Establishing shared expectations is one of a set of professional development modules designed to support school leaders as they lead professional learning about the National Standards for years 1–8 within the New Zealand Curriculum. The modules are suitable for use during the cycles of professional inquiry that leaders and teachers engage in to improve outcomes for their students.
Introduction to the module
'Higher expectations cannot be taught or imposed independently of context. Rather, they develop as new teaching approaches are mastered and student learning is seen to improve.'
Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, and Fung, 2007, Summary of Findings, page 30
This module draws on the concept of ako as the basis for establishing shared expectations. Using the concept of ako, educators can learn from students while employing teaching practice that is deliberate, reflective, and based on the latest research.
The structure of this module
This module has three main sections.
Key outcome of the module, which:
- states what the module aims to help school leaders and teachers achieve
- lists indicators that describe what to look for as evidence that they have achieved the outcome
- provides a rationale for the key outcome.
Reflective questions for school leaders and teachers, which:
- helps determine the professional learning needs of the whole staff, syndicates, or individual teachers or leaders
- can be used within activities for leaders and teachers (see next section).
Leading shifts in practice through focused activities, which:
- outlines some professional development activities that relate to the reflective questions
- can be used flexibly to help meet identified needs
- draws on existing resources and professional development opportunities.
A final section, Resources and references, lists texts cited or quoted in this module along with resources that include useful information about establishing shared expectations to support students’ learning.
How to use this module
School leaders can use this module to identify and explore shifts in practice that might be needed as their school works with the National Standards.
Teachers can use the reflective questions and/or activities to help guide them through any changes they might need to make as they work with the National Standards.
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Key outcome of the module
The key outcome for this module is that school leaders, teachers, students, parents, families, whānau, communities, and boards of trustees understand the expectations in reading, writing, and mathematics at each year level as outlined in the National Standards.
Indicators that this outcome is being achieved
School documentation around expectations is informed by:
The school’s strategic and annual plans reflect the expectations of the National Standards from 2011.
Each syndicate, team, or teacher includes clear goals for student achievement in their planning and reporting documents.
Communication with students, parents, families, whānau, communities, and boards of trustees ensures that goals are clearly expressed, shared, reflected on, and reviewed.
Rationale for the key outcome
Nearly one in five students leaves school without the skills and qualifications they need to succeed. Lifting student achievement is a key priority.
The New Zealand Curriculum is supported by the National Standards, which set clear expectations that students need to meet in reading, writing, and mathematics in the first eight years at school.
The standards provide reference points to help us stay focused on our goal – confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.
Adapted from National Standards Information for Schools, Ministry of Education, 2009
When schools, teachers, boards of trustees, families, and whānau understand and share nationally consistent expectations for the progress and achievement of students, they are better able to develop, engage with, and support teaching and learning opportunities for students. They are also better able to recognise student diversity in relation to the standards and to make focused and timely interventions along the way.
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Reflective questions for school leaders and teachers
The following reflective questions are designed to help school leaders and teachers understand their school’s current practice in relation to expectations. They can then make comparisons with the expectations embedded in the National Standards.
Use the reflective questions to identify areas for further exploration through the activities that follow.
1. What currently informs expectations for reading, writing, and mathematics progress and achievement in our school? (For example, do we use the expectations from the Numeracy Project or other benchmarks for each year level?)
How do these expectations compare with those of the National Standards? What expertise is available to help address mismatches?
What evidence do we draw on to understand differences in student outcomes?
Can our English language learners meet the demands of the New Zealand Curriculum? If not, see the module Meeting the needs of English language learners.
2. How do our current expectations inform our school’s:
- decision making?
- actions related to strategic planning?
- actions related to goal setting?
- planning for teaching and learning?
- ability to meet the needs of particular groups of students?
What might need to change?
3. Do students and their parents, families, whānau, and communities understand the reading, writing, and mathematics expectations for students at particular points in time and over time – particularly where there is a need to pick up the pace? If not, what actions could we take? What external support would help?
4. What measures have we taken to change reading, writing, and mathematics expectations for and with Māori students? Will these improve outcomes for Māori and ensure that 'Māori enjoy education success as Māori' (Ka Hikitia? How is the school responding to the Pasifika Education Plan?
5. How do we talk to boards of trustees and our community about the expectations? What further information might they need?
Use the understandings gained from discussing the reflective questions to identify the shifts in practice and/or professional learning that may be required in the school. Select from the following activities to support these shifts as part of professional inquiry.
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Leading shifts in practice through focused activities
Consider the principle of ako when exploring expectations in these activities.
Select activities that will help deepen understandings of expectations. Further exploration may be needed to reach the outcome for this module. For example, discussions may reveal a need to explore beliefs that are deficit-based and that could theoretically disadvantage some groups of students.
The activities can be used in a variety of ways for whole-staff, syndicate, group, or individual inquiry. For example, an activity that relates to mathematics may be carried out differently from the same activity when it relates to reading and writing. Teachers working with years 1–3 may also carry out some activities differently from those working with years 4–8.
The activities in all of the modules, including this one, are based on the core resources listed in the Overview. Refer to these as appropriate when exploring practice through the activities.
Activity 1: Our school's expectations of students
What currently informs the expectations for mathematics, reading, and writing progress and achievement in our school, and what might need to change?
With teachers, develop a school-wide view of expectations for progress and achievement in mathematics, reading, and writing. To do this, identify current school expectations alongside:
Use or adapt Table I to plot the school’s actual expectations against those of the National Standards. Discuss the results in relation to any mismatches and what they may mean for the school. Discuss any expertise that is available (internal and external) to help address mismatches.
Activity 2: Expectations, beliefs, and actions
How do our current expectations inform our school’s decision making, actions, and ability to meet our students’ needs? What might need to change?
Explore how the school’s current documentation makes explicit the actions the school is taking to support students to achieve at higher levels – in particular, students who are yet to meet expectations. What are the specific needs of each group of students? What additional actions can we take to ensure that we address the needs of each group?
Use or adapt Table II to guide discussion.
In relation to the diversity of students in our school, what do we know about:
- our own beliefs and those of our colleagues about the possibilities for particular groups of students?
- expectations across syndicates?
- the expectations of parents, boards of trustees, and the wider community?
Activity 3: Sharing expectations with students, parents, families, whānau, and communities
Do students and their parents, families, whānau and communities understand the reading, writing, and mathematics expectations for students at particular points in time and over time – particularly where there is a need to pick up the pace? If not, what actions could we take? What external support would help?
With students, parents, families, whānau, and communities identify current practices for sharing expectations for progress and achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics. Consider:
- ways to gather evidence on the effectiveness of these practices
- what might need to change to make the expectations more explicit for students, parents, families, whānau, and communities.
Use or adapt Table III to record current practices and ideas for change.
Review the findings of Picking up the Pace and identify areas to explore further.
Activity 4: Expectations and outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students
What measures have we taken to change reading, writing, and mathematics expectations for and with Māori students? Will these improve outcomes for Māori and ensure that 'Māori enjoy education success as Māori'? How is the school responding to the Pasifika Education Plan?
1. Consider the following:
To lift the performance of the system overall ... means focusing on those who are least well served by the system. Such a focus on Māori also results in strong benefits for others.
Ka Hikitia (Key evidence), page 11
A key concern for Aotearoa New Zealand is that teachers have lower expectations of children from low decile schools, and of Māori children in particular. Schooling improvement research has found that Māori students whose teachers have low expectations achieved less than other children after a year at school even when their starting point was similar.
Ka Hikitia (Key evidence), page 23
To what extent have we read, discussed, and used research evidence that demonstrates that effective teaching can change the outcome described in the second quote above?
[As] Picking up the Pace showed, teachers and schools can make a difference to student achievement, regardless of the external circumstances of their students. This follow-up research found that teachers had changed their expectations of how well children could achieve. It also found that those expectations were maintained over the year following the professional development because the teachers came to realise that what they did had a direct impact on what children learned and accepted they could make a difference.
As a result of their changed expectations, teachers altered their teaching methods. For example, teachers started children reading from the first day at school rather than waiting until they thought the children were ready to learn.
Shifting the Focus, page 7
Consider planning professional learning around the Te Mana Kōrero DVDs. For example, the DVD Te Mana Kōrero 3 focuses on the need to build and sustain effective, mutually respectful school and whānau or community links to support Māori student achievement.
2. Is our school working to ensure that Pasifika students (monolingual, bilingual, and/or multilingual) can 'demonstrate improved progress and achievement in literacy and numeracy in relation to the National Standards (years 1-8)' (Pasifika Education Plan)? For example, are we:
- planning to ensure that these students make the expected progress in line with the Literacy Learning Progressions and/or the English Language Learning Progressions?
- planning to ensure that these students make the expected progress in mathematics in line with the mathematics standards and the Number Framework?
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Resources and references
This section includes details of texts that are cited or quoted in the module and/or that will be helpful to users of this particular module. The full list of core resources is available in the Overview.
Published on: 19 Feb 2010
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