March 2017

Tracking Success

Will there be data compiled to track the success rates of students within the collaborative learning environment?  

This is a very timely question from our community.  Our latest ERO Report stated that: “The important next step is for the board and senior leaders to continue to evaluate the impact of current initiatives, such as innovative teaching environments, on various groups of children, especially those at risk of underachievement.”

One way that St Mary’s School tracks the success rates of learners is our commitment to internal evaluation.  “Evaluation is the engine that drives improvement and innovation.  Internal evaluation is undertaken to assess what is and is not working, and for whom, and then to determine what changes are needed.” (ERO - Effective Internal Evaluation For Improvement)

Another way that St Mary’s School tracks the success rates of learners is through monitoring cohorts and in particular individual students.  Senior leaders, team leaders and teachers meet regularly to discuss, monitor and track individual students who are causing concern and all students to ensure that sufficient, and in some cases accelerated, progress is being made.  It is important to track not just academic progress, but progress in areas like the Key Competencies.  

As part of our research project for the Teacher Led Innovation Fund, we are also collecting data from teachers, students and parents to track improvements in teacher practice and student agency.  

Research can confirm that collaboration between teachers improves teacher quality, and in turn quality teaching has a significant effect on student learning and achievement.  “Collaborative learning, team teaching, using ICT in learning and peer teaching are all recognized as effective methods with strong research about each of these areas.” Professor David Mitchell

February 2017

How is St Mary’s School preparing our students for secondary school, university and more ‘traditional’ environments?

At St Mary’s we work hard to make the transition to Intermediate and secondary school as smooth as possible.  Our job is prepare students both academically and socially and over the last couple of year’s we have been working closely with Aquinas College so that important information is shared.

We are preparing our students for life in a changed and changing world.  Education must prepare our children “for jobs that don’t yet exist, to use technologies that have not been invented and to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet” Kath Murdoch sums it up nicely in this 2 minute clip:

Research states that the successful transition to school and the ability to deal with change relies heavily on the students acquiring certain key dispositions or competencies.  These competencies are a valued aspect of the teaching and learning in our classrooms and align closely with our Catholic Character. 

As required by the New Zealand Curriculum, we place an emphasis on the following Key Competencies:   Thinking; Using Language, Symbols and Texts; Managing Self; Relating to Others; Participating and Contributing.  You can find more information about the NZC Key Competencies here:

ERO, through their research on ‘Transition from Primary to Secondary’, has identified the following aspects that make transition successful:  “How well students respond to the changes is largely dependent on two key aspects – students’ personal resources and coping skills (such as their acquisition of the Key Competencies described in The New Zealand Curriculum framework); [2] and the school culture into which students transition. Schools can support students to make successful transitions by helping them to develop a sense of themselves as competent and capable beings characterised by:

  • a ’can-do’ attitude
  • a sense of self capability
  • resourcefulness
  • resilience
  • strategies to deal with challenges
  • independence
  • skills relating to others such as listening actively, being tolerant and cooperation
    a sense of contribution to school and community

At St Mary’s, we are excited to join you in the journey of developing lifelong learners who are able to collaborate, be creative, and solve problems that really matter in all of the environments that they encounter. 

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal