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Growing independence : A summary of key findings from the Competent Learners @14 project

Cathy Wylie, Edith Hodgen, Hilary Ferral, Rachel Dingle, Jean Thompson, and Rose Hipkins

Competent Learners @ 14 is the latest research in the longitudinal Competent Children/Learners project which, since 1993, has tracked the development of a group of around 500 children from near-5 through school.

The overall project analyses the impact of different experiences and resources on a range of competencies, and what can help narrow the gaps between children.

At age 14, students have made the transition to secondary school and, in most cases, reached mid-adolescence in good shape. The findings show reasonably strong connections between earlier performance and performance at age 14, and highlight the importance of:

  • quality early childhood education
  • good early foundations for learning, particularly in reading and mathematics
  • reading, especially an enjoyment of reading
  • positive learning environments and engagement in learning
  • the inter-relationship of school and home
  • teachers and parents – they make a difference.
Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
Ministry of Education
Full text download: 
not full-text
Hilary Ferral
Janet Rivers
Jean Thompson
Rachel Felgate