Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Teachers Not To Blame

Teachers Not To Blame

Academics at Massey University have strongly criticised research carried out in South Auckland schools.

The Ministry and Minister of Education have used the media to give favourable attention to literacy research in Mangere and Otara. This attention has been very uncritical. Parents, teachers, and members of the public will have been misled if they think that the New Zealand research community accepts this research as valid and significant.

Two reports (PACE and FOCUS) have been widely publicised as “proving” that: teacher expectations are the key to student achievement; teachers typically have low expectations of children in low decile schools; changing teacher expectations raises the achievement of children in these schools to the average level; These improvements in achievement are sustained.

The Massey Education Policy Group argue that these claims are false. The original study on which the conclusions are based is seriously flawed and the conclusions drawn are seriously misleading. “Contrary to widespread claims,” they say, “the research does not show that responsibility for reading failure in low decile schools lies with teacher expectations.”

According to the Massey group Numbers in the study are too small to justify the claims made and the policy conclusions drawn from them; One third of the children being studied get ‘lost’ along the way; progress in learning is not sustained at the predicted level; if any gains were made they are not sufficient to bring the children up to the average level; no data on teacher expectations are provided and the teacher efficacy tests show no real change; the research does not show that home background is insignificant.

The Ministry of Education has cited this research as part of the justification for the expenditure of some $10 million. Because this research is so flawed, it may prove to be an expensive and wasteful use of public funds. The public will be interested to know that so much money is to be spent on proposals based on research that is very questionable.

“It is a scandal,” says the Group that “possibly fruitful research has been subject to inaccurate interpretation and media promotion by people who clearly have not read the reports and have little understanding of the research..”

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland