An Evaluation of Network Learning Communities: Technical Report

Publication Details

This is the technical report from a study evaluating the Network Learning Communities initiative in 2010. It contains detailed analyses of two surveys and presented 10 case study summaries.

Author(s): Lorrae Ward (Phd) and Adelle Henderson, CYPERUS with Quigley and Watts. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: May 2011

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Summary

Introduction

This technical report contains the detailed analyses of two surveys undertaken as part of the NLC evaluation. The first of these is the sector leader survey which was completed by 79 participants. The second is the school leader survey completed by 144 participants. Both were completed online.

Chapter One presents the findings from the sector leader survey while Chapter Two presents those from the school leader survey. Within both these surveys wide standard deviations reflect the diverse experiences of the respondents with regard to the NLC initiative.

The lack of large differences found for mean responses across key demographic groups, as reported in the school leader survey, (school size, type, decile) suggest individual contexts are more important determinants of experiences than demographics. One possible exception is the extent to which the NLC initiative has influenced small schools; something alluded to in the case studies. It appears that for small primary schools the NLC initiative has been particularly beneficial.

Chapter Three presents the detailed case study summaries of the ten NLCs visited as part of the evaluation. During these case studies data were gathered primarily through comprehensive interviews with the sector leaders for each NLC. A sample of the other members of the NLC also participated. Dependent on their availability this was either through a face-face interview, telephone interview or they completed a questionnaire and returned it to the evaluation team.

The purpose of the case studies was to provide a more in-depth description of a sample of NLCs than is possible through survey data alone. Findings from the case studies affirmed and elaborated the survey data providing a rich picture, overall, of the NLC initiative at the end of 2010.

Across the case studies were four primary only NLCs, four secondary only and two cross-curricular. They were drawn from across New Zealand including schools from rural, provincial and large urban areas. All of the case studies highlight the benefits for participants from being in an NLC. They also reflect the challenges experienced during their respective journeys. Each story is different and offers a unique lens on the NLC initiative. 

Findings from the surveys and case studies are discussed, where relevant, in the main evaluation report, which also contains data gathered from interviews with the advisors working with the NLC and policy document analyses. In addition, a summary report is available and ten abbreviated case studies have been published online.

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