A change in approach from schools can help turn around
students heading for failure, even over a short time, a new
There is also a warning that some schools focus too much on
students gaining NCEA credits when they are worthless in
terms of progression into further education or employment.
The recently published Education Review Office report,
Increasing Educational Achievement in Secondary Schools,
involved 16 schools who identified a target group of Year 12
students unlikely to achieve NCEA Level 2 by the end of last
In Term 3, the schools provided additional support for the
311 students. Subsequently, 189, or 61 per cent, achieved
NCEA Level 2.
The ERO then visited some of the schools to investigate how
they had attempted to turn around students' performance in
such a short time.
It has now recommended that all New Zealand's secondary
schools review how they track and monitor student progress,
identify students who are struggling, and offer extra
Schools should also look at how subjects taken match a
student's possible career and the involvement of families of
The report's authors concluded that, "a significant focus on
the individual student can make a difference, even in a short
period of time".
Meanwhile, a principals' council says credits gained through
weekend course programmes can be "great or meaningless".
"Extra work to ensure a student can master the literacy
standards is entirely appropriate," said Allan Vester,
chairman of the NZ Secondary Principals Council. "Picking up
credits for riding a quad bike over level terrain for an
urban student with no interest in a primary industry is not."
- By Nicholas Jones of the New Zealand Herald