomes for Māori Students.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsLeadershipPolicyInnovation

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has commissioned a best evidence synthesis iteration (BES) that identifies the characteristics of teacher professional development that make a positive difference for valued student outcomes. A forthcoming educational leadership best evidence synthesis iteration (BES) reveals that when school leaders promote and/or participate in effective teacher professional learning and development, this has more impact on student achievement than any other leadership activity. This presentation explores the implications of this evidence for policy and higher education. The focus is on the need to create the systemic infrastructure and conditions for effective and innovative teacher education underpinned by research and development.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: International ResearchResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsLeadershipPolicyChildrenYouth

To better accomplish desired local, national and global outcomes within and across our communities, we need to build capacity for systemic learning and sustainable educational development. Educational development denotes not only improvement resulting in enhanced outcomes for all learners but also transformation as education anticipates and responds to futures challenges.

I advance the case for a multi-level learning agenda in education: an agenda for policy learning, research learning, and educator learning – an agenda in which education systems and their communities better learn from each other in the interests of children. The touchstone for this agenda lies in the links between educational practices and desired educational outcomes for diverse learners. I propose that the systemic engine for such an agenda is strategic and collaborative (use of, and iterative contribution to) research and development in education.

This vision is of education valuing and building upon, but moving beyond, its craft practice roots, and its ‘rediscovering the wheel’ history. The goal is not one of tired educators negotiating rapidly changing policies and fads, and working harder to produce a more efficient education system for new demands of knowledge societies. The vision is of shared knowledge about what works and why in local contexts as a valued, dynamic and transformational resource enabling an education system to renew and sustain itself. A stronger and renewing evidence base about what works offers value for money, value for educator time, and value for learners. The energy for such a vision comes from the synergies and rewards of educational development that genuinely makes a much bigger positive difference not only for children and young people but also for leaders, educators, families and wider communities.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: International ResearchResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsLeadershipPolicy

The Iterative BES Programme has been one of a number of case studies considered in a series of OECD meetings focussed on evidence-based policy research. This paper builds upon two earlier papers prepared for OECD meetings describing the rationale for the programme and its brokerage role across policy, research and practice. The first paper in the series was for the 2004 joint OECD/United States Evidence Based Policy Research Conference. In that initial paper, because of the marked differences between our approach and federal US approaches, considerable attention was given to the rationale for our realist and fit-for-purpose methodological approach to synthesising bodies of evidence. That paper explained for BES development: the importance afforded local context, the rigorous pluralist approach, the search for theoretical coherence, and the use of a ‘jigsaw methodology’ to synthesise research that provides credible evidence about influences on a range of desired outcomes for diverse learners (the what, what magnitude of impact, under what conditions, for whom, why, and how).

The second paper prepared for the 2005 joint OECD/Netherlands Evidence Based Policy Research [EBPR2] Conference – Linking Evidence to Practice, focussed on the model and role of the Iterative BES Programme as a brokerage agency for evidence-based policy research across policy, research and practice.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: International ResearchResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaPolicy

I have been asked by the organisers of the joint OECD/Netherlands Evidence Based Policy Research [EBPR1] Conference – Linking Evidence to Practice, to focus on the model and role of the Iterative BES Programme as a brokerage agency for evidence-based policy research, and to examine its strengths and weaknesses.

This paper builds upon a paper presented to the 2004 joint OECD/US Evidence Based Policy Research Conference. In that paper considerable attention was given to the rationale for our realist and fit-for-purpose methodological approach to synthesising bodies of evidence. That paper explained for BES development: the importance afforded local context, the rigorous pluralist approach, the search for theoretical coherence, and the use of a ‘jigsaw methodology’ to synthesise research that provides credible evidence about influences on a range of desired outcomes for diverse learners (the what, what magnitude of impact, under what conditions, for whom, why, and how).

I begin this paper by briefly focussing on current national and global educational challenges. I also provide some background about R & D as a system lever to foreground the role of BES as a tool to support sustainable development. Then I explain how the Iterative BES Programme is a collaborative approach led from a national policy agency. I explain the nature of the engagement with and amongst: researchers and teacher educators, teachers, educational leaders, policy workers and policy makers, and the brokerage role of the Iterative BES Programme. I attend to weaknesses and strengths inherent in the work and to lessons we are learning as we engage in this work. The process of identifying weaknesses in the work has been a deliberate, pro-active and ongoing tool to strengthen this cumulative knowledge building approach and particular attention is given to the ‘iterative approach’ in this paper. The emphasis of this paper is on the Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme as a collaborative strategy to stimulate and optimise the potential of R & D for sustainable educational improvement in New Zealand.

The Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme was only formally established in late 2003. To date our thinking about ‘use’ of evidence is that it has its seeds in the synthesis development process rather than following in some linear way. Thinking about use of evidence should be fundamentally informed by an evidence-based approach to sustainable educational development. This paper explains how work-in-progress on educational change processes and interaction amongst policy workers, researchers, educators and educational leaders is informing ‘use’.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaPolicyMāoriPacific People

This is a keynote address to the Australian Curriculum Studies Association Forum "Quality teachers: Quality teaching - Creating a new agenda for action by practitioners, researchers and policy makers". It takes place in the context of creating a shared, new agenda for action in education. It begins with a 'flying tour' of New Zealand schools; using case examples to explore what good practice can mean, and how research in education can create important lessons for teachers. It then explores the other studies in the "Quality Teaching for Diverse Students" BES. The conclusions from these varied studies are;

  • The importance of building a 'shared resource' of research;
  • Bringing this  work together in a useful way;
  • The richness of the 'R&D Resource';
  • How evidence should be presented to teachers;
  • The potential for BES to work to improve Māori and Pasifika outcomes;
  • The overarching principle of evidence-based teacher practice
18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingTeachersSchoolsPolicy

This paper explores the challenge of mobilising research to inform ongoing improvement in valued outcomes for diverse (all) learners across school systems. The context is an innovative approach to brokering collaborative knowledge-building and use across educational policy, research, and practice communities in a jurisdiction of 2559 schools. The focus of this paper is on the use of three research resources as tools for knowledge mobilisation: best evidence syntheses (BES) on effective educational leadership, professional learning and development, and teaching; an inquiry and knowledge-building tool for improvement across a system, and BES exemplars of high-impact pedagogies. Such exemplars illuminate approaches that simultaneously advance multiple valued outcomes for diverse (all) learners including academic, social, and self-regulatory outcomes, a focus that goes directly to the potential for research evidence to advance the public good. The paper highlights how leverage has been and could be created for opportunities for improvement and identifies challenges that need to be addressed to support ongoing improvement at a systemic level. The paper is explicit about public good imperatives that require more deliberate action for accelerated improvement, especially in times of global economic and fiscal crisis. The paper calls for strategic investment in high-impact, collaborative research and development to:

  • leverage and develop capability for accelerated improvement for those underserved by schooling;
  • create an engine to drive disciplined innovation;
  • ensure that policy reforms achieve deep changes in teaching and learning; and
  • activate the educationally powerful connections with diverse learners and their communities, required for ongoing whole of system improvement.

The paper concludes with ten key messages to inform effective action in the use of evidence for educational improvement in the service of the public good.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingSchoolsPolicy

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has published a best evidence synthesis iteration (BES) that identifies the characteristics of teacher professional development that makes a positive difference for valued student outcomes. A companion best evidence synthesis iteration (BES) that identifies the leadership influences on valued student outcomes reveals that when school leaders promote and/or participate in effective teacher professional learning and development, this has more impact on student achievement than any other leadership activity. This article provides an overview of the findings about effective professional development and highlights the potential of such evidence to inform educational improvement. An example of a tool to support collaborative professional inquiry and knowledge building in schools is provided. The article highlights policy challenges for the systemic use of effective professional development and illustrates what is possible in two examples of high impact research and development (R & D) that have been effective across varied contexts. These examples illustrate the potential for educational improvement when professional learning is underpinned by cumulative high impact research and development in education.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaLeadershipPolicy

This is a response by the Chief Education Advisor, Iterative Best Evidence Syntesis Programme to a special issue of the Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice concerned with "School Leadership and Student Outcomes/He Kura Rangatira Best Evidence Synthesis (BES).". In it, the Chief Advisor responds to a range of issues raised by academic contributers.  

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEmployment & LabourEducation & TrainingSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaPolicy

The Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme is a collaborative knowledge-building approach across policy, research and practice in New Zealand. The Iterative BES synthesizes and explains evidence and what works for diverse learners. The touchstone of the program is its focus on explaining the influences on a range of desired outcomes for diverse learners. The primary purpose of the program is to support sustainable educational development whereby a whole education system and its communities strengthen a range of desired outcomes for all learners through iterative processes of shared knowledge building and use. The iterative approach is designed to be a collaborative tool and catalyst to intensify and embed the interplay of research and development (R & D) as a systemic lever for sustainable development in education.

This chapter begins by highlighting the importance of the focus on diversity on the work and then explain the Iterative BES, its fit-for-purpose methodology, its collaborative and iterative approach to development, the emerging findings about making a bigger difference for diverse learners, early work in an evidence-informed strategy for dissemination and use, and the vision for BES as a systemic lever for sustainable development.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaPolicy

This chapter looks at New Zealand's Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme, which seeks to develop and use bodies of evidence to explain what works and why in education, with special attention on context.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: International ResearchResearchTeachersSchoolsGovernance & KaitiakitangaPolicy

This chapter engages in the debate about what counts as professional knowledge from the perspective of improving outcomes for diverse learners. We begin by highlighting the importance of assumptions about appropriate roles for teachers and how those assumptions have shaped the debate about what teachers need to know. Then we consider some myths and evidence about teacher agency that have contributed to a recent international shift in policy attention to the importance of teacher knowledge and, more particularly, how to develop teacher agency and capability. The main focus of the chapter is on a policy approach to building a multidisciplinary evidence base in education that both identifies the kinds of teacher knowledge that has a positive impact on a range of student outcomes and, at the same time, develops that knowledge through a national collaborative knowledge-building and knowledge-use strategy. The approach described is the New Zealand Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme, which deliberately and systematically draws on and develops a rich multidisciplinary knowledge base in education. We situate our account of this program within (a) a comparison of a range of international policy approaches to strengthening the evidence base informing what teachers need to know, (b) a vision of the role of teaching as responsive to diverse learners and the evolving challenges of the 21st century, and (c) a touchstone of effectiveness as defined by impacts on a range of valued learner outcomes. We present the findings of a new synthesis of the evidence from 97 empirical studies that identify the development of the kinds of teacher knowledge that have a demonstrated positive impact on outcomes for diverse learners. findings of the synthesis are exemplified through an in-depth case study of effective professional development designed to support student learning, teacher learning, teacher-educator research, and policy learning. In conclusion, we highlight the potential of such multidisciplinary collaborative approaches to building the kinds of professional knowledge needed to change outcomes for diverse learners in our schooling system. We also discuss the challenges for both policy and research to engage in such transformational knowledge building.