Teach First evaluation shows real impact on school learning

Student writing at whiteboard

The Teach First programme has been implemented well and is successful at attracting talented individuals to teach in schools serving low-decile communities, a new evaluation report shows.
The report, written by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER), is the first phase of a four-year independent evaluation, commissioned by the Ministry of Education. It was released on June 2014.
Teach First NZ works to attract highly-qualified, well-rounded university graduates and professionals to secondary schools serving lower-decile communities. The aim is to reduce educational inequalities. The nonprofit organisation works in partnership with the University of Auckland.
“We are delighted that this report reflects the positive impact our participants are having in their classrooms, supported by a growing number of dedicated school partners,” says Shaun Sutton, Teach First NZ’s CEO.
Professor Graeme Aitken, Dean of Education at the University of Auckland said “The University welcomes this robust and thorough report. The findings reinforce the value of strong teacher selection, and of building high-quality collaborative partnerships between universities and placement schools.”
The two key evaluation questions being addressed:

  1. How well (effectively and efficiently) has the programme been implemented?
  2. To what extent has the programme achieved its overall outcomes and objectives?

On the first question, researchers concluded “The programme was, in general, successfully implemented, with the Teach First NZ partnership being seen to provide timely and responsive support to participants and schools. “
Responding to question of outcomes, “These tentative findings suggest that students report their engagement in participants’ classes as similar to student engagement in classes taught by more experienced colleagues. There was evidence shown to us by some participants that NCEA or standardised (for example, e-asTTle) assessment results for participants’ classes compared favourably with other classes, and this was endorsed by other staff members.”
The full evaluation report and other documents are available for download.
Photo credit: Enokson

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