PISA 2009: Māori Students Reading Workbook

Publication Details

This workbook provides some key findings about our Māori 15-year-olds who are in English learning settings (PISA was not administered in te reo Māori) based on the Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 (PISA 2009). To support school leaders and teachers of Māori students to act on the evidence, reflective questions are posed and Ka Hikitia and a number of resources that relate to the PISA reading findings are referenced.

Author(s): Maree Telford and Lynette Bradnam, Research, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: November 2013


Literacy knowledge and skills are necessary for learning in each area of The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education 2007), and for moving from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’. Literacy demands for the 21st century are continuing to increase and are essential for effective and productive participation in everyday life, in Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider world.

The findings from PISA are relevant for both primary and secondary school Māori students because PISA is designed to measure the cumulative learning at age 15-years - often referred to as ‘the cumulative yield’.

Within an international context, this workbook examines how well our Māori students are prepared for the 21st century global world. The reading literacy skills of our Māori 15-year-olds on average are weaker than their non-Māori peers (see p.18). This workbook focuses on students’ reading habits in the print medium (reading enjoyment, time spent reading, reading materials they read), the types of literary tasks that they do for school, and the motivational, scaffolding and structuring practices they experience in their English classes. It also provides information on students’ use and knowledge of effective learning strategies that are critical to their educational development, and the ways in which parents and whānau can influence their child’s reading skills. These findings are based on our Māori students’ responses to questions asked in the PISA 2009 student questionnaire.

Each of the six sections includes two key questions: What do the PISA 2009 findings tell us about our Māori students? and What might the PISA 2009 findings mean for our school leaders and teachers of Māori students?

The workbook has a focus on gender, given that boys’ reading literacy skills and knowledge are generally much weaker than girls, regardless of their ethnic grouping. It has been designed to stimulate discussion at the primary and secondary school level about how to:

  • encourage our teachers to think reflectively on their teaching practices for our Māori students and to encourage our school leaders to think reflectively on their leadership role to support teachers
  • encourage and promote parent and whānau involvement in their child’s learning nurture and encourage Māori students to read more
  • encourage Māori students to enjoy reading a wide range of materials
  • provide opportunities for our Māori students to tackle more complex and challenging texts and literacy tasks
  • extend Māori students’ reading skills and knowledge (particularly weak readers) by using motivational and scaffolding practices
  • empower Māori students with the knowledge of the most effective strategies that will enable, promote and advance their learning and educational development.

The resources referenced for school leaders and teachers of Māori students are underpinned by the Māori education strategy: Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 (Ministry of Education 2013) and its predecessor Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success 2008-2012 (Ministry of Education 2009). Ka Hikitia guides and measures quality education and provides a framework for action to accelerate the educational success for Māori students as Māori.

A key resource is Tätaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Students (Ministry of Education 2011). Tātaiako is about knowing, respecting and working with Māori students and their whānau and iwi so their worldview, aspirations, and knowledge are an integral part of teaching and learning and of the culture of the school.

Tātaiako supports school leaders and teachers to know how to validate and affirm Māori and iwi culture, and how to apply that knowledge. Each competency describes related behaviours for school leaders and teachers, and what the results could look like for students and their whānau.

They are closely linked to the Registered Teacher Criteria developed by the Teachers Council New Zealand | Matatū Aotearoa.

The competency Tangata Whenuatanga, identifies the importance of providing contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Māori students and their whānau is affirmed. However, Tangata Whenuatanga does not sit in isolation from other competencies.

Likewise, Ka Hikitia stresses the importance of identity, language and culture - teachers knowing where their students come from and building on what students bring with them - and building productive partnerships among teachers, Māori students, whānau and iwi. Focus Area 3: Primary and Secondary Education, in Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 (Ministry of Education 2013) specifies that education professionals must recognise and value the contribution of whānau, hapū and iwi, and build connections with them both inside and outside of school.

This workbook builds on PISA 2009 Reading Workbook - Acting on the evidence: what might the PISA 2009 reading findings mean for our teachers and school leaders? (Telford 2013) that focuses on the overall findings for New Zealand 15-year-olds. Some of its key messages are reinforced in the publication: PISA 2009: Our 21st century learners at age 15.

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