He Whakaaro: Education Insights

Publication Details

This is a series of short, easy to read papers, which look across the range of New Zealand education system evidence. They provide interesting and useful insights and highlight latest findings, new analysis or ways of looking at issues. They will provoke further thought and discussion on key issues such as; student progression and attainment, the factors that support learning and patterns and trends across education.

The series will be useful to policy analysts, people working in the programme and intervention area or frontline educators interested in knowing a little more about education evidence and data and how to use that in their work.

New papers will be available as they are developed. If you have ideas for, or questions about the series, please email: Requests EDK

Author(s): Various

Date Published: Various

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  • He Whakaaro: Are students’ educational expectations being met?

    The educational path that a student treads provides the basis for their future career and career-related outcomes such as their employment and earnings. Someone wishing to work as a psychiatrist, for instance, must complete a rigorous programme of medical and psychiatry training at tertiary level, and prior to that they must have successfully attained NCEA Level 3 with University Entrance. However, questions remain about the expectations that students have for their future education and whether they go on to fulfil their expectations. The purpose of this paper is to compare students’ education expectations with their education outcomes and examine differences between expectation and attainment, by socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity.

    Author(s): Emma Medina, Ryan Sutcliffe, with Analytical contributions by David Earle and David Scott, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: August 2020

  • He Whakaaro: School principals in New Zealand

    Strong and stable school leadership is critical to the success of our schools and kura, but little is known about the rate at which principals leave and move around the workforce.  This paper provides new insights into trends in turnover and characteristics of the principal and tumuaki workforce in state and state-integrated schools and kura.  It highlights that roughly one in eight schools saw a change of leadership in 2019 – a rate which has increased over recent years, driven by an ageing principal workforce.  The analysis also shows how turnover is changing the profile of the principal workforce, with greater numbers in the early stages of their principal careers and overall being more representative in terms of gender and ethnicity.

    Author(s): David Jagger, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: July 2020

  • He Whakaaro: The educational experiences of disabled learners

    New Zealand is committed to providing an inclusive education system, ensuring that disabled students are supported to achieve their potential, and can participate fully in society. To what extent have we achieved this? This research uses Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to combine the 2013 Disability Survey with data collected from early learning and schools. We use these data to provide one of the first systematic descriptions of the experiences and outcomes of disabled learners in the New Zealand education system.

    Author(s): Mercy Mhuru, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: June 2020

  • He Whakaaro: The importance of identity, language and culture for ākonga Māori

    This paper summarizes the findings of recent research completed by researchers at Kōtātā Insight using the Te Kupenga survey of Māori wellbeing. The research creates a new measure of Māori identity, language and culture, and links Te Kupenga respondents to ākonga Māori living in the same household. Researchers use this linkage for two applications: exploring the relationship between the identity, language and culture in the households of ākonga and their educational attainment; and estimating the impact that Māori medium education has on ākonga outcomes.

    This paper is a summary of research undertaken by Smith, Beltran-Castillon and Tibble. You can read the full report describing this research here: Ngā Tamariki O Te Kupenga.

    Author(s): Mercy Mhuru, Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: March 2020

  • He Whakaaro: Who exercises school choice? An analysis of out-of-zone-students

    Most families in Aotearoa New Zealand have the choice of which school to attend, and many opt to attend schools other than their nearest school. This paper uses linked administrative data from Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to examine the characteristics of students and families who actually make this choice. This analysis provides evidence on the extent to which schools with zones attract the most advantaged students from their surrounding out-of-zone areas – a practice known as ‘cream-skimming’.

    Author(s): Andrew Webber, Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: March 2020

  • He Whakaaro: How does school type impact on student outcomes?

    The question of what structure of schooling works best for students in the middle years is the subject of debate, but has been less studied by researchers. This report aims to find whether some school types are better or worse for student outcomes than others, and investigates the role that structural transitions (at the beginning of Year 7 and Year 9) play in affecting student outcomes. The report improves upon some limitations of previous analyses by adjusting for differences in student characteristics and for student movements that are not just between levels of schooling so that they can be ruled out as a reason for differences in student outcomes in intermediate schools.

    Author(s): Marian Loader and Andrew Webber, Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: March 2020

  • He Whakaaro: School attendance and student wellbeing

    Student wellbeing is a key priority of the education system, as well as the government as a whole. The government’s new Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy aims to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. One important measure of student wellbeing is whether students are participating in education. Non-attendance at school might be predictive of barriers to wellbeing that exist for students (for example, being bullied at school, or issues at home), and non-attendance might also make future wellbeing worse (missing out on learning might make students less engaged with the content they are learning, as well as with students, teachers and the school community).

    Unlike other aspects of wellbeing, student attendance is one area in which the education system collects regular and detailed data on outcomes for students. This raises the question of whether, in addition to directly measuring engagement and participation, attendance might also be a useful proxy measure for other aspects of wellbeing. This paper aims to explore the relationships between school attendance and other aspects of wellbeing (including experiences of anxiety, belonging, bullying, motivation, and unfair treatment), including whether observed attendance can be a useful indication of a student’s wellbeing in other domains.

    Author(s): Alexandra McGregor and Andrew Webber, Education, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: February 2020

  • He Whakaaro: What is the relationship between attendance and attainment?

    School attendance is the most crucial prerequisite for quality education - students cannot learn if they are not in school. Attendance is included as a key educational measure of wellbeing in the government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy (DPMC, 2019), and Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand (Statistics NZ, 2019). Attendance is an important indicator of student wellbeing, engagement in learning, and connection to school in its own right. But attendance is also a key driver of learning outcomes. Previous research has established that there is a strong relationship between attendance and student attainment (Gottfried, 2010; Ministry of Education, 2019a). This paper explores the nature of that relationship in more detail.

    Author(s): Andrew Webber, Education, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: February 2020

  • He Whakaaro: What affects how often mothers read books to their pre-schoolers?

    This insights paper uses data collected by the 'Growing Up in New Zealand' (GUiNZ) study to examine what affects how often New Zealand mothers read books to their pre-school aged children. The GUiNZ study has collected a wide range of information, including indicators of the skills and knowledge of a sample of approximately 6,000 children who, at 54 months of age, were nearly ready to start school.

    Author(s): Steve Thomas, Kane Meissel (University of Auckland) and Professor Stuart McNaughton (Chief Education Scientific Advisor) Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: December 2019

  • He Whakaaro: How can teachers and whanau effectively teach and support reading?

    This report is mainly based on major meta-analyses that have been conducted on how to teach reading, as well as some literature reviews and individual studies. Meta-analyses and literature reviews both aim to summarise the research literature on a topic, but meta-analyses differ in that they include a quantitative component. By taking the numerical results from dozens or hundreds of studies and combining them, they come to one overall average ‘effect size’ that is a more reliable estimate of an impact than any individual study.

    Author(s): Emma Medina and Andrew Webber, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: December 2019

  • He Whakaaro: Teacher Demand and Supply Planning Tool

    This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper introduces the Ministry’s new Teacher Demand and Supply Planning Tool and its initial results. The tool is designed to estimate the number of teachers required by schools in the future, and compare this with an estimate of how many teachers are expected to be employed by schools in future under current policy settings. It informs us how well the need for teachers in the future will be met, in terms of having either too few or too many teachers, if there are no changes to our current policies and school hiring practices.

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: October 2019

  • He Whakaaro: Transitions of Initial Teacher Education graduates into teaching

    This He Whakaaro explores the rate at which graduates completing Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes in New Zealand transition into teaching roles.

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: October 2019

  • He Whakaaro: Teacher turnover in New Zealand schools

    This He Whakaaro introduces insights into the levels and trends of regular teacher/kaiako turnover in New Zealand state and state integrated schools and kura.

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: October 2019

  • He Whakaaro: New teacher retention in New Zealand schools

    This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper looks at retention of new teachers/kaiako in New Zealand schools and kura.

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: October 2019

  • He Whakaaro: Accounting for educational disadvantage

    This He Whakaaro introduces insights into the level of socio-economic disadvantage across New Zealand’s schools. It is based on the first iteration of the Equity Index - an emerging methodology the Ministry of Education is developing for identifying individual barriers to educational success.

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: September 2019

  • He Whakaaro: What do we know about discrimination in schools?

    This report presents a summary of current knowledge regarding discrimination of students in New Zealand schools. It combines previously published research with new analysis undertaken using data from the Youth2000 series of surveys of secondary school students. We find evidence that students are discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, migrant status, religion, sexual or gender identity, disability or health status, and weight. We quantify the extent to which these different groups are subject to negative experiences on the basis of their identity, from both other students and from adults.

    Author(s): Andrew Webber and Alexandra McGregor, Education Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: September 2019

  • He Whakaaro: What developmental resources do our pre-schoolers have approaching the transition to school?

    These insights help us understand how children are tracking for further learning and development at school and they indicate some possible areas of concern.

    Author(s): Steve Thomas, Kane Meissel (University of Auckland) and Professor Stuart McNaughton, (Chief Education Scientific Advisor) for the Ministry of Education.

    Date Published: July 2019

  • He Whakaaro: How environmentally aware are New Zealand students?

    This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper uses data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to examine the awareness of a range of environmental issues in New Zealand English-medium secondary students and how this has changed in the last decade

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: March 2019

  • He Whakaaro: What can the NMSSA tell us about student progress and achievement?

    This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper highlights findings across the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) from the first cycle of the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA).

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: December 2018

  • He Whakaaro: Understanding student progress and achievement

    This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper describes why it is important for educators to understand and respond to both progress and achievement to enable children to maximise their potential. It summarises results from a new research dataset compiled by the Ministry of Education to illustrate the different insights that can be gained when looking at achievement relative to progress.

    Author(s): Ministry of Education

    Date Published: May 2018

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