ERO helps improve schools, early learning services and the education system by conducting reviews and by doing evaluation and research.
In our school evaluations, we report on the quality of education and learning outcomes and on what systems are in place to continue improving teaching and learning.
We want to add value to the schools we review, so we provide judgements and advice for them to consider. We try to focus our assessments on the schools’ strengths, where they are currently at, and how they could improve teaching and learning.
A challenge for schools in Aotearoa New Zealand is achieving the same excellent education outcomes for all students. This is known as ‘equity in education’. We want to support changes within schools, and across all schools, so educational achievement is better for all children and young people.
There are two main aspects to equity in education: fairness and inclusion.
Fairness means a student’s educational success is not affected by their gender, ethnicity, family background or sexuality – or whether they are rich or poor.
Inclusion means all students feel welcome and there are no barriers to them reaching their full learning potential, no matter who they are.
When we evaluate your school we will discuss with you how well it is performing for its learners and community; what you want to achieve, and how you support the learning and achievement needs of specific groups of learners.
Our evaluations focus on two main things:
We will ask you the following questions:
We will review your school’s data and other information about:
We look at how you are using formative and summative assessment information, along with other information from internal evaluations, in your teaching and learning.
Key judgements we are looking for are:
For students in Years 1 to 8 and from Year 9 onwards, learning is accelerated when a student makes more than one year’s progress over a year:
The Government’s Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia, (2013-2017) explains how the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi apply to education and the commitment of our educational system to successful outcomes for Māori learners.
Our evaluations and the research behind the School Evaluation Indicators show that when schools accelerate student achievement for Māori, they accelerate achievement for all learners.
Learner wellbeing is at the centre of our evaluations. We will ask for your school’s documentation on learner and/or staff engagement and wellbeing before we visit, and check whether there are good processes for ensuring students’ emotional and physical wellbeing.
During the evaluation we will ask school leaders if they use (or are aware of) the free New Zealand Council for Educational Research surveys. These invite schools to monitor inclusion and wellbeing.
Our focus is on how you monitor wellbeing and inclusive practices and what teachers, school leaders and trustees do with the information collected to improve learning. This should include student feedback on wellbeing and inclusion, which helps build trust and adds value to a school’s self-review.
We look at your organisational conditions that affect equitable and excellent achievement. These include your school’s systems, processes and practices; and whether improvements are likely to be ongoing. We assess how well existing practices reflect your documented intentions about teaching, learning and outcomes.
These organisational conditions are defined in our School Evaluation Indicators and the domains in this framework include:
We consider and discuss your school’s information about learner outcomes, wellbeing and engagement – and the findings from your internal evaluation. This helps us design an external evaluation that is appropriate to your school.
We look at your information on progress across the curriculum and effective practice so we understand how your planning, implementation and internal evaluation help you improve teaching practice. We want to know how teachers, leaders and trustees respond to learners’ physical, social, emotional, cultural, academic and spiritual needs – and what outcomes result from this.
Wellbeing is strongly linked to learning so we want to discuss with you how your school:
You could consider our reflection questions below. This will give you an overview of your internal evaluation findings to discuss with us.
We will work with you and use your school’s learner outcome information and internal evaluation to work to design the most appropriate external evaluation for your school.
The questions above are taken from page 42 of ERO’s booklet Effective School Evaluation.
The principal and board chair will need to complete the following assurance statements.
If you are dissatisfied with your experience or if there are matters you wish to bring to our attention during the evaluation, please contact an ERO manager in the relevant office. Otherwise, you can express a concern or make a complaint online.