Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Core breakfast session - Cathy Wylie on competent learners project

Cathy Wylie, Chief researcher from the NZ Council of Educational Research (NZCER) presents on the latest on the longitudinal study from the competent learners project. The project tracks 500 learners from the age of 4 1/2 (1993) to the present when they have mostly left formal schooling with some engaged in work.

The presentation is on 'building learning identities'. Still over 400 involved so very important corpus of data over the course of learners' school life and beyond. Data collected at ages 5, 6,8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 20 with a focus on collecting data of educational influences on children's lives. Tried to study the wide range of influences on student's eventual competencies, so included early childhood ed. class experiences, family resources, out of ed experiences, friendships, values and thoughts for future.

Focus of the  age 20 phase was pathways for NCEA. How to determinative are early competency levels? What role do school and out of school experiences play? Explored role of school leaving age, role of NCEA, other factors from school years formation e.g. engagement in learning, prior competency levels and role of advice. Also looked into learner experiences in tertiary institutions and or employment, learning dispositions, current relationships, activities, financial situation, optimism and future thoughts.

401participants with structured phone interviews and self reports completed on line in 2009. 2008 data from MOE on school qualifications and post school study and face to face interviews with 29 in late 2010 to provide more insight into the 'less well-lit' pathways from school.

Sample from Wellington region with higher proportions of moderate-high family income, maternal qualifications and more pakeha-european sample. Currently, 63% in study, employment without formal study - 28% and neither studying or employed 9%. (69% unemployed/sickness, 31% looking after a child). 11% of sample had experienced unemployment between 16 and 20.

Findings include, relationship with family better than at 16, friends and partners remain  important. Leisure usually spend with friends and family. 2/3 enjoyed sports for fun, texting friends, reading, surfing the  internet (daily use not frequent), most used alcohol.

84% have undertaken post school study supported by employment and loans. almost all thought they would need further study towards a qualification in their adult life, gaining new knowledge and skills valued, employment also a site of learning and choosing the  wrong course of study, not completing it, or deciding not to study the  main source of regrets since leaving school.

Leaving school provided more independence and choices but 61% felt apprehensive. Those who left school with less than NCEA 2 had lower student engagement and motivation levels and found it hard to work out what to do when they left school. Second chance education supposed to open some learning and employment doors if links are well structured and supported. Many who do second chance 'yo yo' between work and course and do not complete. many need much more advise and support post school and at school to gain from formal study. therefore many left school without 'learning identities'.

Positive learning identities include sound learning habits built though good school engagement, support from  school, parents and friends, teachers advise and seeing learning as having its own rewards and useful to  meet future goals.

NCEA level 2 and NQF equivalents are reasonable signals for readiness for some complex transitional arrangements as it represents good level of both attitudinal and cognitive competencies.
Lowest early performance can be improved. 1/3 with low reading and 1/4 with low maths at 8 and 10, obtained NCEA level 3. Factors that make a difference include enjoyment of reading, having leisure interests (not computer games), no bullying /victim experience, family income moderate or more, no adverse events, positive family relationships, friends in adolescence who are not drinking, partying etc.

To shift performance, teachers play  a role with importance placed on knowing children as individuals,

Final report due out in a few weeks but the entire series of reports found at educationcounts site.

No comments: