Māori Student Achievement in Social Studies

Publication Details

In 2014, the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) assessed student achievement at Year 4 and Year 8 in two areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) – English: reading and social studies. This brief report presents the results for Māori students in social studies.

Author(s): Educational Assessment Research Unit and New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Report for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: July 2016

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Executive Summary 

Māori students made up about 22 percent of the NMSSA samples at Year 4 and Year 8. About 80 percent of Māori students in the sample attended low or mid decile schools at each year level.

Fifty-one percent of Māori students at Year 4 achieved above the minimum score on the Nature of Social Studies (NSS) assessment associated with achieving curriculum level 2 objectives and 25 percent at Year 8 achieved at the minimum score associated with achieving level 4 objectives. These percentages were lower than the corresponding percentages for all students in the respective national samples.

The difference in average scale scores between Māori students in Year 4 and Year 8 was 33 scale units. This was the same as the corresponding difference for all students in the national samples and is equivalent to an annualised average 'progress' score of about 8 scale score units.

Overall, Year 4 Māori students had more positive attitudes to social studies than Year 8 Māori students and this pattern was similar to the pattern for all students in the national sample. The association between achievement on the NSS scale and Attitude to Social Studies scale scores for Māori students was not statistically significant at both year levels.

Māori students reported on how often they experienced a range of activities that related to learning social studies at school. The majority of students at both year levels reported experiencing each of the activities at least 'sometimes'. There were some statistically significant, although weak, positive correlations between students' reports of how often each of the learning opportunities and experiences happened and their achievement on the NSS assessment. Two activities that showed a discernible relationship at both year levels were: 'I get to talk about and discuss my ideas with other people in social studies', and 'I feel good giving my opinion or ideas in social studies'.

Forty-five percent of Year 4 Māori students scored above the Year 4 national average on the NSS assessment and 40 percent of Year 8 Māori students scored above the Year 8 national average. These percentages were lower than the corresponding percentages for all students in the national samples at Year 4 and Year 8, respectively.

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