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Government Refining Research Strategy

Government-funded education research should be more in tune with long-term objectives, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Trevor Mallard's comments were made as nine literature reviews were released as part of a process to develop a set of strategic research priorities.

The reviews draw together cutting edge developments in specific areas of educational research, and the Government will use them, along with other information, to identify its research priorities for coming years. They were carried out by teams of education experts from New Zealand and overseas.

Trevor Mallard said the literature reviews were an important part of the Ministry of Education’s commitment to strengthening the research base that underpinned robust, “evidence-based” policy.

"They will help the Ministry identify the gaps in its knowledge, and what kinds of research might fill those gaps,“ he said.

"For example, one of the reviews looked at the research on how family and community resources influence student outcomes. It highlighted important research gaps where family and school influences on education outcomes tend to be seen in isolation from one another. There is also a research gap around how less visible student, school, and family influences like motivations, attitudes, and decision-making processes affect education outcomes.

Other reviews look at: early childhood education; the effects of curriculum and assessment on teaching and education outcomes; the influence of peer effects on learning outcomes; the effect of school resourcing on education outcomes; the effects of school governance, ownership, organisation, and management on education outcomes; human resources issues in education; quality in post-compulsory education; and enterprise-based education and training.

"Research is an important aspect of developing good education policy. We need to keep up to date with what works and what could work. We need to be constantly looking at ways to improve learning. But I also feel a need to ensure that research that is funded by taxpayers have a tangible use and that as Ministers, we have access to a good cross spectrum of research."

Trevor Mallard said the Ministry was now drawing together the main findings from the reviews, together with other information, to develop a new set of research priorities. These would guide the research the Ministry undertook and commissioned over the next few years. The Ministry is currently seeking advice and feedback about these priorities from different education sector groups.

The literature reviews and their authors are:

 The Impact of Family and Community Resources on Student Outcomes: An Assessment of the International Literature with Implications for New Zealand
Stanford University: Thomas Nechyba; Patrick McEwan; and Diana Older-Aguilar
 Early Childhood Education Literature Review
Children’s Issues Centre – Otago University: Anne Smith, Grace Grima, Michael Gaffney, Kim Powell, with input from Len Masse and Steve Barnett
 The Effects of Curriculum and Assessment on Pedagogical Approaches and on Education Outcomes
University of Waikato: Malcolm Carr; Clive McGee; Alister Jones; Elizabeth McKinley; Beverly Bell; Hugh Barr; and Tina Simpson
 Influence of Peer Effects on Learning Outcomes: A Review of the Literature
University of Auckland: Ian Wilkinson; John Hattie; Judith Parr; M ichael Townsend; Martin Thrupp; Hugh Lauder; and Tony Robinson
 Literature Review of the Effect of School Resourcing on Education Outcomes
BERL/Infometrics: Peter Norton; Kel Sanderson; Tony Booth; and Adolf Stroombergen
 The Effects of School Governance, Ownership, Organisation and Management on Educational Outcomes
John Rentoul and John Rosanowski, with Neil Dempster, Darrell Fisher,Neville Hosking, Roger Hunter, Geoff Pugh, and Geoffrey Walford
 Human Resources Issues in Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto: Michael Fullan and Blair Mascall
 Monograph on Quality in Post-compulsory Education
Education Directions: Jeremy Baker; Dave Guerin; and David Woodhouse
 Enterprise-based Education and Training – A Literature Review
Monash University/Australian Council for Educational Research: Michael Long; Rose Ryan; Gerald Burke, and Sonnie Hopkins

The reports are available by sending an e-mail to or by calling: 04 463 8306

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