Teaching practices, school practices and principal leadership: the first national picture 2017

Learning and teaching Schools Educational evaluation New Zealand

New Zealand now has its first national picture of teaching and school practices, and principal leadership in English-medium schools.

The Teaching and School Practices Survey Tool (TSP) is an online survey tool designed for schools and Kāhui Ako to inquire into their teaching, school, and principal leadership practices. The TSP tool was developed in 2017 and made available for use in Terms 2 and 3 of that year. The national picture presented in this report draws on the 2017 aggregated data. The tool was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to provide:

  • school-level data that can be used by schools and Kāhui Ako in review and planning to improve teaching and leadership capability
  • national data that can be used for evaluating the impact of policy, initially the introduction of Kāhui Ako and changes to professional learning and development.

The items in the TSP draw on robust research evidence about practices that are linked to desirable student experiences of learning and student outcomes.

The items are consistent with The New Zealand Curriculum, ERO's school evaluation indicators, and the Standards for the Teaching Profession.

The online surveys are free for schools. Principals complete a survey about school practices and their own leadership. Teachers anonymously complete a survey about their own teaching practices, and their views of the school's practices and of the principal's leadership. (Teaching principals also complete the teaching practices survey.) Once surveys are completed, principals (or their nominated administrator) are able to access automated school-level reports and Kāhui Ako leaders are able to request an aggregated report for their group of schools.

The TSP supports the education system's increasing emphasis on professional inquiry and evaluative practices as key levers to improve the quality of teaching and learning, and higher and more equitable outcomes for students. Confidentiality of individual and school responses encourages honest self-report because the TSP is seen as a tool for inquiry for improvement, and not a judgement of individuals or schools.

Annual use of the tool will enable comparisons to be made over time-for schools, Kāhui Ako, and at the national level. Timing of the surveys is designed to fit school review and planning cycles.

Uptake of the TSP in its first year has been very good: overall, 403 schools used the TSP from late May to the end of October 2017. The aggregated data provide a nationally representative picture from 4,355 teachers at 335 schools, and 353 principals. 2

This uptake indicates an appetite for robust information to guide inquiry. It is recommended that the data are considered alongside other information on student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing. The TSP has been well received by sector groups, government education agencies, and advisers working with school leaders and Kāhui Ako.

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