What's New


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

'Walking the talk' matters in the use of evidence for transformative education

Download the Report: File Type & Size

PDF Icon   'Walking the talk' matters in the use of evidence for transformative education [PDF 748KB] 
         Alton-Lee, A. (2017, September)
         This paper was prepared in response to an invitation for a think piece for the UNESCO Project: Rethinking and repositioning
         curriculum in the 21st century: A global paradigm shift.


This paper focuses on:

  • quality teaching and effective pedagogical leadership for equity, excellence, belonging and wellbeing in education.
  • transformative professional development, education for a sustainable future, celebrating diversity, creating safe schools and supporting children by supporting parents and whānau.
  • how working together collaboratively reduces bullying, grows children's confidence, strengthens communication and interpersonal skills and builds resilience, adaptability, and problem-solving skills in our young people.

This paper highlights:

  • best evidence examples of Māori and Pasifika expertise driving inclusive educational improvement for the learning and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • the significance of education that supports the wellbeing of children affected by earthquakes.


View the Evidence in Action Videos highlighted in this paper:
For More About the Evaluation of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 Visit:


November 2017

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:

Link Icon   Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou.

August 2016

Evidence in Action

Evidence in Action: File Type & Size

PDF Icon   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 and 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.bring together practitioners, researchers and policy-makers committed to enhancing the development of the teaching profession.  For more information visit the University of Cambridge Leadership for Learning website.


View the New Videos: Best Evidence in Action 

   15 Videos: Best Evidence in Action
         These videos feature 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 in the Ka Hikitia: A Demonstration Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 2010-2012 report by Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee.

Kia Eke Panuku Logo See the newly released Kia Eke Panuku website, January 2016.


Here are the direct links to the following eBooks:


February 2016

Ka Hikitia - A Demonstration 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 the Full Report | View the Powerpoint Presentation

PDF Icon   Ka Hikitia A Demonstration Report: Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 (2010-2012)  [PDF 2.0MB]
Authored by Adrienne Alton-Lee. 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

  Powerpoint Presentation: Launch of Ka Hikitia: A Demonstration Report [PDF 3.9MB]


August 2015

Foreword update: School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES

Internationally recognised authority on educational reform, Professor Emeritus Michael Fullan, writes in a new foreword for the School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES that 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."

Read the full Foreword: 

PDF Icon   Foreword: School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Best Evidence Synthesis [PDF 437KB]
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

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

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 page on Education Counts.

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:


For More Information Download BES Exemplar 5 Learning Logs:

BES Exemplar 5 | Ngā Kete Raukura He Tauira 5
Learning logs - He kete wherawhera [PDF 1.6MB]
Strengthen teacher-student communication and accelerate achievement through the use of learning logs.
This exemplar focuses on NCEA Level 1 but is relevant across schooling.


June 2014

Reciprocal Teaching featured in Edgazette

Exemplar 4 cover

Julia Westera and her work on Reciprocal Teaching is profiled in the Education Gazette.  Read the article in the Gazette:


For More Information Download BES Exemplar 4 Reciprocal Teaching:

BES Exemplar 4 | Ngā Kete Raukura He Tauira 4
Reciprocal teaching [PDF 4.7MB]
Co-authored by: Julia Westera, Adrienne Alton-Lee, and Cathy Pulegatoa-Diggins.
Develop student leadership and accelerate literacy achievement across the curriculum. 
This exemplar provides examples at primary, intermediate and secondary levels.


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:

Link Icon   Page 10: Lessons from Abroad [LINK]
 International Approaches to Promoting Evidence-based Social Policy


4 December 2013

BES Resources

Bes logo

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


8 October 2013

Counter-Bullying Pedagogies

Bes logo

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

Link Icon   Spotlight on Counter-Bullying Pedagogies [LINK]
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. Read the article about Dr Bobbie Hunter's work with Mangare East Primary School: 'Bobbie maths' raising Pasifika achievement.


For More Information Download BES Exemplar 1

BES Exemplar 1 | Ngā Kete Rakura He Tauira 1
Developing communities of mathematical inquiry [PDF 3.8MB]
Accelerate achievement and counter bullying through effective mathematics teaching.

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

Bes logo

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

Link Icon   Spotlight on Mathematics | Pāngarau [LINK]
This page brings together a range of trustworthy resources designed to help those interested in improving students' achievement levels in mathematics/pāngarau.


22 February 2013

Order BES Exemplars for 2013

BES Exemplars

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. Order your free hardcopies from Orders at the Chair Mailbox or check out the BES Exemplars online

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 February 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

Visit the EIPPEE website for more information.



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.

View the Presentation | Download the Report: File Type & Size


BES Exemplars

Bes logo

BES Exemplars | Ngā Kete Rakura Are Now Available Online:
BES Exemplars | Ngā Kete Raukura


BES/Hei Kete Raukura Overview

BES: A3 Overview

BES | Hei Kete Rakura A3 Overview: File Type & Size

pdf-icon   BES | Hei Kete Reikura A3 Overview [PDF 3.9MB]
A quick introduction to the use of BES | Hei Kete Raukura for educational improvement. This one
page overview(two A3 sides 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 (To play this interview please refer to the 'BES Related Pages inset box, top right).  The interview focuses on key aspects of the development, implementation and evaluation of key tools in the Poutama Pounamu programme. These tools include:

Read More about the high impact Poutama Pounamu Research:

PDF Icon   Chapter 7: School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Best Evidence Synthesis [PDF 719KB]
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