Enhanced teaching and learning of comprehension in Years 4–9: A research–practice collaboration for Mangere schools

Funding year: 
2 years
Auckland UniServices
School sector
Project start date: 
January 2004
Project end date: 
January 2006
Principal investigator(s): 
Stuart McNaughton
Research team members: 
Shelley MacDonald, Meaola Amituanai-Toloa, Mei Kuin Lai, Sasha Farry
Research partners: 
Seven Mangere Schools


Project Description

The schools of South Auckland which have high proportions of Māori and Pasifika students have long been described by researchers as sites for low achievement, particularly in literacy (e.g., Ramsay, Sneddon, Grenfell & Ford, 1981). However, recent evidence suggests that the disparities in reading accuracy between Māori and Pasifika students and other students have been reduced, and that there has been a substantial reduction in the proportions of students in the lowest bands of achievement. Despite this, the evidence also suggests that at Year 4 and Year 9, the disparities in reading comprehension have continued, if not increased (Crooks & Flockton, 2005).

Research questions

A research and development programme, conducted as a collaborative partnership between researchers, schools, and the Ministry of Education, was designed to test several questions about achievement in seven decile 1 schools in South Auckland. These questions were:

  • Can a research-practice collaboration develop cluster-wide and school-based professional learning communities that are able to critically analyse and problem solve issues of instructional effectiveness, thereby developing more effective instruction that has a powerful educationally significant impact on Māori and Pasifika children’s comprehension at Years 4-9 in decile 1 schools?
  • Can a set of effective instructional activities be identified that are able to be used by teachers to enhance the teaching of comprehension for Māori and Pasifika children in Years 4-9 in decile 1 schools?

In addition, there was a specific question about Samoan students and achievement in Samoan bilingual classrooms:

  •  Can the research and development programme contribute to more effective instruction for Samoan students in Samoan bilingual classes?