Making a difference to Pasifika student achievement in literacy

Publication Details

This research report explores classroom and school-related factors associated with improvements in the literacy achievement and progress of Pasifika students beyond expected levels in schools participating in the Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP). It also identifies the nature of the professional development support that facilitated these outcomes.

Author(s): Auckland UniServices Limited for the Ministry of Education

Date Published: November 2012

Executive Summary

Theme One of this report (Chapters 1–3) consists of an introduction to the project and the associated research, a description of the data collection and analysis methods together with a summary of student achievement in the participating schools. The research is located within the national Professional Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP) that was designed to achieve the national strategic goals of raising student achievement and reducing disparities.

The LPDP project has involved three cohorts of schools (N = 91, 127 and 84, respectively), each of two years duration. The data from the two later cohorts show that, on average, students in the second cohort (2006–2007) progressed at around 2.5 times the expected rate in writing and 1.5 times for reading while the figures for cohort three (2008–2009) were 3.2 and 1.9 times the expected rate, for writing and reading, respectively. The project focus was on accelerating progress for students who began in the lowest 20% of the cohort. Over all three cohorts, this group, on average, made the greatest progress, between 2.4 to 6.2 times the expected rate nationally. The success of the project in raising student achievement, particularly for those students in the lowest quintile and for Pasifika students, made it important to try to identify how raising this achievement and accelerating progress happened.

It needs to be noted that LPDP was never intended to be a specifically 'Pasifika initiative'. Rather, the project was intended to convey a set of general, evidence based principles that would enable school leaders to support their teachers, and teachers to engage in effective practice, while catering for the diverse literacy needs of students in a wide range of contexts. The schools that participated in the current research each had a significant percentage of Pasifika students, and it is on these students that we focus.

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