Hei titiro anō i te whāinga: Māori achievement in bachelors degrees revisited
This report revisits and updates Te whai i nga taumata atakura – supporting Māori achievement in bachelors degrees. In this report, we look in greater detail at the link between NCEA results and Māori success in first-year bachelors degree study.
The findings in this report confirm the earlier study, while providing more detail on the link between school performance and tertiary success. An important finding is that Māori students enter degree study, on average, with lower school qualifications and lower NCEA results than their non-Māori peers. Māori students who had the same level of performance in NCEA as non-Māori did slightly less well on average in their first-year degree studies.
Author(s): David Earle, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis & Reporting [Ministry of Education]
Date Published: June 2008
This paper updates Te whai i ngā taumata atakura – supporting Māori achievement in bachelors degrees (Earle, 2007), using improved tertiary enrolment data and National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results. This paper looks at Māori students entering degree study within one or two years of leaving school, and Māori students entering degree study for the first time as an adult (aged 25 to 39).
From school to degree study
- The number of Māori moving from school to degree study is increasing. However, participation rates for Maori aged 18 to 19 in degrees have only increased slightly and remain at less than half the rate for all students. Māori students have the lowest rate of progression from school to tertiary of any ethnic group.
- School performance has the largest association with the success of Māori school leavers in their first year of degree study. Success in first-year study has the largest association with continuing after the first year. Continued success in courses has the largest association with qualification completion.
- Māori students enter degree study, on average, with lower school qualifications and lower NCEA results than their non-Māori peers. Māori students who had the same level of performance in NCEA as non-Māori did slightly less well on average in their first-year degree studies.
- The type of institution attended affects the average performance of Māori students, once factors such as school performance are controlled for. After controlling for other factors, Māori school leavers who study at universities with a higher proportion of degree and above students are less likely to pass 75 percent or more of their first-year courses than Māori school leavers at other institutions. However, Māori students who are successful at these institutions are more likely to continue in study and complete a qualification than Māori at other institutions.
- Māori school leavers who have completed at least three years of equivalent full-time degree study are less likely to have gained a qualification than other Māori students if they have: failed several courses, and/or switched between degree programmes, and/or studied part-time.
Entering degree study for the first time as an adult
- The number of Māori students entering degree study for the first time between the ages of 25 and 39 has continued to decrease, as it has for all students in this age group.
- For Māori students in this age group, both their major subject of enrolment and their school qualifications have strong associations with their first-year success. Having higher levels of school qualification is particularly important for success in extramural studies.
- Māori students in this age group who study full-time, full-year in their first year are more likely than other Māori students in the same age group to pass most of their first-year courses, return to study and complete a qualification.
- Studying at an institution of technology and polytechnic is also associated with greater chances of first-year success, continuing in study and completing a qualification, once other factors including school qualifications and subject are controlled for.
- Māori students in this age group who have attended a low decile school are slightly less likely to pass most of their first-year courses. This indicates a continuing effect of school and community background on educational performance.
- Māori students studying nursing are more likely to return to study and complete than Māori in other fields of study, once other factors are controlled for.
Supporting Māori achievement in bachelors degrees
- Recent literature suggests a combination of approaches is required to raise Māori achievement in secondary school and tertiary education. A key theme is the need for educational institutions and teachers to move away from a deficit model, which locates Māori underachievement in the shortcomings of the student, to a view that considers the ways in which support, environment and teaching practice can be improved to build and enhance the learning of all students.
Key themes from the literature as to how to enhance outcomes for Māori and non-Māori students include:
- The institution and teachers engage effectively with students and understand their learning needs and aspirations.
- Families and whānau are welcome and encouraged in their support for their students.
- Support, orientation and advice are provided in a timely manner to students.
- Teachers work alongside students and are focused on the success of all students.
- Students have access to a range of learning supports, including space to organise their own learning groups in their own way.
- Cultural diversity is welcomed and valued.
- Discrimination and racism on campus are not tolerated.
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