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The Ministry Of Education Must Adopt New Tool For Measuring School Performance Objectively & Fairly

Wellington, 6 March 2020 – A groundbreaking new tool could give parents and principals the first objective measurement of New Zealand school performance, says a new report released today by The New Zealand Initiative.

Insights and Excellence: School success in New Zealand demonstrates the quality of information, analysis and reporting that could be provided to every parent and principal in the country using the data already collected by the Ministry of Education and other government agencies.

Compiled by Policy Analyst Joel Hernandez, the report uses case studies of three secondary schools, including Southern Cross Campus in Auckland. The other two schools chose to stay anonymous, but voluntarily offered themselves for the proof-of-concept experiments.

Presented as individual school reports, Insights and Excellence shows how the schools performed over a ten-year time span relative to themselves and to every other secondary school in the country.

The data was drawn from Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). In a world-first achievement, Mr Hernandez used the IDI to evaluate every school on an even playing field by connecting multiple data sets on 400,000 students from 480 schools.

The tool was used on three schools to objectively measure their performance in education by separating the contribution of each student’s family socioeconomic background from the contribution of each school.

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“This new report isn’t about giving gold stars to New Zealand’s high performing schools or creating new league tables,” Mr Hernandez says.

“We want to demonstrate that the Ministry of Education now has the opportunity to identify the high-performing schools – regardless of decile – and learn about the most effective practices for getting the best education outcomes for every student.”

“And equally important, parents, principals and boards of trustees parents will be given a fairer and more accurate picture of how their child’s school is performing,” Mr Hernandez concludes.

Peter Parussini, Chairman of Southern Cross Campus, underlined why providing the education sector with objective, data-driven information and insights to improve educational outcomes is so important.

“As the chair of the school board, accurate information about the performance of our students is critical to continual improvement. Our community is highly aspirational and looks to our school to be the social and economic escalator for their children. But for administrators and educators, it’s hard to measure progress and success.

“The New Zealand Initiative’s way of looking at that will be useful for us to improve and to know where we are going well, what areas to focus on and, hopefully in future, to share with other schools,” he says.

Read more:

  • An embargoed copy of Insights and Excellence: School success in New Zealand – including the three case studies – is attached at the bottom of this page.
  • You can read more about the Initiative’s work on measuring school performance in New Zealand in our previous report In Fairness to Our Schools: Better measures for better outcomes, available here.


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