Competent Children, Competent Learners
This longitudinal NZCER project tracks the development of a group of children from near 5 through school. It analyses the impact of different experiences and resources on a range of competencies, and what can help narrow the gaps between children. The age-20 phase of the research has been completed and the findings shared with policy advisers and others interested in how young New Zealanders develop through their education and how well they are supported. The researchers hope to do a further phase of the study.
The age-20 phase was funded by the Ministry of Education and NZCER.
Main aims of the Competent Children / Learners project
- To describe and analyse variations and changes over time in children's and young people's cognitive, social, communicative, and problem-solving competencies.
- To see what impact children's and young people's early childhood education experiences, family resources, home activities, relations with peers, and engagement in school and school resources have on these competencies.
- We hope that what we learn will extend and deepen our understanding of children's and young people's development, and the roles that different resources and experiences play.
- We also hope to identify some promising directions for improving children's competency levels, and for lessening the gaps between children and young people in different circumstances.
We have completed research for and reported on:
- Phase I - just before age 5 (New Zealand children start school at age 5)
- Phase II - age 6
- Phase III - age 8
- Phase IV - age 10
- Phase V - age 12. Report and summary released in August 2004.
- Phase VI - age 14. Reports released in 2006.
- Phase VII - age 16. Reports released in 2008-2009.
- Phase VIII - age 20. Reports released.
The Competent Children/ Learners project:
- tracks the long-term development of around 500 children from the Wellington region, from just before they started school at age 5
- gathers data comprehensively from teachers, parents, and the young people
- has a very high rate of retention.
What are competencies?
Competencies are combinations of knowledge, skill, and attitude, which can be observed in everyday activities, or measured by giving specific tasks.
What competencies are we exploring?
Competent Children/Learners explores a set of competencies linked with successful learning, and with satisfying economic and social participation. It covers:
- social skills
- individual responsibility
- literacy (reading and writing)
- logical problem-solving
Reports and papers:
Listed below are the many reports and papers from this study.
View additional reports that have been released by the Ministry of Education: Competent Children, Competent Learners.
Project funded by the Ministry of Education and by the Purchase Agreement with the Ministry of Education