Nairn, K., Higgins, J., & Sligo, J. (2012). Children of Rogernomics: A neoliberal generation leaves school. Otago University Press. Reviewed by Jennifer Tatebe
Central to New Zealand National Standards is the concept of overall teacher judgements (OTJs). This paper examines the concepts of OTJs and standards through international literature and experiences of a sample of New Zealand teachers in 2010. Standards contain expectations—what is, what could be and what might be desirable— implicit degrees of performance. Teacher capacity to judge current and future performance is important. With multiple opportunities to gather pertinent information, teachers are best placed to make valid (unequivocal) judgements on student achievement when they have shared understandings of standards. Because standards are comprised of multiple criteria, not all of which are evident in samples of student achievement, teacher understanding of standards develops through professional conversations and moderation processes. In 2010 New Zealand teachers had mixed (equivocal) understandings of National Standards, applied them in different ways and had minimal experience of moderation processes.
Despite statistical literacy being relatively new in statistics education research, it needs special attention as attempts are being made to enhance the teaching, learning and assessing of this strand. It is important that teachers are aware of the challenges of teaching and assessing of literacy. The growing importance of statistics in today’s information world and conceptions of statistical literacy are outlined and models for developing statistical literacy from research literature are considered. A four-stage framework for assessing statistical literacy from our design research is proposed. Responses to tasks used in our research are provided to explain the levels of thinking and the article concludes with some implications for practice and research.
This article examines the different outcomes that have emerged in the framing of knowledge for senior secondary school subjects through the process of aligning curriculum and assessment. By tracing paths of development in the Alignment of Standards Project for history, art history, classical studies and social studies it can be seen that differing approaches to the nature and inclusion of knowledge have created distinctions between those subjects that enable a high degree of teacher autonomy in the selection of knowledge, and those that are more prescriptive. The relationship between curricula and assessment is examined, giving consideration to current debates about the “voice of knowledge” (Young, 2012, p. 139) in curricula and the blurring of boundaries between the means of acquiring knowledge and the disciplinary knowledge itself.
This Assessment News article discusses an important opportunity to develop and extend the Māori-medium knowledge base by helping teachers both to identify the oral Māori-language proficiency of students in their first years of Māori immersion education, and to connect the Māori-language progression of student outcomes with key curriculum documents.
Assessment for learning (AfL) has been touted as one of the most promising pedagogical approaches for enhancing student learning. Research suggests that engaging students in AfL helps to improve their achievement, develop metacognition and support motivated learning and positive self-perceptions. However, despite these promises, there have been notable barriers impeding teachers’ use of AfL in their classrooms. Time and class sizes; conceptual confusions related to AfL; perceived misalignment between system priorities and classroom assessment practices; and a lack of effective models for professional development on assessment have all been cited as critical challenges in promoting the implementation of AfL in classrooms. Given these challenges, in this paper we ask: What would it take to make AfL integration possible and practical within the current context of education? In response to this question, we assert the benefits of using contemporary approaches to teacher professional learning that explicitly address gaps and challenges in AfL implementation. Further, we provide grounding for a programme of research in developing teachers’ assessment capacity by first summarising challenges to the integration of AfL and then exploring potential directions for professional learning in this area.
In this article, Yvonne, a junior school teacher, describes how she decided to explore how key competencies could be integrated into the daily programme, and assessed, without creating extra workload for teachers. The article outlines how, with support from Keryn and Sue, Yvonne developed a way in which she could document the learning of key competencies and the learning of the subject-related learning areas at the same time. She recognises that the two go together like "clasped hands with the fingers entwined", and this leads her to "split-screen" pedagogy and analysis of the learning. Examples are included, and responses from parent interviews are added.
Recent changes to New Zealand’s senior secondary school qualifications include the introduction of standards that allow students to demonstrate evidence of competency in literacy and numeracy via “naturally occurring evidence”. Such evidence can potentially be drawn from routine learning activities in a wide range of subject areas. However, teachers of other subjects may not have the literacy or numeracy expertise to identify and leverage relevant opportunities, or to accurately judge the quality of evidence generated so that judgements against the standard are made reliably. This paper documents a system of distributed professional learning, decision making and record keeping that one secondary school has evolved to address these challenges.
This paper suggests The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars for Learners with Special Education Needs and the accompanying booklet, Narrative Assessment: A Guide for Teachers, can potentially transform the ways we think about teaching, learning, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment for the group of students considered most likely to be learning within level 1 of The New Zealand Curriculum for most of their time at school. The complex relationship of beliefs and practices around disability, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are described. These beliefs and practices are the context for the development of the exemplars. The paper concludes with cautions and possibilities for the exemplars.
Te Whāriki has two learning outcomes: dispositions and working theories. The concept of dispositions has been developed much more fully, while working theories has tended to be the “neglected sibling”. This article aims to flesh out the concept of working theories, drawing on a range of sociocultural theories. It provides a work-in-progress definition and examples from a recent research project.
This article discusses the perspectives and experiences of Chinese immigrant parents in New Zealand early childhood settings. The findings suggest that the parents’ behaviour is aimed at raising children with an understanding of both New Zealand and Chinese culture. A key feature of this bicultural development, however, is a disconnect between activities at home and at childcare. The research highlights conflicts involved in forming a cross-cultural community of practice in which immigrants’ funds of knowledge interact with those of early childhood centres.
Two teachers research the documentation, continuity and complexity of key competencies in their combined new entrant, Year 1 and Year 2 classroom. They wanted to find ways to make the continuity visible without losing the complex interconnection of three aspects: key competencies, subjects and topics of interest. They saw the value of analysing case studies, and began to describe them as co-constructed pathways of learning. This article sets out the case study for one of the children, Kaleb, analysing the learning using four dimensions of strength.
Directions for Assessment in New Zealand (DANZ), published in March 2009, was written to provide strategic advice to the Ministry of Education to guide and inform the design of new and improved strategies, policies and plans for assessment. The central premise of that advice is that all young people should be educated in ways that develop their capacity to assess their own learning. Students who have well-developed assessment capabilities are better able and motivated to access, interpret and use information from quality assessment in ways that affirm or further their learning.
In placing students at the centre of assessment practice, the advice is consistent with the best of current thinking, including the ideas behind “assessment for learning”, the use of assessment feedback to enhance teaching and learning and professional learning designed to assist teachers to enhance their students’ assessment capabilities.
Whānau are integral to the educational wellbeing of Māori students in English-medium education. However, very little Māori educational research has been carried out with an explicit focus on identifying the critical issues for whānau in education. This article presents whānau aspirations in English-medium education, and identifies elements that advance whānau educational aspirations. The article concludes with reflective questions that aim to help teachers keep whānau involved in their teaching work.
Addressing the achievement disparities that exist within New Zealand education for Māori is identified by the Ministry of Education as being a critical challenge for school leaders that requires committed and responsive leadership. The case study presented in this article describes the leadership practices of a primary school principal whose school is one where the majority of the Māori students were meeting or exceeding national expectations (for all students) in reading in 2009. The principal’s theorising and associated practices provide a potential model for what constitutes culturally responsive leadership that facilitates success for Māori students.
A key way students develop their statistical understanding at primary school level is by undertaking data-rich investigations. This article suggests scaffolding students through a statistical enquiry cycle in which students define the problem, plan the investigation, collect and analyse the data, draw conclusions and communicate their findings. It gives examples of primary school students successfully planning investigations, collecting and graphing their own data and drawing statistical inferences from it, using tasks from the Assessment Resource Banks.
Pasifika learners. NCEA, as the nationally endorsed means of measuring achievement, exerts considerable power over what educators teach Pasifika young people is important and of intrinsic value for them as they prepare to take their places in society. This article argues that the NCEA drama texts are culturally charged with stereotypical character and theme types that promote negative constructions of identity in young Pasifika people. These texts also promote misunderstandings about what it means to be Pasifika by non-Pasifika learners. This article also contends that the NCEA drama assessments do not necessitate the use of culturally responsive Pasifika theatre forms, such as the Samoan comic form Fale Aitu. This research recommends that these forms could be a way forward in appropriately addressing the needs of the multicultural classroom
The focus section of this issue of set is a collection of articles that discuss various aspects of key competency development in the early primary school years. These articles were selected from a wider collection first published in a special edition of Early Childhood Folio.
This issue of Early Childhood Folio ranges from a big-picture and readable review of the main debates within the literature about play in Western settings, to a small, qualitative, in-depth case study of a single child and the use of narrative inquiry to explore concepts of wellbeing and its link to personal identity. All of the authors draw out clear and sometimes challenging implications for the role of the teacher, making the collection highly relevant to practitioners and those working in teacher education and professional development.
Assessment Matters 4 explores questions of assessment practice and how assessment practices known to support learning might be facilitated. Articles discuss:
- implementing assessment for learning
- maintaining a community of practice around moderation processes
- making overall teacher judgements
- incorporating likeability in low-stakes performance tasks
- assessing learning for summative and accountability purposes without resorting to national testing
- using exemplars to make assessment judgements about learners with special educational needs
- setting a big-picture policy direction for building teacher and student assessment capability.
Educational change in New Zealand has been a hot topic in 2012. We have faced cutbacks, closures, charter schools and league tables, not to mention the ‘rejuvenation and consolidation’ of Christchurch schools following the 2010/2011 earthquakes. A common reaction has been resistance—from teachers, principals, teacher unions, academics and, in the cases of class sizes and the Christchurch closures and amalgamations, also from parents and boards of trustees.
In many centres, classrooms, schools and tertiary institutions, teachers might respond to top-down change with immediate outrage, deliberate avoidance, partial adoption, major adaptation, sneaky subversion or even quiet revolution. When we trust teachers and educational leaders to make decisions based on their professional judgement, these acts are more likely to be thoughtful and positive rather than negative and detrimental.
It is these positive acts of thoughtful critique that this issue of Curriculum Matters celebrates. While some authors in this this issue take an overt and deliberate stand against current curricular and educational policy directions, others quietly keep progressive ideals alive through their creative, reflective and innovative practices.
In the last edition of Assessment News (Part 1 of this “quick guide”), we looked at how measurement error limits the precision of test scores. In this edition of Assessment News we examine how another source of error—sampling error—affects how we can use test results for a group. For example, we need to consider sampling error if we want to use the test results to make judgements about the general effectiveness of the teaching and learning programme the group was involved in.
Three years ago Ruth Round began teaching her Year 4, mixed-ability class in ways that made music central to her teaching while at the same time integrating The New Zealand Curriculum focusing in particular on language learning, poetry and art. Through a theoretical frame based on the ideas of Vygotsky, Ruth’s programme is underpinned by her belief that music is an art, a discipline, a language and a vehicle of instruction. This paper examines Ruth’s expansive learning programme in its third year as a pedagogy of success.
Museums offer many opportunities for developing knowledge of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. This article reports on research involving a kindergarten located in a national museum. It discusses children’s growing understanding of te ao Māori (the world of Māori) through their regular visits to the collections and exhibits in the museum and suggests teachers in early childhood centres may find connecting with their local museum a valuable resource for enhancing bicultural practice.
Gifted education is an evolving kaupapa for Māori and Māori-medium settings. Māori perspectives of giftedness are not finite and static, but rather dynamic and evolving. This article tells a story about gifted education within a Māori-medium setting, and identifies factors that have enabled or hindered successful engagement with gifted education as experienced in this particular Māori-medium setting.
There seems to be an increase in children entering school with globally delayed development, including poor gross and fine motor skills. What ways are there to increase these students’ skills so they are able to access more activities?
Ka nui te rekareka o Te Wāhanga ki te tuku i tēnei putanga motuhake o set, ko Te Haere a ngā Ākonga Māori i ngā Ara Rapu Mātauranga te arotahinga. Katoa ngā tuhinga o tēnei putanga, mō ngā kaupapa rangahau e tāpae kōrero ana ki te ao rapu mātauranga o Aotearoa, he kitenga rangahau ko te taunakitanga tonu tōna tūāpapa. Hei aha? Hei whakapai ake i te takahi haere a ngā ākonga Māori me ō rātou whānau i ngā ara kimi mātauranga o Aotearoa.
It is with pleasure that Te Wāhanga introduces this special edition of set focusing on Te Māori i ngā Ara Rapu Mātauranga—Māori Education. All articles in this edition are based on the work of researchers who are aiming to provide the education system in Aotearoa New Zealand with evidence-based research findings that can contribute to improving the educational experience of Māori students and their whānau.
Liz Patara, principal of Clyde Quay School, Wellington, responds to a question from Mark Bradley of Wellington College: "What advice would you give to someone who is new to teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand about how to go about integrating culturally responsive teaching and learning pedagogy in line with Ka Hikitia?"
Ethics is a valuable way to approach science in primary school because grappling with ethical issues engages students. Focusing on ethics encourages students to extend their understanding of scientific concepts as it is essential to have a sound grasp of the science in order to meaningfully evaluate different positions. For teachers looking to enhance their practice in this area, the ethics-in-science planning tool presented in this article might be a useful resource to consider. The tool supports teachers to think through and develop a detailed lesson sequence for teaching ethics in science.
Middle-level leaders in schools have a critical role in mentoring teachers as they work with the teaching-as-inquiry process. One-to-one interactions and professional conversations with each teacher largely determine the quality of inquiry, both for an individual teacher and on a school-wide basis. In this article, an experienced senior secondary school leader explores the conditions necessary for school-wide inquiry to flourish, and explains why mentorship needs to be valued and to operate at a range of levels within the school if effective inquiry is to be initiated and sustained.
The Infants’ Lives in Childcare research project aims to investigate what life is like for infants in group care from the perspective of infants themselves. One outcome of the project is a greater appreciation of the extent to which preverbal infants strategically employ looking and listening-in behaviour in making meaning within their physical and social worlds. Frame-by-frame analysis of video material illustrates how a 14-month-old in a family day care home strategically engaged with objects, the educator and his peers in a play environment. The resultant photo narrative raises questions about the role played by educators in supporting infants’ developing social competence.
Marae ā-kura (school marae) have been part of the New Zealand educational landscape for nearly 30 years. Marae ā-kura began amidst the wider kaupapa of cultural regeneration; they are also a response to state school policies of assimilation, integration and Taha Māori. Marae ā-kura represent the aspirations of Māori as well as the Government’s aspirations for Māori. This article considers two strands in the whakapapa of marae ā-kura: a Māori-led initiative to revitalise Māori language and culture in schools; and the Government’s selective inclusion of Māori culture in the curriculum. Marae ā-kura provide a context to not only teach Māori, but to learn as Maori.
Teachers, educators and leaders have privileged roles in responding to the educational aspirations of our Māori learners, whānau, hapū, iwi and communities. This article considers the responsibilities of this group, the amount of work they take on as individuals, and the need to work collectively and with a shared vision to achieve the aspirations of our people.
The significance of experiences in nature for children’s learning and development has been expounded by philosophers and educationalists for centuries. In many contemporary early childhood education (ECE) settings, such experiences are highly valued. Nowadays, Froebel’s notion of kindergartens as “children’s gardens” is likely to be complemented by ideas from Steiner, Montessori, Malaguzzi and, more recently, by Scandinavian notions of forest kindergartens. In Aotearoa New Zealand the natural environment of the bush or “ngahere”, as it is known in te reo Māori, is also seen as a significant learning environment. This article explores some of the pedagogical issues a group of ECE teachers encountered with children during an action research project looking at teaching and learning possibilities in nature-based settings “beyond the gate”.
Current notions of “good” citizenship have become closely related to the pursuit of good health and wellbeing. This, alongside popular claims that physical education can be associated with the promotion of particular morals, values and attitudes, suggests that the subject may be viewed as cultivating a specific type of person or “body”. A number of ideological and political tensions associated with the development of the personally responsible citizen in physical education are analysed before I argue that The New Zealand Curriculum, partnered with an action oriented critical pedagogy, has the potential to extend students beyond the personally responsible and to some extent the participatory concepts of citizenship to a more justice-oriented approach.
This article describes my research project which sought to discover generalist primary teachers’ perspectives on including visual arts in their classroom programme, and the factors that supported or limited them in this. A picture of the everyday classroom and its complex demands emerged from the quantitative and qualitative data gathered in three primary schools. The participants’ experiences were consistent with those reported in the research literature and confirmed the marginal status of visual arts education in the primary classroom. I found that neoliberal education policies, and also the dominance of the “theoretic” over the “practical” in the mandated curriculum, have created some significant challenges for primary teachers in this aspect of their teaching.
A lot of emphasis is currently placed on the need for principals to be instructional leaders or leaders of learning. In the study of the instructional leadership of secondary principals reported in this article, the authors argue that instructional leadership can be both direct and indirect. Direct instructional leadership is focused on the quality of teacher practice itself, whereas indirect instructional leadership creates the conditions for good teaching. Indirect instructional leadership is particularly important for secondary principals because much of the direct leadership is carried out by deputies and heads of department. The authors found that, when looking at the achievement results of the school as a whole, different instructional leadership behaviours predicted high performance and improvement.
What happens if the local context where a higher education curriculum is being delivered shifts in a dramatic and undeniable way? Would or could the curriculum and pedagogy be adapted to address that shift? If so, how and for what purpose? These questions are addressed through a brief review of relevant literature on responsive curriculum and a case study of a service-learning that was developed at the University of Canterbury (UC) in response to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. Through research conducted on this course, it has become apparent that there are discernible learning outcomes for students that can be attributed to the implementation of a responsive curriculum.