Rachel Bolstad

Research Projects

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingSchoolsYouth

This working paper describes a series of recent “student voice” projects undertaken by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). Although these projects varied in terms of their specific contexts and processes, each sought to elicit young people’s perspectives (about learning, education and/or other aspects of their lives), and support the young people to represent their perspectives and insights in forums that included adults, such as teachers, parents, policymakers or others who work with youth. The projects had multiple goals, the most profound of which was to create space for future-focused dialogue about doing education “differently” to better fit learning needs for the 21st century. Looking back across these projects, we ask ourselves two questions. First, how successful was each project as a learning opportunity for the young people? Second, how successful was each project in engaging adult audiences who might be potential collaborators with, and advocates for, involving young people in educational decision making? Based on our analysis, we argue that the way forward requires us to dispense with the clichéd notion of “student voice”, and instead reframe our past and future work in terms of “youth–adult partnerships”. Analyses of some of our other research projects suggest that youth–adult partnerships can and do already occur in some school contexts. However, we speculate that the concept of youth–adult partnerships may prove challenging for some schools, as it contradicts common “school ways” of thinking about the roles of adults and youth.

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchVoluntary & CommunityEducation & TrainingSchoolsFamilies & Whānau

NZCER’s Families and Communities Engagement (FACE) project investigated ideas and practices involved in bringing together teachers, families, local communities and students to contribute to collective conversations and decisions about education.

This report concerns a sub-project of FACE that aimed to develop and research a process to engage small groups of secondary students in becoming critical and informed contributors to curriculum and education design. We developed workshops to support small groups of students (mostly in Years 9 and 10) in two girls’ schools to undertake small-scale research on their own and/or others’ views and experiences about learning and school.

When given the opportunity to discuss big-picture curriculum ideas and undertake critical close readings of The New Zealand Curriculum, students could begin to articulate how these did or did not match their own experiences or those of others, including their fellow students, teachers and their family members. Students also recognised some of the key dilemmas that educators and policy makers grapple with. Students in both schools presented their findings at a range of forums, where students could also discuss their views, answer questions and pose suggestions to teachers and school leaders, family members and other students.

This project provided important learning for the NZCER FACE project, and hopefully both of the schools involved as they continue—or embark on—establishing learning communities designed to engage students as co-contributors to education design.

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: EvaluationSchools

This is the final report from the Evaluation of the Regional E4E Cluster Initiative, carried out for the Ministry of Education, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Tindall Foundation.

The cluster initiative was specifically set up as an innovative space for schools and regions to work collaboratively to set their own goals and test out different approaches to E4E. Our approach was to look across three focuses—cluster focus, national strategy focus and 21st century learning focus—to understand the aims and development of practice according to a range of stakeholders. Those findings were then used to develop an overall picture of change, and this provided a structure for evaluating the regional clusters initiative against six broad aims. These are:

  • A regional cluster model is set up and fostered
  • Mutually beneficial partnerships are created and maintained
  • Enterprising learning opportunities are provided
  • Students become educated lifelong learners with enterprising competencies
  • There is whole-school change towards E4E integration and an enterprising culture
  • E4E is responsive to different communities and contexts, including Maori and Pacific communities.

The summary presents findings for each of these aims and considers what the work tells us about the long-term objectives and potential outcomes for E4E in New Zealand.

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingE-LearningInformation & Communications Technology

The Zooming in on Learning in the Digital Age (ZILDA) research programme aims to 'zoom in' - or dig down deeper - into issues surrounding 'digital age learning'.

The goal of the first phase of the ZILDA research was to zoom in on the views and experiences of 'digital age learners'. 

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchScience & Technology

Report on an investigation into what the public thinks, knows, and feels about science.

The research involved a telephone survey of 800 members of the New Zealand public, and small-scale focus group discussions with four different groups.

The research identified six sectors of New Zealand society, each with a different profile of attitudes towards and beliefs about science. These sectors showed many similarities to the sectors that were found in similar recent UK research.

The report provides key recommendations for effective communication of science to the public. It suggests that attitudes of distrust towards science can arise when 'common sense' is the guide that people bring to the judgments they make about the plausibility of scientific research.

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: EvaluationSchools

Two mini reports were part of a two-year evaluation of Phase Two of the Regional Education for Enterprise (E4E) Clusters Initiative. The initiative’s overall aim was to embed an enterprising culture within clusters of schools nationwide based on characteristics of their communities. NZCER is tracking and supporting developments in four clusters: Northland, West Coast, Nelson, and Manukau.

The two reports were designed to update the clusters on the progress made and achievements gained according to surveys completed in the final term of 2008. The first report provides a summary of survey responses from E4E lead teachers and other teachers who had used approaches that align with E4E. The second report (below) overviews the responses from students who had been involved in an E4E class, extra-curricular project, or unit of work during 2008.

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: EvaluationSchools

The two survey reports are:

  • NZCER evaluation of the Regional Education for Enterprise (E4E) Clusters - Report on teacher and lead teacher survey data from Term 4, 2007
  • NZCER evaluation of the Regional Education for Enterprise (E4E) Clusters - Report on student survey data from Term 4, 2007

These two mini reports are part of a two-year evaluation of Phase Two of the Regional Education for Enterprise (E4E) Clusters Initiative. The initiative’s overall aim is to embed an enterprising culture within clusters of schools nationwide based on characteristics of their communities.  NZCER is tracking and supporting developments in four clusters: Northland, West Coast, Nelson, and Manukau.

The two reports are designed to update the clusters on the progress made and achievements gained according to surveys completed in the final term of 2007.  The first report provides a summary of survey responses from E4E lead teachers and other teachers who had used approaches that align with E4E.  The second report overviews the responses from students who had been involved in an E4E class, extra-curricular project, or unit of work during 2007.

29 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: EvaluationSecondary EducationScience & Technology

This research report evaluates an initiative called The Business of Science, a Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST) initiative that ran in the Waikato region in 2003. The initiative was targeted at Year 13 students who have studied science subjects at school, but intend to enter courses such as business, law, or commerce at tertiary level. 

To evaluate the initiative, NZCER collected data through surveys and telephone interviews with students who participated in the Business of Science events, and interviews with staff from the University of Waikato and the Waikato Institute of Technology.

27 Sep 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: Kaupapa MāoriLiterature reviewResearchSchoolsEnvironment

This report summarises the findings from the Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools research project, undertaken for the Ministry of Education by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research and the University of Waikato between June 2002 and June 2003.

The research included three components: a literature review, a critical stocktake (survey) of nearly 200 schools involved in environmental education, and case studies of environmental education practices in eight schools and kura kaupapa Māori.

The research findings are reported in four volumes. This report (Volume 1) describes the overall research project, summarises the findings from each of the research components, and responds to the research questions. Volume 1 also highlights implications of the research for future policy, resourcing, practice, and research in environmental education in New Zealand schools. Volume 2 is the full report from the literature review, Volume 3 is the full report from the critical stocktake, and Volume 4 is the full report from the eight case studies.

22 Sep 17
Commissioned
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchE-LearningInformation & Communications Technology

In 2008–09 the Ministry of Education contracted the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to undertake research about students’ experiences of learning in virtual classrooms. Virtual classrooms were established to enable secondary schools in New Zealand (particularly those in rural and remote areas, and small schools) to overcome issues of distance and resourcing which might otherwise limit the breadth and quality of the curriculum offered to their students. In these classes, students learn through videoconferencing (VC) with teachers, and often other virtual classmates, who are at another location. Other information communication technologies (ICTs) such as emails, content management systems and relevant websites may be used to support learning throughout the week. All virtual classes are managed by the Ministry’s Virtual Learning Network (VLN). Within this network, there are 13 e-learning clusters receiving funding from the Ministry. Hundreds of New Zealand students are learning in virtual classrooms.

22 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchPrimary EducationSecondary Education

This report identifies and discusses the many interwoven factors that impact on students’ decision making with regard to the ongoing study of sciences, both in the final year of secondary school, and on transition to tertiary level studies.

 

07 Sep 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: International ResearchLiterature reviewEarly Childhood EducationInformation & Communications Technology

This review synthesises recent literature about ICT use in early childhood education (ECE). It looks at the role and potential of ICT to support teaching and learning, professional development, sector capability, administration, infrastructure, and information management and communication.

The literature suggests ICT use should be grounded in an understanding of the purposes, practices, and social context of ECE. The literature indicates ways that ICT can support children’s learning, (such as language development and mathematical thinking), including supporting learning for children from diverse cultural or language backgrounds, or with special learning needs. Case studies show practitioners using ICT to:

  • document and assess children’s learning and activities
  • reflect on children’s and educator’s conversations and interactions
  • build learning experiences from children’s interests, ideas, and experiences
  • strengthen and support family involvement in learning.

ICT’s value in ECE appears to depend on the tools selected, and when and how they are used. Literature suggests it is important for practitioners to know how contemporary theories about learning and development can be linked to ICT use, and what practices support this. The implications of the review findings for further development of ICT in New Zealand ECE are discussed, and current gaps in the literature are noted.

06 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchSchoolsSustainabilityScience & Technology

This working paper describes some of the ideas underpinning NZCER’s Future-Focused Issues (FFI) project. There is a variety of ways to interpret what it means to take a "future focus" in education. This paper explains why the FFI project has focused primarily on concepts specifically mentioned in relation to "future focus" in The New Zealand Curriculum: sustainability, enterprise, globalisation and citizenship. It introduces the notion of "wicked problems"—challenges characteristic of the 21st century that intertwine future-focused issues—and what these may mean for society and education. Finally, it outlines what we have learned in our studies of education in relation to the FFIs.

06 Sep 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: EvaluationTeachersSchools

Two mini reports were part of a two-year evaluation of Phase Two of the Regional Education for Enterprise (E4E) Clusters Initiative. The initiative’s overall aim was to embed an enterprising culture within clusters of schools nationwide based on characteristics of their communities. NZCER is tracking and supporting developments in four clusters: Northland, West Coast, Nelson, and Manukau.

The two reports were designed to update the clusters on the progress made and achievements gained according to surveys completed in the final term of 2008. The first report (below) provides a summary of survey responses from E4E lead teachers and other teachers who had used approaches that align with E4E. The second report overviews the responses from students who had been involved in an E4E class, extra-curricular project, or unit of work during 2008.

30 Aug 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchSchoolsScience & Technology

This report documents the first phase of a project looking at school–science community engagement initiatives. This project was funded by the Ministry of Education and carried out by a research partnership led by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) in collaboration with Learning Media and the University of Waikato. It is one piece of a three part research project related to improving achievement in science education.
 
The report explores the wide range of programmes, initiatives and partnerships currently operating that are designed to link schools and the science community. Specific examples are discussed and there are sections on initiatives targeting Māori and Pasifika students. The report also discusses international initiatives. The final section looks at the purpose of science community-school collaborations and asks how they can be sustained and where to next.
 

30 Aug 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchE-LearningScience & Technology

This series e-Learning in science reports is part of a wider project  'Science in the New Zealand Curriculum'. This series is written for the Ministry Education by The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) in collaboration with Learning Media and The University of Waikato. This strand explores three different aspects of e-learning in the sciences.

e-in-science: Developing innovation | This report explores innovative possibilities for e-in-science practice to enhance teacher capability and increase student engagement and achievement. It provides insights into how e-learning might be harnessed to help create a future-oriented science education programme and puts forward a possible framework. The report draws on four focus groups and two case studies. 

e-in-science: Future-oriented science learning | This report brings together findings from earlier phases of the research, as well as parallel research on school engagement with the science community. The third phase of the project  focused on developing a conceptual tool for exploring the potential of digital technologies to support future-oriented science learning and supporting teachers and school leaders to reflect on and enhance their practice. Two focus groups were involved, comprising experts from the school, tertiary and research and development sectors.

e-in-science: Scoping the possibilities | This report explores the possibilities that exist for e-in-science to enhance student engagement and learning in science. It uses as a framework three interconnecting purposes for using  ICT in science education; that is, to support students to: work as scientists, work with scientists and work with one another to co-construct scientific knowledge and understanding.

30 Aug 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchSchoolsScience & Technology

This research aimed to generate evidence-based recommendations for strengthening partnerships between schools and the science community to support students’ science learning and engagement.  It was underpinned by a future-oriented perspective, framed by larger questions about the purpose of science education in the context of a rapidly changing 21st-century world. The report digs beneath assumptions about why learners’ and teachers’ engagement with the science community is considered important, and examines what kinds of approaches and supports might sustain future-oriented science education for New Zealand learners.
 

28 Aug 17
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoENew Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchEducation & TrainingSchoolsEnvironment

This research looked at current practice in environmental education in New Zealand schools using a range of methods.

Three key goals of the research were to:

  • analyse and present characteristics of environmental education practice in New Zealand schools to inform schools' environmental education programmes and practices;
  • provide direction for the Ministry of Education and Government with respect to future initiatives in environmental education in New Zealand schools; and
  • facilitate further discussion between New Zealand policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners in environmental education.
25 Aug 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchVoluntary & CommunityPrimary Education

This is the third case study from a research project on successful and sustained collaborations between New Zealand schools and community and professional experts. The report looks at Epuni Primary School's collaboration with community members, including a partnership with a community initiative called the Common Unity Project Aotearoa.

25 Aug 17
Completed
with: New Zealand Council for Educational Research: NZCER categories: ResearchPrimary EducationE-LearningSchoolsInformation & Communications Technology

This report looks at the role of digital technologies for learning in primary and intermediate schools.

The report draws on data from the NZCER National Survey of Primary and Intermediate Schools, which was conducted in late August and early September 2016. The survey asked how digital technology is being used, how it could be used, and what it means for teaching and learning.

The survey sought the views of principals, teachers, trustees, parents and whānau.

02 Dec 15
Completed
with: Manatū Taonga − Ministry for Culture and Heritage categories: Literature reviewEducation & TrainingPrimary EducationArts and CultureSocio-economic statusCulture

The contributions of learning in the arts to educational, social and economic outcomes.

This report was prepared by Rachel Bolstad, New Zealand Council for Educational Research for the Ministry.

This review of international and New Zealand literature explores the arguments made, and evidence for, the contribution of participation and/or formal learning in arts disciplines to educational, social/cultural and economic outcomes, with a key focus on school-aged learners.

A number of international reviews and meta-analyses have sought to provide a rigorous research base for understanding the contributions of learning in the arts. This review focuses on all the arts disciplines included in the Arts learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (Ministry of Education, 2008), with a particular focus on music education as requested by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. It draws on widely-cited international examples such as the Champions of Change (Fiske, 1999) and Critical Links (Deasy, 2002), and a range of other literature. Search criteria focused mainly on locating research with substantive findings about students’ learning and other outcomes in relation to arts education, but a variety of other literature was also reviewed to provide a contextual picture of the state of arts education research, particularly in New Zealand.

This research consists of the following two reports:

Part 1: A review of the literature (word version)

Part 2: A literature synthesis (word version).

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchE-LearningSecondary EducationPolicyInnovation

This article surveys recent work on school ICT projects. It looks at the ideas that are informing this work and surveys some of the strategies being used in the drive to turn schools into “ICT-rich learning environments”. In order to illustrate how these ideas play out in “real-world” situations, the article also profiles one New Zealand school-based ICT initiative as a case study—the Tech Angels project at Wellington Girls’ College, focussing in particular on how this school’s experiences can help other schools considering setting up similar programmes.

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

Throughout the history of schooling in New Zealand the national curriculum has been revised at fairly regular intervals. Consequently, schools are periodically faced with having to accommodate to new curriculum. In between major changes other specifically-focused changes may arise; for example, the increased recent emphasis upon numeracy and literacy.

A new national curriculum represents a large undertaking for those responsible for schools and classroom teaching. The 2007 New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) is an example. It developed out of an earlier period of “rolling revision” from the 1950s to 1980s, where curriculum was revised subject-by-subject with a haphazard timeline. Change was largely led by Ministry of Education (MOE) curriculum personnel with close links to teacher unions and teachers. During the 1990s the form of revision changed. An overarching curriculum framework (Ministry of Education, 1993) outlined a design of achievement objectives organised into eight levels from Year 1 of schooling to Year 13. Content was designated through seven learning areas and a statement for each was written and promulgated through the 1990s.

By 2000 feedback from schools led the MOE to carry out a “stocktake”, resulting in approval by the Minister of Education to undertake a phase of systematic revision from 2003. A draft New Zealand Curriculum was disseminated to schools and the community in 2006 and a final document ratified by the Government for publication in late 2007 and full implementation by 2010. Some components of the 1990s curriculum statements were retained with little change. They included the design of objectives and content for eight levels over 13 years of schooling. However some major changes also emerged from all this activity. They included:

  • a shift from “essential skills” to “key competencies” that integrate knowledge, skills, attitudes and values
  • expanded statements on values in the curriculum
  • inclusion of four future-focused themes: sustainability; citizenship; enterprise; and globalisation
  • guidelines on school-based curriculum design
  • a clearer vision statement
  • advice on pedagogy and on assessment
  • a reduction in the achievement objectives in all learning areas and the inclusion of these in one streamlined document rather than separate documents
  • increased emphasis on the teaching of languages other than English.

Notwithstanding the involvement of as many people as possible in the Curriculum Project, the MOE anticipated that the scope of these changes would be challenging for many teachers and schools. It was anticipated that considerable support would be needed as each school worked towards understanding how all the changes might come together in their school setting. Accordingly, the MOE explored ways of supporting schools with implementation of the new curriculum, including “teacher-only” days for concentrated time on change, and on-line resources to support the change process. Inevitably, some school leaders were ahead of others in adopting the curriculum innovations and adapting them to meet their school’s specific needs. With the imperative for all schools to be engaged in the implementation process by 2010, the MOE determined that it would be helpful if the successful experiences of schools that got underway with the process sooner rather than later be documented, analysed for common themes and used to help determine the most productive ways to support other schools. That was the aim of the research project reported here.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: EvaluationE-LearningSchoolsSecondary EducationInformation & Communications Technology

The Notebook Valley project provided a range of benefits for the teachers, students, and schools. These benefits included: increases in teacher and student knowledge and confidence using ICT; changes in school “ICT culture”; the acquisition of useful ICT software and peripheral ICT equipment; the development of school and departmental intranet systems; and the beginning of more ICT-based teaching schemes for some junior science and mathematics classes.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: International ResearchLiterature reviewResearchInternational RelationsPedagogyTeachersSchoolsEnvironmentLeadershipChildrenMigrantsDiscriminationLanguageReligion, Beliefs & Spirituality

New Zealand was one of 38 countries which took part in ICCS in 2008. ICCS focuses on Year 9 students' knowledge and understanding of civic systems and citizenship issues, and their attitudes, values and behaviours relating to civics and citizenship. It also looks at differences among countries in relation to the outcomes of civic and citizenship education and how these differences relate to student, school and community backgrounds.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: Human Rights & Civil LibertiesInternational RelationsEconomic GrowthPedagogyTeachersSchoolsSecondary EducationLeadershipPolicyInternational studentsLanguageInnovation

This exploratory study considers the feasibility of measuring New Zealand senior secondary (Years 12/13) students' "international capabilities". Building on background work undertaken by the Ministry's International Division, the methodology had three components. Analysis of New Zealand and international literature pertinent to assessment of international capabilities was undertaken. Small-group workshops were conducted with 13 secondary school staff, 21 senior secondary students, and 10 professionals with relevant expertise and perspectives about expression of international capabilities in post-school life. The third component was a visit to the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to discuss similar assessment challenges in their work.

18 Feb 15
Completed
with: Ministry of Education: MoE categories: ResearchPedagogyPrimary EducationTeachersE-LearningLiteracy & NumeracySchoolsSecondary EducationInnovation

This research project draws together findings from new data and more than 10 years of research on current practice and futures-thinking in education.

The report discusses some emerging principles for future learning, how these are currently expressed in New Zealand educational thinking and practice and what they could look like in future practice.