Final Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ programme pilot: Delivered in partnership with the University of Auckland

Publication Details

This is the final evaluation report of the Teach First NZ programme pilot, delivered in partnership with The University of Auckland. The Teach First NZ pilot programme is an alternative field-based Initial Teacher Education (ITE) two-year programme. The pilot programme operated between 2013 and 2016 with three annual intakes of up to 20 participants.

Author(s): Jenny Whatman, Jo MacDonald, and Eliza Stevens, New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: May 2017

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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

The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) has undertaken a 4-year evaluation of the Teach First NZ pilot programme, with these key evaluation questions:

  1. How well has the programme been implemented?
  2. To what extent has the programme achieved its overall outcomes and objectives?

Our first report focused on the programme's first year, with Cohort 13. The second report focused on Year 2 for Cohort 13 and Year 1 for Cohort 14. The third report focused on Year 2 for Cohort 14 and Year 1 for Cohort 15, and began to look at the programme's alumni pathways. This final report incorporates data relating to Year 2 for Cohort 15, but its main purpose is to draw together findings from the 4 years of the evaluation to make overall conclusions or evaluative judgements about the pilot programme.

In the annual evaluation reports we identified four key success elements of the Teach First NZ programme:

  • rigorous selection
  • programme responsiveness
  • effective support and mentoring
  • immersion in the classroom.

As part of our process for making summative judgements we reviewed all evaluation criteria to prioritise those aspects that evidence showed were critical. The "essential features" that emerged from this process are closely related to the key success elements identified in earlier reports. We conclude that in order to be effective the Teach First NZ programme must:

  1. attract and select people who have the capability to become effective beginning teachers and leaders in schools in low socioeconomic communities
  2. provide a responsive, cohesive programme
  3. partner with schools
  4. retain participants in teaching (particularly in schools serving low socioeconomic communities) or in wider education, in ways that build a community of Teach First NZ alumni.

The successful implementation of these essential features is critical for an employment-based ITE programme. In Teach First NZ's case there is an additional emphasis to help tackle educational inequality by partnering with secondary schools serving lower socioeconomiccommunities. In combination these features provide a powerful platform for this model of an alternative pathway into secondary teaching.

We found that the third essential feature is the weakest part of the current Teach First NZ platform. There is variability in the way these features play out in relation to partnerships with schools, including mentoring and in-school support, and participants' match with the school. We give more attention to these essential features in the concluding chapter of this report.

This final report confirms that, in general, the Teach First NZ programme continues to be effectively implemented, and has achieved its overall outcomes and objectives to develop effective beginning teachers who lead, and contribute, to reducing educational inequality in New Zealand.

Footnotes

  1. A full description of the Teach First NZ pilot programme can be found in previous evaluation reports:
  2. The report:  2013 Annual Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ Pilot Programme Delivered in Partnership with The University of Auckland.
  3. The report:  2014 Annual Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ Pilot Programme Delivered in Partnership with The University of Auckland.
  4. The report:  2015 Annual Evaluation Report for the Teach First NZ Pilot Programme Delivered in Partnership with The University of Auckland.

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