Results and Findings
This graph shows an impressive increase in the proportion of Year 11 students attaining NCEA 1 for the first cohort involved In Te Kotahitanga (2006) relative to the one before (2005), and that this increase was substantially larger than the average 2005 - 2006 increase at decile-matched comparison schools.
According to the analysis of the Teacher Participation Survey, Te Kotahitanga teachers reported that their understanding of and appreciation for the kaupapa of the project, to improve Māori student achievement, and the support they receive within their schools, is directly related to improving Māori students’ outcomes. Analysis of data from feedback sessions and co-construction meetings revealed teachers are experiencing challenges along with affirmations of their emerging positionings and practices as they participate in the new institutions developed to support the implementation of the ETP in their classrooms. Within these new institutions, they are being encouraged to further engage in discourses that: (a) have a focus on raising Māori students’ achievement, (b) reject or respond to deficit theorizing and (c) are agentic. Perhaps most importantly, given the concern over this issue expressed by our government, ministry officials, educators in general, Māori parents and the students themselves, we are seeing improvements in numeracy for Māori students in the classrooms of teachers who have repositioned themselves discursively and literacy gains for all Māori students. The greatest gains, however, were for those in the lowest stanine groups.
Does it work for other ethnicities?
The following table shows that between 2005 and 2006 an increased percentage of students from all ethnic groups gained NCEA level 1 in both Te Kotahitanga and non-Te Kotahitanga schools. But the increase for Māori and students from Te Kotahitanga schools was much greater, indicating that the programme was having a long-term positive impact on these students in addition to its immediate positive impact across the student body. The 16.4% increase in 2006 for Māori students represents a 50% increase over the 2005 levels of attainment.
The following graph shows the percentage gains made by students achieving NCEA level 1 data for 2005 and 2006 by ethnicity compared to national norms.
Educational reform is not a simple matter and does not happen by accident. It is detailed, complex and time-consuming work. However, with the quality of our teachers, careful attention to research and to a growing evidence base, and with highly skilled in-school professional development, facilitators and principals, we are seeing changes in what was once seen as an immutable problem.
Te Kotahitanga is now working in 49 secondary schools, 12 of whom have been in the project since 2004. In 2008 the programme reached approximately 2,000 teachers and nearly 20,000 students.Our current work is focussing on the sustainability of the gains made by these schools and in this we want to emphasise the vital roles played by the schools' principals and other leaders.
While the bulk of the research is being funded by the Ministry of Education, a key step in building recognition for the gains that might be possible in New Zealand schools was a Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga grant to enable work on delivering the gains sustainably across many schools.
“After 16 years of teaching, my whole approach to teaching has been transformed by participation in this programme and the support provided by the school’s facilitation team. Māori students in my classes are achieving at levels consistent with and in some cases above New Zealand national means. The disparity between Māori and non-Māori achievement is quickly disappearing and students love coming to Mathematics classes.”
Analytical Note: Initial Results of Estimating the effect of Te Kotahitanga's model of pedagogy
James Ladwig, The University of Newcastle, March 2012.