The early years of high school have become the "forgotten years", according to a new Education Review Office study.
A report released today by the Education Review Office (ERO) shows that secondary schools in New Zealand are gathering limited information on the performance of students in years 9 and 10, and the little data collected showed that very few schools were setting improvement targets for this age group.
The findings of the report, Literacy and Mathematics in Years 9 and 10, are based on 68 secondary schools reviewed in 2011.
ERO Chief Review Officer Dr Graham Stoop said that the report found that years 9 and 10 seem to have become the "forgotten years" for assessing students' progress and in most schools a predetermined curriculum in literacy and mathematics took little account of their individual strengths and needs.
"Many schools in the evaluation didn't have well-established processes for using assessment information to help students learn," Stoop said.
"Very few schools were actually setting improvement targets for these students, with boards of trustees typically in the dark about the achievement of this group of students."
ERO found that a mere 7% of schools had highly effective processes for knowing about students' achievement and progress in years 9 and 10.
The report found that most schools, around 57%, had partially effective processes, and 36% had minimally effective or not effective processes.
Overall, the report noted that improvements need to be made by most secondary schools for years 9 and 10 students in the areas of using achievement information, planning to improve outcomes for priority students and building learning partnerships with students.
ERO recommended that school leaders and teachers give greater priority to setting and monitoring targets for students whose progress in literacy and mathematics needs accelerating.
"These are the foundation years for secondary schooling and it's vital that schools get it right for these students," Stoop said.
To read the full ERO report click here.