Poverty and underachievement – are we any closer to understanding our biggest problem in education education review secondary level education australia

Her mum recalls her kids missing school a lot when they lived in Hamilton, because they couldn’t afford the bus. She remembers the time they were evicted, forcing the family to move and find new accommodation. Makutu says she was oblivious to such things at the time, thanks to her mother protecting her from the realities of the day-to-day struggles.

Aware that opportunities were sparse in Kaitaia, she moved from the comfort zone of her small community and her kura kaupapa to live with her dad in Auckland and attend Manurewa High School for her final years of high school. Now at university, she’s keen to be a good role model for her siblings.

Research released earlier this year by the OECD has only served to perpetuate the discourse around the correlation between economic disadvantage and learning outcomes.

It claims that New Zealand students from low-decile communities are less “academically resilient” than they were a decade ago.

The researchers define academically resilient students as those who are among the 25 per cent most socio-economically disadvantaged students in their country but are able to achieve above the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) baseline level in reading, maths and science.

PISA data collected between 2006 and 2015 revealed that many of the 51 countries in the study increased the proportion of resilient disadvantaged students over the course of the decade. However, the percentage of resilient disadvantaged students in New Zealand has declined significantly. Over 36 per cent of New Zealand’s most socio-economically disadvantaged students were considered academically resilient in 2006. By 2015, this percentage had dropped to 25 per cent.

“While it would be possible to meet the targets of reducing how many families are below half the median income by giving them more many – I do feel the only real solution is to get the next generation into meaningful employment through educational achievement.”

When Tarawera High School opened in 2013 it set out new rules and expectations for students. what is a level education Tuhoro estimates that two out of every three students who started at the new school struggled to conform to the new rules and expectations of behaviour and had only learnt to do things in a negative and destructive way. level 8 education They spent some time off site in an Alternative Pathways programme building positive self-esteem and self-worth, finding their strengths and passions.

“Having students feel good about themselves is vital; if they feel they are worthless, they won’t even try. Giving them the belief that they can succeed is even more important. For so long in their lives they have been told they are losers or nothing, so they live up to it. Many face issues with anger and we follow the mantra of ‘get curious not furious’.”

“When New Zealand data came out last year, Kawerau was ranked as one of the most deprived areas in the country yet we are managing to have some excellent achievement by our students, reaching not only the average of other similar deciles but those of the national average.

In a 2009 paper she discusses what schools can do to increase achievement for under-resourced students. She recommends first understanding which resources students have and don’t have as a means for determining which interventions will work. Payne suggests teaching things like planning and time management to students, as it is “crucial for school success” and she encourages students to develop their unique future story.

Payne’s work also exposes the “hidden rules” that exist in different settings, such as at home compared to at school. Not knowing how to navigate the unspoken conventions of any given setting can prevent people from succeeding. Payne maintains that these hidden rules can prevent disadvantaged students from succeeding in the school setting. She says that by explicitly teaching these hidden rules, students increasingly will be able to function effectively in multiple settings.

Salvatore Gargiulo devoted his sabbatical in 2014 to better understanding how to improve the engagement and academic success of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. His research, which draws heavily on Payne’s work, makes the point that education is developed and implemented by middle class society. As such, a teacher is less likely to understand the perspective of a child from an impoverished background. what is your highest education level Gargiulo suggests that teachers need to understand a student’s differing perspective, or “mental model”, in order to begin to address the impacts of socio-economic status on his or her learning.

The social investment approach initiated by the National Government could be seen as a step in the right direction to arming schools with this knowledge, however, obtaining any sort of correlation from the data is difficult due to the necessary privacy constraints that come with the funding.

“Until our schools collect that kind of data at the student level and work out what is more and less effective at reducing the spread of achievement within schools, we are bound to point at big ticket items like child poverty, but possibly miss looking at entrenched local practices,” says Scott.

“Having better ways of identifying schools and services that have a harder job due to the socio-economic situation of their children can help target professional development, design wrap-around services and help teachers and principals to meet their student’s needs.”

To identify the effect that each child’s socio economic status had on his or her educational achievement PISA administered a rudimentary survey that allowed an estimate of each 15-year-old participant’s relative background wealth. That data allowed PISA to estimate the strength of the link between socio economic status and achievement.

“I am not sure that PISA is a very accurate measure of New Zealand student performance,” says Salvatore Gargiulo. “I have been in a school when the students were selected and tested. The students were resentful that they should have to take the test, especially when it went through an interval break!”

Gargiulo believes NCEA data gives a better picture of academic performance in New Zealand. A student’s achievement of Level 2 can see them on a path to further education, demonstrating one of the strengths of NCEA – the opportunity that every student who enters secondary school can follow a pathway through to tertiary.

An Education Counts report shows a correlation between the socio-economic mix of the school and the percentage of school leavers with at least NCEA Level 2. please specify highest level of education completed In 2016, 92.9 per cent of students from schools in the highest deciles (deciles 9 and 10) left school with at least an NCEA Level 2 qualification. This was 25.4 percentage points higher than the percentage for school leavers in deciles 1 and 2 (67.5 per cent).

Although the gap is large, the authors of the report note that it is closing over time. They also note that there is a great deal of variation amongst schools within each decile, with some schools in the lowest deciles with a greater proportion of students achieving a level 2 qualification or above than some schools in the highest deciles.

New Zealand Qualification Authority’s most recent NCEA report also shows that the gap between low decile and high decile schools in terms of Level 2 attainment is lessening. In 2012, 73.1 per cent of Year 12 students in decile 1-3 schools attained Level 2, compared with 89.4 per cent in decile 8-10 schools – a gap of 16.3 per cent. By 2016, this rose to 84.5 per cent for low decile schools and 93.7 per cent for high decile schools – a gap of 9.2 per cent.

Both her parents dropped out of school to help support their families. Through sheer determination and hard work, they have managed to provide a different sort of future for their children, supporting Helg with university fees and accommodation costs.

Tuhoro says many of their students come from solo parent families, many without a father figure, and many are being raised by grandparents. As a result they are very whānau-orientated and are always there for younger siblings or to help Nan when she is ill.

With so much emphasis placed on improving academic achievement it is easy to forget that improved student outcomes can – and should – extend well beyond test results. This view is echoed by many around the globe. Dr Dennis Littky says there is no one indicator of success that fits every kid.

This is particularly pertinent to any discussion around socioeconomics and achievement, such as this one. Research tells us that New Zealand has a problem in this area. And while we shouldn’t ignore it, neither should we let statistics like this define us.

For every Trinity Makutu and Sulani Helg, there will be countless others like them, hiding outside of the statistics, quietly busting the stereotypes and creating their unique stories of success. Let us not be afraid to prioritise these stories above research that gives such a small and one-dimensional interpretation of success. college level education We might even learn something from their experiences that can help light the way.