Evidence about the ‘how’ of a shift away from ‘ability grouping’
in education April 2021
In the new report Ending streaming in Aotearoa the Ngāi Tahu-led Māori Futures Collective, Tokona Te Raki, with the support of 72 Iwi, is calling for urgent action on the policy imperative to end streaming and ‘ability’ grouping in education in Aotearoa.
NZEI Te Riu Roa has endorsed the report and called for urgency, seeking support and resource for national change.
Since 2003, a series of best evidence resources has highlighted evidence about the gains for diverse (all) learners when effective research and development informs mixed ‘ability’ grouping.
'Walking the talk' matters in the use of evidence for transformative education Alton-Lee, A. (2017).
Invited paper for the International Bureau of Education - UNESCO Project: Rethinking and repositioning curriculum in the 21st century: A global paradigm shift. Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education, Wellington: New Zealand.
These resources include best evidence in action videos featuring the multi-award-winning Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities pedagogy - a re/invention of educational practice led by Professor Roberta Hunter and Associate Professor Jodie Hunter in New Zealand. As the videos take you into primary and intermediate classes across Aotearoa, they explain, reference, and bring the evidence to life through the perspectives of the experts, the in-class mentors, school leaders, teachers, whānau, iwi, school trustees, teacher aides and children.
Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities
School leadership for improvement in primary mathematics education: Russell School best evidence in action implementation exemplar
Ambitious mathematics: Ratios, decimals, fractions and time for Ta’ovala Learning from Pacific expertise in education
These resources have also been developed through a valued partnership with NZEI Te Riu Roa.
Stunning results from culturally responsive maths Collins, H. (2018). Wellington: NZEI Te Riu Roa.
To all who have contributed: Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.
Rongohia te Hau: Effective support for
culturally responsive teachingJanuary 2021
‘It’s like the opposite of racism in this school’
‘Ko tātou ngā rangatira o āpōpō – It is us that are leaders of tomorrow’
This best evidence feature is about demonstrated Māori expertise in the ‘how’ of scaling improvement for Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori in English-medium education.
Rongohia te Hau, ‘Listening to the winds of change’, is a way of using evidence including survey responses from learners, whānau and teachers, and observations of teaching, to inform and develop culturally responsive teaching and leadership across the curriculum. The process builds on relationships with mana whenua, iwi, hapū, whānau, and Māori communities and is an enabling approach to responsive consultation for transformative and ongoing educational improvement.
- has been informed by evidence about the impact of the work of Professor Mere Berryman and the experts working in the Poutama Pounamu Research and Development Centre at the University of Waikato.
- reports comparative achievement gains and feedback from rangatahi about enjoying and achieving success as Māori.
- includes a video explaining the change from the perspective of three of the Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 school principals who have won Prime Minister’s Educational Excellence Awards.
- provides references to underpinning evidence including the touchstone of evidence of what does and does not work when evaluated by effects on Māori ākonga.
- brings the evidence to life through seven videos explaining the early learning journey of Te Kāhui Ako o Te Puke and Bethlehem College Chapman working with Poutama Pounamu experts to use Rongohia te Hau.
Ambitious mathematics: Ratios, decimals, fractions and time for Ta’ovala. Learning from Pacific expertise in education March 2020
In this best evidence in action video feature, teacher, David Ahlquist, and his Year 8 students at Koru School in Mangere, South Auckland, demonstrate a step up in culturally responsive mathematics teaching and learning using a Tongan context for learning. The videos demonstrate for teachers and leaders the pedagogical foundation for the acceleration of mathematics learning through ‘low floor, high ceiling’ mathematical tasks. Teachers learn to design tasks that make educationally powerful connections to the lives of every student to the benefit of the whole class.
The Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities (DMIC) research and development approach to capacity building, when well-implemented over time, lifts mathematics achievement, develops positive cultural identity and reduces peer bullying.
In the 2013 National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement in Mathematics and Statistics, only 11% of Pacific students at Year 8 were achieving at curriculum level 4 or above. In the 2018 New Zealand report almost 24% of Pacific students at Year 8 were achieving at curriculum level 4.
The Massey University DMIC team won the Mathematics Educational Research Group of Australasia Award for Māori and Pacific Success 2018. Co-leader, Professor Roberta Hunter, received an Excellence Award from the Cook Islands Government, and co-leader, Dr Jodie Hunter, was awarded a prestigious Rutherford Discovery Fellowship by the Royal Society in 2019. DMIC was featured in NZEI’s Professional Journal AKO 2018 - Stunning results from culturally responsive maths, and the recent Gazette article Taking maths into the hearts of communities.
Ambitious mathematics for young Pacific learners:
Dr Jodie Hunter demonstrates algebraic thinking for tivaevae March 2020
In this best evidence in action video series, Dr Jodie Hunter of Massey University teaches algebraic thinking for tivaevae to a group of Year 3 and 4 learners at Russell School in Porirua East. The videos demonstrate for teachers and leaders how to activate educationally powerful connections to the lives, experiences and identities of learners in a meaningful, non-tokenistic way.
The Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities (DMIC) research and development approach to capacity building, well-implemented, lifts mathematics achievement, develops positive cultural identity and reduces peer bullying.
Using evidence for a step up - Learning from Te Kotahitanga: impact, sustainability and ongoing improvement July 2019
The Wellbeing Budget 2019 committed $42 million over the next three years to implement, support and evaluate Te Hurihanganui. Te Hurihanganui has been co-designed to build on the success of Te Kotahitanga and extend it further across the education system and communities.
In 2018 the Ministry worked with Mātanga (experts) to co-design Te Hurihanganui. The ‘Using evidence for a step up’ feature was prepared at the request of the Mātanga to inform the design of Te Hurihanganui.
This feature explains and updates the Evaluation of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 report highlighting the impact of Te Kotahitanga on accelerating Māori success and addressing racism. It also introduces the large body of evidence available about the nature of the intervention, approaches taken to the involvement of iwi, whānau, leaders, teachers and communities, and highlights critical success factors related to impact, sustainability and ongoing improvement.
Learning from Te Kotahitanga: impact, sustainability and ongoing improvement and watch the video:
Taking the Lead – Celebrating our Curricula:
Best Evidence in Action video feature March 2019
NZEI Te Riu Roa and the BES programme partnered together to develop a best evidence in action video feature. Initially developed for the NZEI Te Riu Roa Taking the Lead – Celebrating our Curricula symposia, the feature highlights best evidence in action for equity, excellence, belonging and wellbeing in education.
This feature explains and celebrates the work of school leaders, teachers, and teacher aides working in partnership with iwi, family, whānau, aiga and communities.
School leadership for improvement in primary mathematics education:
Russell School best evidence in action implementation exemplarMarch 2018
Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities (DMIC) is a culturally responsive pedagogy for deep learning in mathematics through collaborative problem solving, developed by Professor Roberta (Bobbie) Hunter and Dr Jodie Hunter of Massey University. The videos in this new feature explain the critical success factors for implementation over the first two years of the change process at Russell School in Porirua East.
Reading Together® Te Pānui NgātahiJanuary 2018
Reading Together® Te Pānui Ngātahi is a four workshop intervention that helps parents and caregivers to support their children's reading at home. The videos in this new feature explain how Reading Together® can build trust, support children by supporting parents, increase access to reading, build productive partnerships, and counter harm. They include recent interviews with school leaders and whānau from St Joseph's School in Otahuhu and Manurewa Central School and highlight critical success factors for those planning and supporting the effective implementation of Reading Together®.
These videos highlight critical success factors for schools planning and supporting the effective implementation of Reading Together®.
For information about funding support for schools and who to contact in your local Ministry of Education Regional Office please email Reading Together
'Walking the talk' matters in the
use of evidence for transformative educationNovember 2017
This paper was prepared in response to an invitation for a think piece for the UNESCO Project: Rethinking and repositioning curriculum in the 21st century: A global paradigm shift.
- Walking the talk' matters in the use of evidence for transformative education Alton-Lee, A. (2017, September)
This paper focuses on:
- quality teaching and effective pedagogical leadership for equity, excellence, belonging and wellbeing in education.
- transformative professional development, education for a sustainable future, celebrating diversity, creating safe schools and supporting children by supporting parents and whānau.
- how working together collaboratively reduces bullying, grows children's confidence, strengthens communication and interpersonal skills and builds resilience, adaptability, and problem-solving skills in our young people.
This paper highlights:
- best evidence examples of Māori and Pasifika expertise driving inclusive educational improvement for the learning and wellbeing of children and young people.
- the significance of education that supports the wellbeing of children affected by earthquakes.
Ngāi Tahu partnership
for best evidence innovation in mathematics education August 2016
Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou (Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities ) has been initiated in 2016 in Shirley Primary School, funded by Ngāi Tahu kaumatua, Laurie Loper, in memory of his brother, through the James Stewart Loper Trust. The bequest is administered through a partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Massey University, Shirley Primary School, and the Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education joined Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou partners at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to celebrate the bequest on 21st June.
This video provides insights into the nature of this best evidence approach and the early benefits to the children of Shirley Primary School.
The views in this video are not necessarily the views of the New Zealand Ministry of Education.
- Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities Hangaia te Urupounamu Pāngarau Mō Tātou.
Evidence in Action May 2016
- Evidence in Action:
Bringing the 'how' of equity, excellence and inclusion in education to the forefront of policy dialogue [PDF 154KB]
Invited paper prepared for the April 2016 Cambridge Seminar: 'Thinking about Teachers, Teaching and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' 2016.
These Cambridge seminars organized in partnership with Open Society Foundations (OSF) ; Education International (EI) ; and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) , bring together practitioners, researchers and policy-makers committed to enhancing the development of the teaching profession.bring together practitioners, researchers and policy-makers committed to enhancing the development of the teaching profession. For more information visit the University of Cambridge Leadership for Learning website.
15 Videos: Best Evidence in Action
These videos feature the use of evidence to make a much bigger difference in mathematics education.
eBooks Released to Support Professional LearningFebruary 2016
10 eBooks that present the theory behind, and practical examples of, effective practice in teaching and learning are being released online. The electronic books in this collection are an outcome of more than 13 years of iterative research and development and are for use by facilitators within a structured professional learning context in Te Kotahitanga.
This collection of eBooks represents many years of learning from a research partnership between Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop and Associate Professor Mere Berryman with the Poutama Pounamu research whānau. Their work investigates and informs system-change solutions to the educational disparities experienced by indigenous and other minoritised groups.
They have been developed to give facilitators in the field mobile access to rich media to support professional learning.
This collection is being used and being iteratively developed in Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success and reflects the findings in the Ka Hikitia: A Demonstration Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 2010-2012 report by Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee.
Ka Hikitia - A Demonstration ReportAugust 2015
This report analyses the impact of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 on Māori student achievement and explores the design and implementation features that enabled such accelerated improvement. It has implications for policy makers, teachers, middle and senior leaders, principals, providers of& professional learning, communities, Boards of Trustees, Ministry of Education staff and other government agencies.
"[An] excellent report", "as New Zealand moves forward with Ka Hikitia, I would hope that ... the data reported in Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5, 2010-12 will be considered carefully" - Quality Assurance by Christine Sleeter, California State University.
Authored by Adrienne Alton-Lee. Hard copies of the BES have been reprinted and are now available to New Zealand educators to order free from Down the Back of the Chair.
Foreword update: School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES23 June 2015
Internationally recognised authority on educational reform, Professor Emeritus Michael Fullan, writes in a new foreword for the School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES that the Ministry's Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis publications are "the single best research review series on education matters around the world."
He says the findings of the leadership BES (first published in 2009) have enduring significance, and challenges all partners in New Zealand education "to make sure that the findings and implications from this synthesis [are] used as a point of departure for new action."
Hard copies of the BES have been reprinted and are now available to New Zealand educators
to order free from Down the Back of the Chair.
Effective Professional Development Matters:
Acclaim for New Zealand Best Evidence Synthesis12 June 2015
A new, comprehensive review has been launched in the UK House of Commons on professional learning and development. Commissioned by the Teacher Development Trust and TES Glodal, Durham University Professors Rob Coe and Steve Higgins, Centre for the Use of Research Evidence in Education (CUREE) founder Philippa Cordingley and Professor Toby Greany of University of London Institute of Education completed the 'umbrella' review looking at "what constitutes effective professional development for teachers".
All of the New Zealand best evidence syntheses were developed using agreed national guidelines.
Raising mathematics achievement 26 March 2015
Students in South Auckland are benefitting from the mathematical inquiry communities developed by Associate Professor Roberta Hunter from Massey University and her team. The teaching approach is culturally responsive and supports students to work together to solve maths problems, accelerating achievement for the students involved.
One News looked at the teaching approach and its benefits for Pasifika students.
Developed initially as part of Hunter's PhD, the approach was presented in BES Exemplar 1: Developing Communities of Mathematical Inquiry as a signature pedagogy. The BES programme will be focusing on an implementation of the approach from 2015 to 2017 to further support the accelerated improvement for students.
Learning LogsJune 2014
Xanthe Sulzberger and her staff utilised NCEA data to track the impact of the learning logs on student achievement. They have documented student improvement in senior Physical Education classes. Check out the results in her presentation slides:
Strengthen teacher-student communication and accelerate achievement through the use of learning logs.This exemplar focuses on NCEA Level 1 but is relevant across schooling.
Reciprocal Teaching featured in EdgazetteMay 2014
Julia Westera and her work on Reciprocal Teaching is profiled in the Education Gazette. Read the article in the Gazette:
Co-authored by: Julia Westera, Adrienne Alton-Lee, and Cathy Pulegatoa-Diggins.
Develop student leadership and accelerate literacy achievement across the curriculum. This exemplar provides examples at primary, intermediate and secondary levels.
Lessons from abroad4 December 2013
Dr Ashley Lenihan, Fellow of the London School of Economics, makes recommendations about effectively promoting evidence-based policy. See her perspective on the BES Programme:
- Page 10: Lessons from Abroad International Approaches to Promoting Evidence-based Social Policy
BES Resources8 October 2013
Counter-bullying Pedagogies24 September 2013
- Spotlight on Counter-bullying Pedagogies
Most student bullying is invisible to teachers. Real change requires teaching approaches that build students' skills for caring learning communities.
'Bobbie maths' featured in Edgazette10 July 2013
Dr Bobbie Hunter has been working with Mangere East Primary school on the highly effective approach to mathematics teaching featured in BES Exemplar 1. Read the article about Dr Bobbie Hunter's work with Mangare East Primary School: 'Bobbie maths' raising Pasifika achievement.
Accelerate achievement and counter bullying through effective mathematics teaching.
What's new for cases27 July 2013
The BES cases are now up online for all to use.
These cases describe actual examples of professional practice and explain the findings. These cases support educators to grasp the big ideas behind effective practice at the same time as they provide vivid insight into their application.
Building as they do on the work of researchers and educators, that has been shown to make a difference, the cases are trustworthy resources for professional learning.
School Leaders value the BES Exemplars/Ngā Kete Raukura15 April 2013
BES Exemplars explain educational approaches that have outstanding results in areas of need and policy priority. They were developed in consultation with teacher unions and leaders' groups. BES Exemplar 2: Ripene Āwhina ki te Pānui Pukapuka explains a highly effective approach for accelerating progress in te reo Māori. This exemplar features the work of Te Kotahitanga Director, Dr Mere Berryman.
BES Exemplar 5: Learning Logs highlights a way to enable students to draw upon teacher feedback and feedforward to accelerate their learning – a win/win for teachers and students.
Understanding Teachers' Learning28 March 2013
The University of Sussex, the University of Oxford and the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) hosted a series of seminars on 'The Evidence for Understanding Teachers' Learning' early last year.
This work informed the 2013 International Summit on the Teaching Profession which was attended by officials from New Zealand's Ministry of Education and Education sector. This work examines social as well as academic outcomes with a central focus on responsiveness to diversity.
They have shared some really interesting presentations online. Check them out here.
NZ's own Professor Helen Timperley, from the University of Auckland, was interviewed by CUREE about the use of research and evidence in informing educational practice in 2009.
Spotlight on Mathematics/Pāngarau: a new web page22 February 2013
- Spotlight on Mathematics/Pāngarau
This page brings together a range of trustworthy resources designed to help those interested in improving students'achievement levels in mathematics/pāngarau
Order BES Exemplars for 20134 February 2013
Hard copies of the BES Exemplars | Ngā Kete Raukura and the BES Findings Overview are available free for schools and teacher educators in New Zealand. Order your free hardcopies from Orders at the Chair Mailbox or check out the BES Exemplars online
The exemplars are 'wonderful, user-friendly resources to help our teachers' (Intermediate School Principal, Wellington) and the BES Findings Overview is 'like gold to schools' (DP Primary School, Dunedin).
Podcast on the use of evidence in policy4 February 2013
Advancing the use of evidence to improve educational policy and practice:
David Gough Professor of Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice, University of London Visit the EIPPEE website for more information.
The Use of Evidence to Improve Education and Serve the Public Good
Invited BES Seminar, University of Cambridge
This seminar, given by Adrienne Alton-Lee, explores the challenges of mobilising research and development to inform ongoing improvements in valued outcomes for diverse (all) learners across school systems. The Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme is charged with developing trustworthy bodies of evidence about what does and doesn't work in education. The seminar will consider the significance of a new BES innovation - BES exemplars. These have been developed in response to feedback from practitioners about what they need to support their use of evidence to accelerate improvement. This seminar identifies key messages that can be used to inform effective use of evidence in the service of educational improvement for the public good. Adrienne Alton-Lee is the Chief Education Adviser for the New Zealand Ministry of Education's Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme.
BES Exemplars | Ngā Kete Rakura are now available online:
BES | Hei Kete Raukura Overview
- BES | Hei Kete Reikura A3 Overview [PDF 3.9mB]
A quick introduction to the use of BES | Hei Kete Raukura for educational improvement. This one
page overview (two A3 sides landscape print) has been developed in response to requests from teachers.
High Impact Research and Development BES Spotlight:
Making a bigger difference for our children. Research and development for educationally powerful connections
This is an interview between Michael Deaker and Dr Mere Berryman, Senior Research Fellow, Te Kotahitanga Research Unit, Waikato University (To play this interview please refer to the 'BES Related Pages inset box, top right). The interview focuses on key aspects of the development, implementation and evaluation of key tools in the Poutama Pounamu programme. These tools include:
- Tuhi atu, tuhi mai
- Tatari Tautoko Tauawhi
- Te Tāuta Reta (TATA)
You can read more about the high impact Poutama Pounamu research and development in Chapter 7 of the School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why best evidence synthesis.