Continuity of Early Learning: Overview of Data Findings

Publication Details

This report provides a summary and synthesis of the findings of the data collection component of the Continuity of Early Learning: Learning Progress and Outcomes in the Early Years project.

Author(s): Linda Mitchell, Bronwen Cowie, Jeanette Clarkin-Phillips, Keryn Davis, Ali Glasgow, Ann Hatherly, Lesley Rameka, Louise Taylor and Maretta Taylor. Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, The University of Waikato. Report commissioned by the Continuity of Early Learning Workstream of the Minister's Cross-Sector Forum on Raising Achievement.

Date Published: July 2015

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This report addresses the following research questions exploring assessment practices around learning outcomes information in ECE services and the first years of school.

  • What learning information would/do parents and whānau, teachers in ECE services and junior schools value?
  • What is the practice around learning outcomes information in ECE services and the first years of school?
  • What learning outcome information is documented and exchanged between parents and whānau, ECE services and schools at transition points? How is the information used? What, if any, additional information would the different groups like/be able to use? In what ways do ECE services and junior schools articulate the difference they are making to a child's learning to parents, family and whānau?
  • How well are current systems used by ECE services and schools able to describe learning outcomes for their learners-for an individual child as well as at the service or school level?

Data were collected from a purposive sample of schools and ECE services with 'thoughtful' practice in four mainly low income communities in the North and South Island of New Zealand. There were one or two schools in each community, with two or three contributing ECE services for each school. These are referred to as "hubs" in this report. In addition, the assessment practices in four pairs of a single school/kura and ECE service/kōhanga reo are described. In total eight primary schools, one kura kaupapa Māori and 19 ECE services were involved in the data collection. A separate report, Case Studies of Assessment Practice, presents a full description and analysis of the case studies of the hubs and pairs.

Data were gathered through interviews with ECE teachers/educators, new entrant teachers and principals together with focus group interviews with parents in each setting. Examples of assessments of learning progress and outcomes that were valued were collected including photographs of wall displays and other ways of recording or communicating about children's learning.

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