What's New


The latest information from BES about using evidence to accelerate improvement in education.

Ngāi Tahu partnership for best evidence innovation in mathematics education

Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou  (Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities ) has been initiated in 2016 in Shirley Primary School, funded by Ngāi Tahu kaumatua,  Laurie Loper, in memory of his brother, through the James Stewart Loper Trust. The bequest is  administered through a partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Massey University, Shirley Primary School, and  the Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education joined Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou partners  at  Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to celebrate the bequest  on 21st June.

This video provides insights into the nature of this best evidence approach and the early benefits to the children of Shirley Primary School. 

The views in this video are not necessarily the views of the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

Read more information about Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities - Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou.

August 2016

Evidence in Action

Evidence in Action Bringing The 'How' of Equity, Excellence and Inclusion in Education to the Forefront of Policy Dialogue [pdf 154kb].

Invited paper prepared for the April 2016 Cambridge Seminar:
Thinking about Teachers, Teaching & the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 2016 

These Cambridge seminars, organized in partnership with Open Society Foundations (OSF), Education International (EI), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), bring together practitioners, researchers and policy-makers committed to enhancing the development of the teaching profession.

For more information see the University of Cambridge Leadership for Learning website.

See also the new 15 video best evidence in action feature on the use of evidence to make a much bigger difference in mathematics education.

May 2016

eBooks Released to Support Professional Learning

People using the ebooks10 eBooks that present the theory behind, and practical examples of, effective practice in teaching and learning are being released online. The electronic books in this collection are an outcome of more than 13 years of iterative research and development and are for use by facilitators within a structured professional learning context in Te Kotahitanga.

This collection of eBooks represents many years of learning from a research partnership between Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop and Associate Professor Mere Berryman with the Poutama Pounamu research whānau. Their work investigates and informs system-change solutions to the educational disparities experienced by indigenous and other minoritised groups.

They have been developed to give facilitators in the field mobile access to rich media to support professional learning.

This collection is being used and being iteratively developed in Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success and reflects the findings reported in the Ka Hikitia- A Demonstration Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 2010-2012 report by Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee. 

See newly released Kia Eke Panuku website, January 2016. Here are the direct links to the following eBooks:

February 2016

Ka Hikitia - A Demonstration Report

Ka Hikitia Deomonstration Report

This report analyses the impact of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 on Māori student achievement and explores the design and implementation features that enabled such accelerated improvement. 

It has implications for policy makers, teachers, middle and senior leaders, principals, providers of  professional learning, communities, Boards of Trustees, Ministry of Education staff and other government agencies.

"[An] excellent  report", "as New Zealand moves forward with Ka Hikitia, I would hope that ... the data reported in Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5, 2010-12 will be considered  carefully" – Quality assurance by Christine Sleeter, California State University.

Download Ka Hikitia A Demonstration Report: Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 2010-12 [pdf, 2mb], authored by Adrienne Alton-Lee.

Hardcopies are available from orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz

See a powerpoint of the launch of the BES report.

August 2015

Foreword update: School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES

Cover of the School Leadership BESInternationally recognised authority on educational reform, Professor Emeritus Michael Fullan, writes in a new foreword for the School Leadership and Student Outcomes BESthat the Ministry's Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis publications are "the single best research review series on education matters around the world."

He says the findings of the leadership BES (first published in 2009) have enduring significance, and challenges all partners in New Zealand education "to make sure that the findings and implications from this synthesis [are] used as a point of departure for new action."

Click here to read the full foreword. Hard copies of the BES have been reprinted and are now available to New Zealand educators to order free from Down the Back of the Chair.

23 June 2015

Effective Professional Development Matters: Acclaim for NZ Best Evidence Synthesis

Image of TPLD BES and summaryA new, comprehensive review has been launched in the UK House of Commons on professional learning and development. Commissioned by the Teacher Development Trust and TES Glodal, Durham University Professors Rob Coe and Steve Higgins, Centre for the Use of Research Evidence in Education  founder Philippa Cordingley and Professor Toby Greany of University of London  Institute of Education completed the 'umbrella' review looking at "what constitutes effective professional development for teachers".

"Out of 947 source reviews the New Zealand Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme's Teacher Professional Learning and Development BES was found to be the most consistent and rigorous. The New Zealand Best Evidence Synthesis has substantively informed this new evidence about what it takes to develop great teaching that makes a difference for student achievement. "

All of the New Zealand best evidence syntheses were developed using agreed national guidelines.

Access the BES here and the International Academy of Education summary here. For updates on the BES see the BES Exemplars. Read more on using evidence to improve education.

12 June 2015

Raising mathematics achievement

Students in South Auckland are benefitting from the mathematical inquiry communities developed by Associate Professor Roberta Hunter from Massey University and her team. The teaching approach is culturally responsive and supports students to work together to solve maths problems, accelerating achievement for the students involved.

One News looked at the teaching approach and its benefits for Pasifika students.

Developed initially as part of Hunter's PhD, the approach was presented in BES Exemplar 1: Developing Communities of Mathematical Inquiry as a signature pedagogy. The BES programme will be focusing on an implementation of the approach from 2015 to 2017 to further support the accelerated improvement for students.

For access to any supporting research articles, contact the Ministry of Education Library or visit the Spotlight on Mathematics.

26 March 2015

Learning Logs

Exemplar 5 cover

Xanthe Sulzberger and her staff utilised NCEA data to track the impact of the learning logs on student achievement. They have documented student improvement in senior Physical Education classes.

Check out the results in her presentation slides Learning Logs: The impact they have on our students' outcomes [PDF, 570kb]

For more on Learning Logs, download BES Exemplar 5 Learning logs- He kete wherawhera [PDF, 1.2mb]

June 2014

Reciprocal Teaching featured in Edgazette

Exemplar 4 cover

Julia Westera and her work on Reciprocal Teaching is profiled in an article in the Edgazette.

For more information, check out BES Exemplar 4-Reciprocal Teaching, co-authored by Julia Westera, Adrienne Alton-Lee, and Cathy Pulegatoa-Diggins.

May 2014

Lessons from abroad

lessons from abroad

Dr Ashley Lenihan, Fellow of the London School of Economics,  makes recommendations about effectively promoting evidence-based policy. See her perspective on the BES Programme on page 10 of Lessons from Abroad.

04 December 2013 

BES Resources

Bes logo

Check out this powerpoint on using BES resources to develop more inclusive educational practices.

08 October 2013 

Counter-Bullying Pedagogies

Bes logo

Check out our new BES Spotlight on Counter-Bullying Pedagogies.

Most student bullying is invisible to teachers. Real change requires teaching approaches that build students' skills for caring learning communities.

24 September 2013 

'Bobbie maths' featured in Edgazette

Dr Bobbie Hunter has been working with  Mangere East Primary school on the highly effective approach to mathematics teaching featured in  BES Exemplar 1- Developing communities of mathematical inquiry.

Read the article on the Education Gazette website.

10 July 2013 

What's new for cases

The BES cases are now up online for all to use.

These cases describe actual examples of professional practice and explain the findings. These cases support educators to grasp the big ideas behind effective practice at the same time as they provide vivid insight into their application.

Building as they do on the work of researchers and educators, that has been shown to make a difference, the cases are trustworthy resources for professional learning.

Browse all the cases here.

27 June 2013

School Leaders value the BES Exemplars/Ngā Kete Raukura

The BES Exemplars were introduced to school facilitation teams at Te Kotahitanga hui in April 2013.  They created this slideshow to capture the positive feedback from leaders and teachers.  The waiata was composed and sung by Katarina Reedy, Te Kotahitanga Facilitator, Lytton High School.'

BES Exemplars explain educational approaches that have outstanding results in areas of need and policy priority. They were developed in consultation with teacher unions and leaders' groups. BES Exemplar 2:  Ripene Āwhina ki te Pānui Pukapuka explains a highly effective approach for accelerating progress in te reo Māori. This exemplar features the work of Te Kotahitanga Director, Dr Mere Berryman.

BES Exemplar 5: Learning Logs highlights a way to enable students to draw upon teacher feedback and feedforward  to accelerate their learning – a win/win for teachers and students.

From Te Kotahitanga from BES Programme on Vimeo.

School Leaders value the BES Exemplars/ Ngā Kete Raukura from BES Programme on Vimeo.

15 April 2013

Understanding Teachers' Learning

The University of Sussex, the University of Oxford and the  Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) hosted a series of seminars  on 'The Evidence for Understanding Teachers' Learning' early last year.

This work informed the 2013 International Summit on the  Teaching Profession which was attended by officials from New Zealand's  Ministry of Education and Education sector. This work examines social as well  as academic outcomes with a central focus on responsiveness to diversity.

They have shared some really interesting presentations  online. Check  them out here.

NZ's own Professor Helen Timperley, from the University of  Auckland, was interviewed by CUREE about  the use of research and evidence in informing educational practice in 2009.

28 March 2013

Spotlight on Mathematics/Pāngarau: new web page

How does the system support teachers to improve achievement in mathematics/pāngarau?

This page brings together a range of trustworthy resources designed to help those interested in improving students' achievement levels in mathematics/pāngarau.

Check it out here

22 February 2013

Order BES Exemplars for 2013

 Order free hardcopies of Best Evidence Synthesis Exemplars/ Ngā Kete Raukura here or check out our online copies

Hard copies of the BES exemplars/Ngā Kete Raukura and the BES Findings Overview are available free for schools and teacher educators in New Zealand.

The exemplars are 'wonderful, user-friendly resources to help our teachers' (Intermediate School Principal, Wellington) and the BES Findings Overview is 'like gold to schools' (DP Primary School, Dunedin).

4 Feb 2013

Podcast on the use of evidence in policy

Advancing the use of evidence to improve educational policy and practice :
David Gough Professor of Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice, University of London

Watch the podcast here

The Use of Evidence to Improve Education and Serve the Public Good

Invited BES Seminar, University of Cambridge

This seminar, given by Adrienne Alton-Lee, explores the challenges of mobilising research and development to inform ongoing improvements in valued outcomes for diverse (all) learners across school systems. The Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme is charged with developing trustworthy bodies of evidence about what does and doesn't work in education. The seminar will consider the significance of a new BES innovation - BES exemplars. These have been developed in response to feedback from practitioners about what they need to support their use of evidence to accelerate improvement. This seminar identifies key messages that can be used to inform effective use of evidence in the service of educational improvement for the public good. Adrienne Alton-Lee is the Chief Education Adviser for the New Zealand Ministry of Education's Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme.

powerpoint-icon PowerPoint Presentation [pptx, 6.8mb]

pdf-icon  The Use of Evidence to Improve Education and Serve the Public Good [PDF 1MB]

BES Exemplars

Indicator Icon BES exemplars Ngā Kete Raukura are available online.

BES/Hei Kete Raukura Overview

BES / Hei Kete Raukura A3 Overview pdf-icon BES / Hei Kete Reikura A3 Overview

A quick introduction to the use of BES/Hei Kete Raukura for educational improvement.
This Overview (1 page - two A3 sides for landscape print) has been developed in response to requests from teachers.

Kia nui ake te whaihua ki ngā hua whai uara mō ngā ākonga rerekura (katoa) i ngā kura: He Tirohanga o ngā kitenga o He Kete Raukura.

Making a bigger difference to valued outcomes for diverse (all) learners in schooling: Overview of Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) findings.

High Impact Research and Development BES Spotlight:

Making a bigger difference for our children. Research and development for educationally powerful connections

This is an interview between Michael Deaker and Dr Mere Berryman, Senior Research Fellow, Te Kotahitanga Research Unit, Waikato University and focuses on key aspects of the development, implementation and evaluation of key tools in the Poutama Pounamu programme. These tools include:

To play this interview please refer to the downloads/links box to the right.

You can read more about the high impact Poutama Pounamu research and development in Chapter 7 of the School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why best evidence synthesis.

BES Related pages


Contact BES

If you have any questions about BES,
please contact us at:

Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme
Ministry of Education
P O Box 1666
Thorndon, Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Phone:   +64 4 463-1542
Email:     Best Evidence Mailbox