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Student achievement

Student achievement – the board’s main focus

The current NZ School Trustees Association effective governance training programme is focussed on student achievement.  The training looks at the key factors that influence student achievement:

  • Quality teaching – teachers use assessment data to inform their own teaching practice to improve the way they teach their students and work with other teachers to improve teaching across their school and across education.  Boards need to be asking their principals if they are employing quality teachers.
  • Leadership – principals play the most significant part in building and leading a school culture that is focussed on students and their achievement.  Everyone – teachers, support staff, parents as well as students – need to be learners in a community of learners.  Boards need to be asking their principals about the new learning that their staff are engaged in.
  • Parents, family and whanau – sharing and discussion around student achievement information helps to engage parents in their student’s learning.  Boards need to see evidence about how parents and whanau are being engaged with their students.
  • Governance – boards are the link between their school and their community.  Boards need to ensure they are working with school leaders to see that good teaching practice is meeting the needs of their students.

The training programme has a focus on receiving and understanding data – and then asking the right questions to explore “what is this telling us”, “so what”, “now what”.  The board should be asking itself what part it plays in planning and target setting to ensure the focus on student achievement is bringing results.

Board members attending this training are encouraged to go to and look for the section on Public Achievement Information (PAI).  Here they can view the progress being made towards the national goal of having 85% of students achieving at or above National Standards which in turn works towards 85% of students achieving NCEA Level 2.  This data is available at a national level, at a local authority level (and in Auckland’s case at a local board level).  More importantly they can download the achievement data for their own school – and for their neighbouring schools if they want to see how well they match up.

About Alan Curtis

Educationalist, education consultant, school groupie


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