Experts find IES evidence doesn’t stack up

28 February 2015

An academic review of the evidence used to support the government’s controversial Investing in Educational Success policy has highlighted areas of concern in the IES model, says NZEI.

The government has pointed to a number of overseas studies and research papers that it claimed validated the path being taken. In response, NZEI Te Riu Roa commissioned Massey University to investigate whether the evidence around effective collaboration, leadership and sharing of effective practice stacked up in the IES context.

The review concluded 11 points, with the most significant being that successful implementation of reform depends on high levels of intrinsic motivation of teachers. Furthermore, teachers need to be centrally involved in the planning and implementation so that their classroom needs are at the heart of the design of the initiatives. 

With 93% of primary teachers and principals voting “no confidence” in IES last year, the shortcomings of the policy become obvious.

Issues around local context, sustainable career paths, significant out-of-school factors, how to measure gains, and the nature of collaboration were all found to impact the effectiveness of any new initiative.

The authors will today present their findings to a group of education professionals in Wellington, followed by group discussion and a Q&A panel on how these findings can help direct The Better Plan Joint Initiative, which was developed by NZEI and the Ministry of Education late last year.

The initiative aims to identify ways to support children’s success at every level of their learning and encompasses early childhood education, primary, support staff and special education. It was agreed between NZEI and the ministry, following primary teachers’ overwhelming vote of “no confidence” in IES.

Any resourcing and roles arising out of the Joint Initiative will be funded from the $359 million IES fund.

Authors of Investing in Educational Success: An Investigation of the Evidence Base, Peter Rawlins, Karen Ashton and Tony Carusi from Massey University, will present their findings. Co-author Evelyn Lewis will be absent.

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