The big picture vision of The New Zealand Curriculum says it is important to foster students' dispositions to learn and contribute as active members of society. The key competencies directly support this vision. This paper looks at what happens when teachers design rich tasks to draw on all aspects of the key competencies.
This report draws on data from the three-yearly NZCER National Survey of Secondary Schools, with a particular focus on new data gathered in the 2009 survey round. We asked principals, teachers, trustees, and parents to respond to a set of statements about the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The findings show support for the qualification has consolidated since 2006.
A number of changes have been made to NCEA since the 2006 survey, such as the endorsement of certificates with merit or excellence, and we asked principals and teachers a series of questions about those changes.
This is a thematic report drawing together responses from our 2006 survey of secondary schools, and the 2007 survey of primary schools.
Each survey questioned principals, teachers, board of trustee members, and parents. The areas covered in the report include curriculum priorities in primary and secondary schools, use of ICT, innovation and barriers to innovation, and views about national standards.
This report draws on data from the NZCER National Survey of Secondary Schools 2009. The final version of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) was released in late 2007 and the survey carried out in 2009 so the findings are a snapshot of the thinking and changes in practices that had occurred to that time. The report focuses mainly on secondary teachers and their views of curriculum change. It explores their professional learning and how they have changed or plan to change their teaching as they delve more into the intent of NZC.
The title of this report reflects both the complexity of the process of giving effect to NZC in secondary schools and the ongoing, evolving nature of curriculum change. Schools cannot stop, take stock, redesign and then start again. They have no option but to “build the plane while flying” if they perceive that significant change is required.
This report provides evidence of the extent of course innovation in the senior secondary school, as at July 2007. This evidence has been gathered to inform the work of the Ministry of Education as they make wider policy decisions about senior secondary education.
The report documents the findings of a web-based survey used to take a snapshot of the extent of subject and assessment innovation in the senior secondary school in mid-2007. Principals were contacted by email and given password protected access to the survey, which was to be completed by a staff member with a good overview on the school's curriculum. The survey remained live on the Internet for 10 days. During this time, 141 schools visited the site and 124 schools completed and submitted their survey. These schools were a good representation of the full diversity of settings in which secondary school students learn.
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.
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.
Report on an evaluation of how the professional development, offered on a national basis to schools over a two-year period commencing 2001, supported the initial implementation of Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum.
This included a survey of participants on their views of the issues they and their schools faced in implementing the curriculum and how they considered the professional development assisted them in addressing these issues.
The research is set against the background of the introduction of the new senior secondary school qualifications regime, the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). For three consecutive years, NZCER is exploring the manner in which student subject choice at Year 11 changes in response to the implementation of the NCEA reforms, in six case study schools. These schools are similar in size, but have been selected to represent a diversity of student groups and contextual settings. Part of this longitudinal study included regular reporting. This project consists of some of the findings from this study, including:
Learning curves: Meeting student needs in an evolving qualifications regime: From cabbages to kings: A first report - This short report summarises the initial findings from the three-year longitudinal study.
Learning curves: Meeting student learning needs in an evolving qualifications regime: Shared pathways and multiple tracks: A second report - This report builds on findings from the first report From Cabbages to Kings, which was released in mid-2002.
The National Survey of Secondary Schools, carried out in mid-2003, surveyed 95 principals from a range of school types and deciles, 744 teachers who taught a range of curriculum subjects in those schools, 180 school trustees and 503 parents of students in some of the schools.
Each group responded to a comprehensive questionnaire, with items in common where relevant.
The survey reports on a wide range of topics related to school management and governance. These include:
- school finances and property maintenance
- staffing and workload issues
- school planning and policy procedures
- relationships with the wider school community.
Curriculum and assessment issues covered include:
- ICT use
- the NCEA implementation
- advice and professional development.
Funding, teacher quality and staffing are the issues seen to be of overall greatest priority for the government to address and amongst the many findings there are a wide range of decile related differences.
From 2003, schools have been required to gather data on student learning and engagement, and to use it to set goals for boosting student achievement. This is known as the planning and reporting (PAR) framework.
This report looks at what the PAR framework has meant for primary and secondary schools, and its initial impact on teacher practices and learning. The report combines findings from two 2006 surveys: one a nationally representative sample of 186 primary school principals and 279 teachers from the same schools specifically on PAR issues, and findings from the 2006 national survey of all secondary schools.
The Learning Curves project has documented changes in the subject and assessment choices offered to senior students in six medium-sized New Zealand secondary schools between 2002 and 2004 as the National Qualifications Framework and National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) reforms were progressively implemented. It has also investigated how students perceive and make their subject choices within the context of each school’s curriculum policies and practices.
This report documents findings from the third and final year of Learning Curves and is subtitled Shaping Our Futures: Meeting Secondary Students’ Learning Needs in a Time of Evolving Qualifications.
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.
This is the second major thematic report drawing on findings from our 2006 NZCER National Survey of Secondary Schools. It analysed the responses given by parents, trustees, teachers and principals, to questions in the survey related to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).
The report found strong levels of support for NCEA among principals (89 percent) and teachers (60 percent). The views of parents towards NCEA were characterised by high levels of uncertainty.
However, few parents, teachers or principals supported a return to the previous qualification system, or the design of a new system.
Dr Hipkins’ analysis found respondents fell into either a negative or positive camp in terms of their attitudes towards NCEA. When the NCEA answers were cross-tabulated with all other responses, it showed that those who were more negative about NCEA were more likely to be negative about other aspects of education.
Dr Hipkins suggests that the NCEA might be acting as a lightning rod for more general concerns. NCEA appeared to be strongest and most accepted in schools where there was an ongoing focus on how curriculum and learning needed to change to meet the needs of students in the twenty first century.
This report investigates opportunities for professional learning when teachers work together to moderate their judgements of students’ work. It draws together key themes from previous research projects that have documented teacher interactions during moderation conversations. Teachers are required to report against National Standards and this is intended to be an effective lever to increase student achievement levels. Moderation conversations that provide rich professional learning about possible avenues for lifting achievement in the classroom will be needed if this policy is to work as intended. This review is a first step towards understanding how we can best support teachers as they do this important work.
Moderation of student work can support teachers to reach a shared understanding of the meaning of a standard, and to more reliably judge a range of evidence in relation to that standard. In theory insights teachers gain via moderation activities could support changes in teaching, leading to improvements in outcomes for students. However moderation has largely been under-researched as a professional learning activity: we need to know more about the dynamics of moderation processes that are successful in supporting professional learning as opposed to those that result in moderation being viewed as simply an accountability-focused demand on teachers’ time. NZCER has established a programme of work in this area, starting with a range of questions about school moderation practice in relation to the National Standards in the NZCER National Survey of Primary Schools 2010. This paper discusses the analysis of teacher survey responses about school moderation practice in relation to the question of its use in professional learning, and consider the implications of the findings in the light of a literature review that has recently been undertaken.
This report documents the results of a short online teacher survey that asked about teachers' access to, and use of, a range of resources that could potentially support teaching and learning in science. The survey drew on responses from 343 teachers in New Zealand primary and secondary schools. The findings helped inform the ongoing work of the three projects within the Science in the Curriculum programme of work.
This report is one of a series written for the Ministry of Education as part of the Curriculum support for science strand of the Science in the Curriculum projects. It places two decades of science curriculum reform in New Zealand in the context of international debate about the “nature of science” (NOS) as a driver of change. It outlines the sort of changes that the NOS focus was expected to deliver, why they were seen as a good idea and the challenges encountered in other countries. It then comes back to the New Zealand experience, tracing the development of the science learning area in the New Zealand Curriculum. The paper poses questions about what needs to happen next in science curriculum development.
This report is one in a series written for the Ministry of Education in the Curriculum support for science strand of a wider project called Science in the Curriculum. It describes two case studies in which teachers were asked to think about their purposes for teaching science and the outcomes they hoped their students would achieve. The case study teachers in two secondary schools worked with a visiting researcher. As part of the process teachers were supported to trial new strategies and responses from students on the changes were sought.
This report documents views and experiences of NCEA from NZCER's 2012 National Survey of Secondary Schools. Responses from teachers (1266) and principals (177) predominate, but the report also reflects the responses from parents (1477) and trustees (289). Full details of the sample are in the overview report, Secondary schools in 2012.
This report shows support for NCEA has remained high among principals and consolidated among teachers, school trustees and parents. Schools have generally welcomed the recent changes to NCEA such as endorsement of whole courses with merit or excellence and the increased support provided by best practice workshops for teachers. However the high teacher workload associated with NCEA remains unresolved.
The survey also covers views about whether NCEA is driving the curriculum and responses to the Government’s recently announced policy target that by 2017, 85 percent of students should gain an NCEA Level 2 qualification or its equivalent.
This is the first report from a new initiative called TLRI Project Plus. It aims to add value to the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), which NZCER manages on behalf of the government, by synthesising findings across multiple projects. This report focuses on two projects in statistics education and explores the factors that contributed to their success.
This report explores teachers' practice and thinking about one of the eight principles in the New Zealand Curriculum, learning to learn. It draws on data from teachers' responses to NZCER's 2012 National Survey of Secondary Schools. The author discusses the meaning and potential of the phrase 'learning to learn' and uses the survey data to look at teachers' practice. The report includes ideas for strengthening learning to learn approaches in schools.
The Sport in Education initiative was introduced by Sport NZ in 2013 to demonstrate the contribution that the context and concepts of sport can make to enhancing teaching and learning for schools and students. Eight schools were chosen to demonstrate that this approach is equally valid across genders, geographic locations, roll sizes and differing socioeconomic environments.
This report prepared for Sport New Zealand covers stories based on successful practice from two years of the Sport in Education initiative. The success stories are activities which teachers considered had made a difference.
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.
Arts Professional Development Online' commenced nationally during 2001 to support the implementation of 'Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum', targeted specifically at rural and isolated schools. This report details the outcome of an evaluation of this professional development that was carried out late 2002.
This research, undertaken by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER), was funded by the Ministry of Research Science and Technology (MoRST) and used to inform its ongoing policy work. They wanted to know who took Year 13 science subjects and why, and to find out about the factors that influence students to keep studying sciences at tertiary level (or not). The research had two phases:
1. A background paper that:
- outlined competing ways to measure patterns of participation in school science subjects; and
- summarised other research about factors that influence students to carry on in science.
2. A report of focus group and survey research that addressed two critical questions:
- Why do students choose to take sciences in Year 13?
- Why do students plan to take up (or not take up) sciences in their tertiary level studies?
This study sought to understand more about how literacy, language, and numeracy (LLN) skills gained in workplace literacy and numeracy courses are developed, utilised, and transferred within workplaces. A literature review on the transfer of workplace learning (Cameron et al, 2010) provided a framing for the analysis of six case studies that were conducted during 2010. These ‘cases’ were a variety of workplaces that offered LLN courses funded by the Workplace Literacy Fund and delivered by external training providers.
This report outlines findings from an evaluation of the first year of a pilot initiative called the Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy (hereafter MDTA). The Manaiakalani Education Trust and the schools within its network are described in Section 2 to provide a context for the initiative and the evaluation.
The MDTA pilot was conceived as a proactive response to a growing frustration from many school leaders in the Manaiakalani schools cluster. These schools have been working hard to transform their practice for the digital era. From their perspective, initial teacher education (ITE) programmes have not kept up with 21st century changes in education.
During 2014, 10 newly qualified beginning teachers (BTs) were each paired with a mentor teacher, working alongside each other in the same learning space. The aim was to support these first-year teachers to begin their teaching career working with the digital pedagogies their mentors already skilfully use, thus accelerating their progress to becoming the sorts of highly effective teachers needed by the schools in the cluster. In 2015—their second year of full-time teaching—the 10 BTs now have responsibility for their own group of students but continue to work in the same school, with ongoing close support as needed.
A practical component was embedded within the programme by releasing the BTs on Wednesdays to enhance and extend their digital skills. In 2014 BTs and their mentors also attended The University of Auckland to take part in an academic programme of postgraduate study specifically designed to support the initiative. Most mentors are working towards an MEd qualification and BTs towards an Honours qualification in education. In 2015 most members of both groups are carrying out research projects initially devised as part of their 2014 learning.
This is the final report for the research project Curriculum Implementation Exploratory Studies Phase 2 (CIES 2). Over two phases and three years the CIES project has developed an analytical account of the various ways in which innovative schools and individual teachers have been working to implement the revised New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007).
CIES 1 employed case studies as the main methodology (Cowie et al., 2009). CIES 2 continued the case studies with nine schools from CIES 1, and added a case study of a low-decile, rural, full primary school. CIES 2 also involved “mediated conversations” with two groups of school leaders (Auckland, Christchurch) and two groups of teachers (secondary in Auckland, primary in Wellington). For these conversations, participants came prepared to talk to three or four other participants and a researcher for around 15 minutes. They introduced and discussed an artefact generated through or representative of their curriculum implementation practice. Subsequent to these short sessions the MOE research questions were introduced and discussed. During CIES 2 we also reviewed existing research about community involvement to produce a short synthesis (Bull, n.d.). After conducting separate analyses of the case studies and the mediated conversations we merged the overall findings to produce this final synthesis. The report also takes account of key findings from CIES 1 (Cowie et al., 2009) to document the implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum across all three years of the project.
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.
This project consisted of two research ouputs:
Shifting balances: The impact of level 1 NCEA on teaching of mathematics and science: This research reports on the impact of Level 1 NCEA on the teaching of mathematics and science. It provides an in-depth analysis of the dynamics of change in the study teachers’ mathematics and science classrooms in response to the NCEA implementation. A range of aspects of classroom practice were identified where one way of working or set of emphases could be balanced against another way of working/set of emphases. Findings with respect to shifts in the balances of the alternatives outlined for these aspects of classroom practices are presented.
Shifting Balances 2 - The impact of the NCEA Implementation on the Teaching of Geography and Home Economics: This research identifies and discusses recent changes in the teaching of home economics and geography at Years 11 and 12 of the New Zealand school system. It explores ways in which these changes may be related to the introduction of the National Certificate in Educational Achievement at Year 11 (NCEA Level 1) and at Year 12 (NCEA Level 2). The research builds on an earlier project (2003) that employed the same methodology to explore changes in science and mathematics teaching at NCEA Level 1 (Hipkins & Neill, 2005). The research describes the nature and extent of the changes that were identified, and explores how these changes seem to be related to teachers’ personal teaching priorities and to professional development initiatives in their schools, as well as to the NCEA. These possibilities obviously offer a wide lens for thinking about change within the classroom.
This Summary Report summarises an evaluation of three Education for Sustainability (EfS) professional development programmes being funded by the Ministry of Education: the Enviroschools Programme, the National EfS (NEfS) Team and Mātauranga Taiao. It is supported by a more extensive Overview Report (Part One in Related Pages) on the evaluation of these three initiatives and an individual report on each initiative (Parts Two-Four in Related Pages).
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.
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.
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.
The Competent Children, Competent Learners project is a longitudinal study undertaken by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) which focuses on a group of about 500 young people from the greater Wellington region. Seven phases of the project have now been completed - the first when the students were near age 5, the next when they were at age 6 and then at ages 8, 10, 12,14 and 16. A further phase is currently underway collecting data from the sample of young people at age 20.