Pasifika 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 Pasifika 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

Pasifika students made up about 12 percent of the NMSSA samples at Year 4 and Year 8. Seventy-eight percent of Pasifika students in the Year 4 sample attended low decile schools and, at Year 8, the figure was 52 percent.

At Year 4, 37 percent of Pasifika students achieved above the minimum score on the Nature of Social Studies (NSS) assessment associated with achieving curriculum level 2 objectives and 21 percent at Year 8 achieved above 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 Pasifika students in Year 4 and Year 8 was 41 scale units. This difference was equivalent to an annualised average 'progress' score of about 10 scale score units. This was greater than the corresponding annualised 'progress' score for all students in the national sample.

There was relatively consistent 'progress' from Year 4 to Year 8 for boys and girls.

Overall, Year 4 Pasifika students had more positive attitudes to social studies than Year 8 Pasifika students and this pattern was similar to the pattern for all students in the national samples. The association between achievement and Attitude to Social Studies scale scores for Pasifika students was not statistically significant at either year level.

Pasifika 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. At Year 4, responses to the statement 'My teacher tells me how well I'm doing in social studies' was negatively correlated with achievement.

Twenty-nine percent of Year 4 Pasifika students scored above the national average for all students in Year 4 and 36 percent of Year 8 Pasifika students scored above the national average for all students in Year 8.

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