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Competent Learners @ 16: Competency levels and development over time

C.Wylie and E. Hodgen

This report is the first to be released from the age-16 phase of the Competent Children, Competent Learners project. It looks at how students' cognitive competencies (numeracy, literacy and logical problem solving) and their attitudinal competencies are related. The predictability of students’ current levels of performance in relation to earlier levels of performance is also explored. A longer technical report has been written to accompany this report, which provides more detail of the results and the analysis behind them.

The findings contained in this report are consistent with the results from previous phases of Competent Children, Competent Learners, which highlight the importance of developing early numeracy and literacy skills. Early competency in these is related to students’ ongoing success in school.

The researchers found there was reasonable consistency in students’ cognitive competency scores over time. That is, students with high performance early on were more likely to perform well later, and, conversely, early low performers were more likely to have low performance later on. However, while there was consistency in student performance and competency development, results also show that students’ performance can change over time, and sustained improvement in students’ performance was likely to occur gradually, rather than through sudden gains.

Further results show how students’ cognitive and attitudinal competencies are related and influence one another, highlighting the need for both to be addressed in student learning.

NZCER, for the MInistry of Education, 2007.

Further reports and articles from the age-16 phase are scheduled to be released later in 2007.

More Competent Learners reports [on the Ministry of Education's website]
More about the Competent Learners longitudinal study

Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
NZCER, for the Ministry of Education
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