Curriculum Stocktake: Report to Minister of Education September 2002

Publication Details

This is a report from the Ministry of Education to the Minister and Associate Minister of Education. IT IS NOT A STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY. A Curriculum Stocktake project paper was considered by Cabinet early in 2003. The curriculum stocktake report analyses the recent New Zealand curriculum reform experience in terms of: * the appropriateness of the New Zealand curriculum and te marautanga o Aotearoa in the current educational, social and economic climate * the purposes of these curricula * the quality of these curricula in contributing to improved student outcomes, meeting the expectations of a range of stakeholders and against comparable international curricula. Published: September 2002

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: September 2002

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

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.

Executive Summary

Introduction

Following a major public consultation on the curriculum in the mid-1980s, the Department of Education began work on an overall framework for a revised school curriculum. With the publication of The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa in 1993, curriculum policy shifted from a focus on content to a policy based on outcomes. Since that time, curriculum statements and ngā tauākī maratanga mō te motu have progressively replaced syllabi.

The curriculum stocktake report analyses the recent New Zealand curriculum reform experience in terms of:

  • the appropriateness of the New Zealand curriculum and te marautanga o Aotearoa in the current educational, social and economic climate;
  • the purposes of these curricula; and
  • the quality of these curricula in contributing to improved student outcomes, meeting the expectations of a range of stakeholders and against comparable international curricula.

Since implementation of the current curricula began, the following changes have occurred:

  • wider consultation with Māori on their aspirations of education;
  • research now links certain pedagogy to improved student outcomes;
  • New Zealand society has continued to diversify;
  • the Internet is increasingly available, resulting in international recognition of the importance of digital literacy and the value of aligning curriculum goals, ICT usage and teaching;
  • increasing globalisation has resulted in greater recognition of social connectedness and the need to acknowledge the uniqueness of indigenous culture, language and traditions; and
  • recognition of the importance of balancing the social outcomes of education with a focus on academic achievement, triggering an international resurgence in citizenship and values education.

Major Findings

International assessment data indicates that by the end of the period of the compulsory curriculum, the performance of a large group of New Zealand students is world-class. However, wide disparities of outcomes for groups of students persist. In particular, Māori students achieve at a significantly lower level than non-Māori, and Pasifika students achieve at a significantly lower level than non-Pasifika students do. However, the range of achievement within any group is wider than the range of achievement between any two groups.

It would appear that, for the group of students who succeed, New Zealand's national curriculum is, for the most part, effective.

  • The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa are coherent, sound statements, which teachers perceive as useful for providing an overarching policy framework and providing a direction for preparing students to live and work in the 21st century.
  • The curriculum statements reflect similar cognitive expectations to international curricula.
  • The structure of the curriculum statements is useful for planning programmes, gaining an overview of the progression of key ideas and achieving consistent understanding of the levels within schools.
  • The curriculum statements and ngā tauākī marautanga mō te motu are flexible enough so that teachers can meet the needs of their students, and they reflect pedagogies which research has linked with increased student achievement.

Although the information from the curriculum stocktake is mostly positive about the effectiveness of the New Zealand curriculum and te marautanga o Aotearoa, wide disparities in outcomes and increasing experience in the use of the statements indicate that some modifications are needed.

Recommendations

The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa should be modified using a process of consultation and trialling.

Cross-disciplinary teams should be involved in the revision of The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa. These teams should include those with expertise in the essential learning areas, essential skills, attitudes and values and assessment, as well as those with expertise in ngā wāhanga ako, ngā tino pūkenga, ngā waiaro me ngā uara and te aro matawai. Consultation with representative groups from different sectors of New Zealand society, including parents/whānau, members of Māori and Pasifika communities and business should occur.

These two frameworks should be mandated as overarching foundation policies. The part of the Education Act that allows for the gazetting of such statements was added to the Education Act in 1998, and carried through in the most recent amendment in 2001.

Kura Māori and schools should be authorised to use either policy or a combination of both.

As most Māori students are in schools that use The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and curriculum statements (in English), the underlying philosophy of both frameworks should reflect their status as tangata whenua and expectations of `best outcomes' for all students. The frameworks should be similar in structure and coherent with each other, but not just translations. Considerations should be given to whether a bilingual version of Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa should be developed for kura, schools and teachers.

The modified versions of the frameworks should be similar in structure to the existing frameworks. The following sections should be retained (with modification to content to reflect Māori social and academic aspirations):

  • principles/ngā mātāpono;
  • essential skills/ngā tino pūkenga;
  • attitudes and values/ngā waiaro me ngā uara;
  • essential learning areas/ngā tino wāhanga ako;
  • assessment/te aro matawai; and
  • context/te horopaki.

In addition, the following should be added:

  • a clear statement of the purposes of curriculum/marautanga as being to clarify expectations for all New Zealand students and to develop the human capability necessary for a prosperous and inclusive New Zealand society;
  • a section on effective pedagogy;
  • a section on the relationship between the New Zealand curriculum/te marautanga o Aotearoa and Te Whāriki; and
  • a section on the relationship between the New Zealand curriculum and te marautanga o Aotearoa and qualifications and work.

The principles/ngā mātāpono should be revised so that there is coherence between the purposes of the national curricula/te marautanga o te motu.

The essential skills/ngā tino pūkenga should be modified from the current organisation of fifty-seven essential skills/ngā tino pūkenga in eight groupings to five essential skills and attitudes (motivation and discernment to use these skills):

  • creative and innovative thinking;
  • participation and contribution in communities;
  • relating to others;
  • reflecting on learning;
  • developing self-knowledge; and
  • making meaning from information.

The values outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa should be modified and have a more explicit role in frameworks and support materials. The values of the frameworks should not be presented as an exclusive list.

The essential learning areas/ngā wāhanga ako sections of the framework documents should be modified to include the expected outcomes (aims and achievement objectives) from the curriculum statements/ ngā tauākī marautanga o Aotearoa. The broad and flexible nature of the achievement objectives should be maintained, but they should revised to ensure that they:

  • reflect the purposes of the curricula/ngā marautanga;
  • are critical for all students; and
  • better reflect the future-focused curriculum themes of social cohesion, citizenship, education for a sustainable future, bicultural and multicultural awareness, enterprise and innovation and critical literacy.

This recommendation aims to address some of the concerns about the curriculum manageability, crowdedness, and a need to prioritise learning in the national curricula/ngā marautanga o te motu.

The essential learning area Language and Languages/Te Kōrero me ngā Reo should be two separate learning areas - English/Te Reo Māori and Languages. This separate area would include heritage, community and foreign languages and the learning of English and te reo Māori as second languages. Schools should be required to provide instruction in an additional language for students in years 7 to 10 (except for Māori immersion settings), but it should not be mandatory for all year 7-10 students to learn another language. Generic outcomes for Languages should be developed and included in the revised New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa.

The section on ngā tino wāhanga ako should ensure that language and layout is consistent between statements.

Information about `good practice' from the National Assessment strategy will need to be incorporated into the reviewed frameworks replacing much of the current text on Assessment. This section will explain the nature of effective assessment practice rather than providing specific guidance on how teachers must assess student learning.

Once The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga O Aotearoa are gazetted, the legal status of the current curriculum statements and ngā tauākī marautanga o Aotearoa should change to that of support materials. Once modification of The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa has been completed, the curriculum statements and ngā tauākī marautanga o Aotearoa should be modified to include the new outcomes. Each modified statement should include more specific information on effective pedagogy and assessment strategies for increasing achievement and social outcomes, and reducing disparity.

Support materials and professional development should be provided that focus on developing teachers' understanding of the content knowledge that underpins each of the curriculum statements and ngā tauākī marautanga mō te motu.

In addition, professional development and materials should be developed for teachers on:

  • the most effective strategies for integrating and linking curricula/ngā marautanga; and
  • how teachers can better recognise and cater for diversity in all of the essential learning areas and ngā tino wāhanga ako.

Professional development and materials for kura Māori should reflect Māori aspirations for education and be cognisant of the difficulties of working in Māori medium education. More resources for children and teachers should continue to be developed. Considerations should be given to whether bilingual versions of guidance materials should be developed for kura Māori.

Publications explaining The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Anga Marautanga o Aotearoa should be developed for parents/whānau, community organisations and the business sector.

Footnotes

  1. It is important to note that, while student outcomes are used as a proxy for curriculum quality in this report, many factors influence outcomes. National curriculum policy, therefore, can only promote or inhibit achievement, rather than directly influence it.
  2. Pasifika peoples is the term used by the Ministry of Education to describe people living in New Zealand who have migrated from the Pacific Islands or who identify with the Pacific Islands because of ancestry or heritage, vary considerably (eg Pacific Island, Pacific Nations person, Polynesian, Pacific Islander, etc). "Pasifika peoples" is used to differentiate with other people who view themselves as being Pacific based on New Zealand being a country in the Pacific region. "Pasifika peoples" does not refer to a single ethnicity, nationality, gender or culture. The term is one of convenience used to encompass a diverse range of peoples from the South Pacific region or people within this country who have strong family and cultural connections to Pacific Island countries. Hence, the use of "peoples" rather than "people." Pasifika peoples are not homogenous and include those who have been born in New Zealand or overseas. It is a collective term used to refer to men, women and children of Samoan, Cook Islands, Tongan, Niuean, Tokelauan, Fijian and other Pasifika or mixed heritages. It includes a variety of combinations of ethnicities, recent migrants or 3rd, 4th or 5th generation New Zealand-born.