Using information to improve achievement

Issue: Volume 95, Number 12

Posted: 4 July 2016
Reference #: 1H9d2Y

In a new report, the Office of the Auditor-General looks at how data is collected, analysed and shared to improve educational success for Māori students.

An independent report on how well the education system supports Māori students to achieve their full potential has recently been released.

The report is part of a five year programme of work begun in 2012 by the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG).

The work is led by Auditor-General Lyn Provost. She is supported by an advisory and reference group of Angus Macfarlane, Graham Smith, Lorraine Kerr, Mere Berryman and Wally Penetito.

In the third and latest report, the OAG confirms the positive difference that education data makes to lifting the achievement of Māori students – in essence, when schools use data and information well, Māori students do better.

Schools that used data to improve outcomes for students:

  • set strategic goals
  • built relationships with their students and wider community
  • exhibited a culture of inquiry and challenge.

The report said schools with better results for Māori students used data to inform their activities and to decide how and where to target resources to get the best result.

“These schools were committed to improvement and had management cultures that valued inquiry and challenge. The schools wanted to see continuous improvements, and people were encouraged to ask questions and challenge norms.”

The report also noted that strong leadership is needed to build a culture focused on performance and improvement, and the importance of a school’s charter in improving Māori achievement.

“A basic start is to ensure that schools identify the performance of Māori students in particular.”

Many schools chose to signal these goals and targets in the school’s charter. The OAG looked at school charters to find out whether they had achievement targets for Māori. Of the 553 charters the OAG examined, 77% included achievement targets for Māori students.

The report also recognised that better-performing schools collected and used cultural information, such as a student’s ties with their iwi.

“This is a rich source of information. The challenge for the education sector will be to better collect this information at the aggregate level to inform and improve its decision-making.”

The Ministry’s Deputy Secretary (Early Learning and Student Achievement) Lisa Rodgers said the Ministry welcomed the report, and supported the information in it that showed that schools collecting and effectively using data on student progress was critical to supporting improved Māori education achievement.

“We congratulate the schools that are already doing this work, and we encourage all schools to keep focusing on understanding data to see what is working well and what needs to change,” she said.

Establishing a framework: report recommendations

The report gives five recommendations to the Ministry of Education:

  • Work with schools to establish a framework for collecting cultural and other information about Māori enjoying educational success as Māori.
  • Help those schools that do not have enough understanding about what Māori enjoying success as Māori means, with better guidance and information.
  • Use currently available information to investigate the variation in performance of similar schools in similar circumstances and assist the lower-performing schools to do better.
  • Work with the education system to ensure that there is effective leadership and common understanding of the purpose and use of information to improve outcomes for Māori students.
  • Lead the education system to ensure that practices to collect, analyse, use and share information improve.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 3:46 pm, 4 July 2016

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