Sunday, June 3, 2018

Student Engagement For Learning

The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) Me & My School Survey measures 3 aspects of student engagement for learning
1. Behavioural: participation, positive conduct, persistence & involvement
2. Affective/Emotional: teachers, peers, learning & school - how they feel
3. Cognitive: taking riskes, learning challenges, self regulating learning

Aspects directly align with the Key Competencies in the NZ Curriculum.

We have been implementing the survey for the past 3 years at Hornby. The survey provides us with valuable insight into how our pupils view themselves as learners and how staff and the wider community contribute to positive learning outcomes.

There are 28 item questions. Summary of results for pupils who responded either with agree or strongly agree.

Year 6 (n=35)
Bettered NZ Norms on 27 of 28 questions.
Equal on the other question.

My teachers help me learn                                100%
Doing well at school is very important to me   100%
I feel like I am making progress at school        100%
I am proud to be at this school                          97%
At school I always try to do me best work         97%
I feel my culture is valued and respected           97%

Year 5 (n=30)
Bettered NZ Norms on 27 of 28 questions.
1% point below NZ Norm on the other question.

Year 4 (n=22)
Bettered NZ Norms on 27 of 28 questions.
Equal on the other question.

The results are outstanding and show a significant improvement from the first survey undertaken in Term 1 2016. The question one needs to ask is why? What has changed, what is different?

1. Learn Create Share and the affordances of digital technology have transformed our teaching and learning practice, which has resulted in engaged motivated learners.
2. Evidence-based findings from Woolf Fisher Research Centre which teachers then put into practice, eg. rewindable learning, multi modal texts, extended conversations, ...
3. Relationships, relationships and relationships. The relationship between the learner and the teacher is the most significant in-school factor in terms of achievement.

The diagram below represents our 2017 writing progress and achievement. Accelerated progress is evident in all year levels and pupils are above the norm by the end of Year 6. I firmly believe there is a causal link between Learn Create Share and the affordances of digital technology, and engaged motivated learners as the Me & My School data and student achievement data below clearly demonstrate. We will not be getting off this bus (Helsinki Bus Station Theory, more detail in another post)!


  1. Gary

    Outstanding stuff .. It is hard to assign cause and effect with any certainty, but as hunches and suspicions go, I think you'd have to be on the right track in ascribing the result to the three things which you note have changed. We are all pinning our colours to that mast for exactly the reasons you list.

    Great work!!!!


  2. I would have to agree with your assumptions regarding the three reason behind our successful results. I have always prided myself on my ability to establish a positive rapport with my students although I think this has really improved over the past few years. There are multiple reasons why I believe this but one such reason could be the increase in critical thinking conversations. This allows my student to share their opinions and my feedback is no longer simply about being right or wrong (said in the nicest possible way of course!). I now celebrate their thoughts and ideas more as well as allowing them the supports and time to express these.

    All in all, great results to be celebrated.

  3. Gary this is superb data to share and your analysis from your context is most enlightening. I would be very proud of that NZCER data if I was the school leader. Thanks so much for spending your holiday weekend sharing this with your colleagues. We have been enriched.

  4. Doing well at school is important to me 100 % and my teachers help me learn. YAY . This to me is a front story of a back story where Teachers and a school that have worked hard to connect with the learners and research in a future focused way. This is just what I wanted to read! Just what I wanted to hear. Proud to be connected with Hornby Primary. Thanks for sharing.

  5. These are fantastic results and something the whole school community can be proud of, keep up the great work

  6. Kia ora Gary,
    Once again you have hit the nail on the head with down to earth analysis of your data, leading to easily implemented actions for your community. This is absolute gold for Te Ara Tūhura leadership and myself for moving forward. I always quote you around forget all the other distractions and focus on the gold nuggets. Thank you Gary for another gold nugget.


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