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Planning and managing change: Messages from the Curriculum Innovation Projects

The Curriculum Innovation Projects (CIPs) contract offered four schools and a school cluster two years of additional Ministry of Education funding, over 2003–2004, to assist them to find new ways to provide authentic learning contexts and support students to develop lifelong learning behaviours.

Three key areas were addressed in the evaluation:

  • how the CIP schools planned and initiated change
  • what the outcomes were for the schools as a whole, and for teachers and students
  • how school staff planned to sustain the initiatives

The findings from this evaluation are presented as a cross-school thematic analysis and a set of case studies.

The research drew on insights from the school change literature to identify the key factors that supported change in the CIP schools. These included: the sharing of leadership roles; the allocation of extra resources to seed initiatives, especially  in the form of release time for teacher meetings; and the development of a vision and a change process underpinned by good practice.

 The case studies show how change in a secondary school is a multi-faceted endeavour, and how the interplay between curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment, and school structures such as timetabling, can act to support or inhibit change. The benefits and challenges of locating change within the framework of a professional community are also discussed.

The case studies show that the teaching practices students enjoy—and see as supporting their learning—align with effective practices as described in the research literature. The case studies also give some examples of the deeper learning and engagement that is possible through the provision of carefully planned authentic learning experiences that make connections with the world outside school. The information collected also indicates a need for further change in the secondary environment and that a time frame of a minimum of 2-5 years may be necessary to embed change.

The findings suggest that new models are needed to assist schools and teachers to develop a lifelong learning orientation and to support teachers to recognise, teach, and assess lifelong learning behaviours. Further change needs to be supported by coherent messages at the national level to ensure that attempts to transform the ecology of schooling towards a lifelong learning orientation are deliberate, planned for, and align with existing influential aspects of schooling such as the NCEA.

The full report is available on application from the Ministry of Education.

Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
NZCER, for the Ministry of Education
Full text download: 
not full-text