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Getting to know the students

Collecting relevant and sufficient data on Pasifika students’ achievement helps schools to track the progress of their Pasifika learners, make informed changes to their pedagogy, programmes and practices and be affirmed when their data reveals learning gains.


Key content

Schools are effective in collecting and using data on Pasifika student achievement when they:

  • collect data that extends beyond one academic year – they track achievement patterns over time
  • monitor the shifts in the distributions of their achievement levels – they compare these with national expectations
  • monitor the rates of gains – they find out whether their Pasifika learners are achieving at more than just a normal rate of progress
  • examine the progress of higher-achieving Pasifika students – all students need to be academically challenged
  • keep checking and refining the data they collect – they use the data to inform their practice in order to keep their Pasifika students ‘on the achieving path’.

“Assessment can improve teaching and learning when teachers adjust their teaching to take account of the results of assessment.”  Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 89


Thanks to the principals, staff and students of Aorere College, McAuley High School, Mangere Bridge School, Sylvia Park School, Mary MacKillop School and Wymondley Road Primary School for their contribution.

Things to think about

  • As your school implements The New Zealand Curriculum, is there a specific focus on raising the achievement of your Pasifika learners. If so, how do you know it’s working? If not, why not?
  • What does your school’s data tell you about the achievement of your Pasifika students? What doesn’t the data tell you? What will you do about this?
  • How does your school use data to help track the performance of its Pasifika students? How do you use the data? Is your use of the data effective in increasing their achievement patterns? Do you have a long-term focus?
  • Do you use data on Pasifika student achievement to track your performance and improve your teaching? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • What are the benefits of collecting data? Give an example of changing your practice in response to data you have collected on the achievement of your Pasifika students.
  • How would you describe the level of achievement among Pasifika students at your school? Has this always been the case? What kinds of initiatives have been undertaken? Have these worked? How do you know?


Tone Kolose
I think going through that process of understanding, looking at your data, pulling it to bits um looking at cohorts and looking at students who are doing well, those students who are not doing well, but trying to find strategies in terms of what can we do to push those students that we say that the data informs our next lot of practice.

Lynne Van Etten 
I think that we’re always looking at data in the PSCPL project that we’re involved in we had the data which we collected at the beginning for a group of students, and now we can analyse that as they’ve moved through the school and that's been really positive.

Tom Brown
We use data an awful lot, we use the asTTle test in the beginning, we use a PAT on reading. We use that information to inform us of the students’ general ability. It's not specific and it shouldn't be taken as being specific but it gives a general indicator.

Lynne Van Etten 
It's great for the teachers to see actually the shifts that they make with the students learning from one year to the next. So it's really reaffirming for the staff to see the changes that they can make.
Actuality – Staff meeting

Don Biltcliffe
Last year and this year we're moving towards using E-asTTle, which is an assessment that can be done in any of the core subjects. The purpose of the reading test is that it gives me four areas that the children are achieving or not achieving in. The advantage to E-asTTle is that its marked for me so teacher error in marking is eliminated, and I get the results almost immediately to report back to the children with. 

Glen Ryan
We’re always checking, so we’re always with our five and six year olds we have a wedge graph and we’re always plotting along where are they from the standard, how close, how do we get them there. So always checking always refining and always talking with each other.

Lisa - student
The teaching here is different. When I was little at my old school they wouldn't show us any data, so they’ll only teach us what we went wrong. Sometimes we wouldn't understand what they were talking about. But here they tell us our data, where we went wrong, and they explain before they teach us.

Matilda- student
They should make sure that the student knows where they need to go, and the steps they need to take to get there, and to show them the data for their learning so that they could improve on their work and not just at the same place.

Merita Amani-Heisifa
Most of the staff here know how to analyse data, know how to read data and know their next steps. So each teacher presents their data for reading, writing and maths. Now we do that across the school. Now teachers ask questions, probing questions, we also offer examples of the where to next.

Anne Miles
Analysis of data is incredibly important but it's got to be used for the correct purpose. So at the end of each year every HOD totally analyses all the achievements of their department. And they will look at why did this standard achieve so well, and this standard have a lower pass rate. And we look at all their analysis and we look at what changes they have made to their programmes as a result of this analysis. They’ve had feedback from students as to how they have enjoyed the unit that they’ve actually taught. And they’re constantly looking at what else could be added or what should be taken away from a particular unit.

Nola Dougall
I think one of the key turning points for students is a feeling of success. Success in their curriculum area. That when we put students into courses that they can achieve in, we are not putting them in places where they are out of their depth. And looking at.... we do a lot of tracking on student data, very good student management system that I can look up easily, I can flick on a switch or two and look at the year 13 cohort and tell immediately who has yet to get level 2 NCEA, who has already for the requirements for University Entrance. We feed that back to the students through level assemblies.

Bernadette - student
She shows us graphs on how we’re doing in our NCEA achievements and that makes us really drive towards our goal and makes us aim high and to see how we’re doing through the year. So it’s really good to see that kind of data.

Atina - student
In the classroom when we just finish an assessment they tell us personally or come up to the desk or do you want the whole class to know the results. And so then they just go oh, you got achieved or merit and I think that sort of helps you when you know what the other students, because for me personally its not only competition it drives me and that’s how I think I get good results.

Nola Dougall
I will show them where they’re at now in credit groupings. I’ll compare that to where they were the month before. And I will also compare it with the cohort that was there last year and the students can see the movement, and they can see that they’re on this achieving path. We also communicate that via the newsletters to the parents as well.