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Research reports

Providing for English language learners - findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools (2020)
Findings from the NZCER 2019 National survey of English-medium primary schools


PISA 2018: Reading in New Zealand – Reading achievement and experiences of 15-year-olds (December 2019)
This report summarises the PISA 2018 reading achievement story in NZ and explores major contributors to student success in reading literacy, such as students’ reading habits and reading strategies, instructional methods and opportunities students are given to develop as readers, as well as digital reading practices.

He Whakaaro: How can teachers and whānau effectively teach and support reading? (December 2019)
This report is mainly based on major meta-analyses that have been conducted on how to teach reading, as well as some literature reviews and individual studies.

Curriculum integration: What is happening in New Zealand schools? (2019)
This report presents the findings from a research project on curriculum integration in NZ schools, carried out by NZCER in 2018–19. The purpose of the research was to explore teachers’ rationales for curriculum integration, the approaches and practices used to integrate curriculum, and the learning opportunities such approaches provide for students.

How does New Zealand's education system compare? OECD's Education at a Glance 2019 (published September 2019)
This summary report is an annual Ministry of Education publication designed to complement the release of the 2019 EAG. It contextualises and examines how New Zealand’s education system compares, noting areas where it performed above or below OECD averages.

Current Provision of Pacific Bilingual Education (published August 2019)
The New Zealand school roll is more ethnically diverse than the population as a whole. International research on bilingualism notes that high quality bilingual education provision is effective in supporting students’ learning outcomes. A renewed focus on Māori and Pacific bilingual education at both local and national levels is much needed. 

Reading literacy instruction in English-language countries: similarities and differences (published August 2019)
Using data from PIRLS 2016, this paper presents a comparison of the instructional practices used by teachers in English-language countries and jurisdictions when teaching reading comprehension, drawing attention to the similarities and differences across them.

Keeping children engaged and achieving in writing (published June 2019)
This report shares some of the strategies and approaches used by schools who had focused on improving achievement in writing. It also shares some simple strategies used in classrooms where achievement in writing had been accelerated.

PIRLS 2016: Schools and School Climate for Learning (published May 2019)
PIRLS is an international research study designed to measure trends in the reading literacy achievement of middle primary school students every five years. PIRLS 2016 was the fourth cycle and was implemented in late 2015 and early 2016.

Exploring literacy: How six schools lifted achievement (published 2019)
How can schools support students to make progress in reading and writing? The project identified schools that have sustained positive achievement in literacy over five years, and asked what they did to achieve this.

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Massey University Early Literacy Research Project (published February 2018)
The purpose of this longitudinal research project was to improve the literacy outcomes of new entrant children during, and beyond, their first year of school.

Keeping children engaged and achieving through rich curriculum inquiries (published 2018)
This Education Review Office (ERO) report is one of a series of reports on teaching strategies that work. We asked leaders in each school what they saw as the reasons for their school's positive achievement trajectory and then investigated the teaching strategies that had been implemented, and the outcomes. This report shares some of the strategies and approaches used by schools that had focused on improving achievement through rich curriculum inquiries. It also shares some of the simple strategies used in classrooms where the inquiries had positively contributed to raising achievement in literacy and/or mathematics.

What drives learning in the senior secondary school? (published 2018)
This evaluation studies effective practice in schools’ senior curriculum. It contributes to the review being undertaken by the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) of the  National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The Ministry-led review focuses on the implementation of NCEA as the national assessment system for the senior years of secondary schooling. 

Teaching strategies that work – Reading (published 2018)
This resource is the third in a series of reports derived from a national study of teaching approaches and strategies used in schools where there has been a significant increase in the number of students at or above the expected level in the upper primary school years (Years 5 to 8).

The importance of parents and caregivers (published 2018)
TIMSS assesses Year 5 maths and science skills and knowledge, and brings together background information from students, parents/caregivers, teachers and school leaders.

Understanding student attainment and progress (published 2018)
This paper describes why it is important for educators to understand and respond to both progress and achievement to enable children to maximise their potential. It summarises results from a new research dataset compiled by the Ministry of Education to illustrate the different insights that can be gained when looking at achievement relative to progress.

Achievement and progress in mathematics, reading and writing in primary schooling (published 2018)
Analysis of e-asTTle assessment data, 2011 to 2016. In order to support student learning it is important to continually improve our understanding of student achievement and progress. This project makes use of existing data to contribute to our current knowledge of student achievement and progress.

Evaluation of the Teacher-Led Innovation Fund: Final Report (published 2018)
The purpose of this evaluation was to provide timely and relevant information to: Inform continuous improvement of TLIF’s design, implementation and monitoring; Complement monitoring and review information sources to provide information about how the fund is operating; Expand the knowledge base about the nature of innovative teaching practice, collaborative inquiry, and mobilisation of new knowledge.

Responding to Language Diversity in Auckland (published 2018)
Auckland is New Zealand’s most culturally diverse city, with over 100 ethnicities and more than 150 languages spoken on a daily basis. This publication is based on the question, How are schools and early learning services in Auckland responding to this increasing cultural and language diversity?



Pasifika students, Pasifika cultural activities, and engagement with Pasifika families (published 2017)
This evaluation examines findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016, which included a number of questions that asked specifically about matters related to Pasifika students, Pasifika families, or Pasifika cultural activities at school.

Teaching approaches and strategies that work (published 2017)
This evaluation looks at teaching approaches and strategies used in schools where there has been a significant increase in the number of students at or above National Standards in the upper primary school years (Years 5 to 8).

Digital technoliges for learning cover image.

Digital Technologies for learning: Findings from the NZCER national survey of primary and intermediate schools (published 2016)
This report looks at the role of digital technologies for learning in primary and intermediate schools. It draws on data from the NZCER National Survey of Primary and Intermediate Schools, which was conducted in late August and early September 2016. The survey asked how digital technology is being used, how it could be used, and what it means for teaching and learning.

Schools’ provisions for international students (published 2013)
This national report is ERO’s seventh report about international students. This evaluation included 95 schools (both primary and secondary) and focused on five aspects in relation to international students – integration, progress and achievement, education programme, pastoral care, overall approach and self review.

Paraprofessional Practice in ESOL Programmes: Part 1: Description and evaluation of paraprofessional practices in supporting initial reading programmes (published 2009)
This document reports on the first part of a two year study on the practices of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) paraprofessionals working with ELL (English Language Learner) migrant students in initial reading programmes.

Paraprofessional practice in ESOL programmes: Part 2: Evaluation of paraprofessional English Language Assistants’ professional development programme (published 2009)
This report forms the second part of a two year study on the practices of ESOL paraprofessionals working with ELL migrant students.

Instructed second language learning: A literature review (published 2005)
The purpose of this literature review is to examine theory and research that has addressed what constitutes effective pedagogy for the acquisition of a second language (L2) in a classroom context. In other words, the review seeks to answer the question: How can instruction best ensure successful language learning?

Language acquisition research (published 2004)
This research report is a compilation of papers presented at the Language Acquisition Forum held in 2003. The papers were written and presented by educationalists who have had wide experience in both research and teaching in the field of language acquisition and bilingual development. The report will provide the Ministry of Education with possible strategies to support schools and teachers who offer bilingual and immersion education, and the children and whanau who participate in these programmes.

Improving English Language Outcomes for Students Receiving ESOL Services in New Zealand Schools, with a Particular Focus on New Immigrants (published 2003)
This research was commissioned to inform the review of the current ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) strategy. The report details the outcome of a review of the literature identifying good practice for teaching and learning in the compulsory school sector for Non-English Speaking Background Students (NESB) and describes the results from an investigation of the ways in which schools provide for and meet the language needs of their NESB students.

A census of providers of ESOL Programmes for international students (published 2002)
In order to provide a better information base of the industry, the Ministry of Education commissioned BRC Marketing & Social Research to conduct a census of providers of ESOL programmes for international students. These providers included primary and secondary schools, community education facilities, universities, polytechnics, English language schools, (other) private training establishments (PTEs), colleges of education, and wananga.

Updated on: 10 May 2022