In Fairness to Our Schools

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
27 September, 2019

Determining what works and what does not is important for any business developing better products and services. And keeping a close watch on quality control matters a lot too.

Unfortunately, in education, quality control has been slipping. Student outcomes on international tests in maths, science and reading have been flat or declining. And neither the Ministry of Education nor the Education Review Office (ERO) have been making use of the opportunities available for vast improvements in evaluating what works and what does not.

Last weekend we launched our latest education report, In Fairness to Our Schools: Better measures for better outcomes. The report presents its revolutionary school performance tool and explains how it can help improve outcomes for every student in New Zealand.

We linked information on student outcomes to data on those students’ families in Statistics New Zealand’s world-leading Integrated Data Infrastructure to build more accurate measures of school performance, and to stop unfairly blaming or rewarding schools for differences in communities they serve.

This will, for the first time, allow the Ministry and ERO to fairly compare school performance, so they can learn from the schools that do well and better support those schools that need it.

In the report, we demonstrate the tool’s potential and show how the Ministry can use it. Our extensive analysis of nearly 400,000 students across 480 secondary schools shows there are 42 decile 1 and 2 schools outperforming 75% of every other secondary school in the country when evaluated on University Entrance.

Using the insights gained from our tool, the Ministry and ERO can identify what the top-performing schools are doing to improve the education outcomes of their students and then spread those practices across every school in the country.

In addition to this, regular reports generated from our tool could be sent to every principal at every secondary school in the country, providing them objective, data-driven evidence on how their school is doing.

More can and should be done to learn what works best to improve the education outcomes of students in New Zealand. This report is the first of several that will demonstrate what is possible when we use data to inform our decisions in education and how it can be used to lift the education outcomes of every student in New Zealand.

The report is available here.

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates