An Empirical Study of New Zealand Secondary School Performance Under the Qualification System of National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA)
The National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) was introduced as the major qualification system for New Zealand secondary schools in 2004. Given there is limited quantitative research that has examined the New Zealand public school performance under the NCEA system, this thesis attempts to investigate the major features of school performance and examine school productivity changes since the introduction of NCEA. Towards this end, a network data envelopment analysis (DEA) model was employed to measure school performance from multiple dimensions: the overall efficiency and its sub-efficiencies being cost efficiency, academic efficiency and academic effectiveness, of New Zealand high schools during two periods (2004-2006 and 2009-2011). Performance measures for all the sub-models in the network DEA model were selected incorporating the objectives of the primary stakeholder group (Government and the Ministry of Education). New Zealand school performance under the NCEA system has similar features to that under the old qualification system in terms of decile effect, gender difference and integrated school performance. Significant improvements in school productivity in terms of overall efficiency, academic efficiency and academic effectiveness were found since the introduction of NCEA. Regression results suggest that low and medium decile schools and high M?ori density schools had overall a significant improvement in productivity with respect to academic efficiency, whilst co-educational schools on average enjoyed a significant increase in productivity for overall efficiency. These findings confirm that school overall productivity has increased since the introduction of NCEA, and the NCEA system has leveled the playing field for different student groups by narrowing the gap in performance between them. The possible reasons for good/poor performance were also examined by looking at the Education Review Office (ERO) reports for the top ten and bottom ten schools. Good school practice during the later period (2009-2011) focused more on engaging student learning and the use of data, whereas in the earlier period (2004-2006), good practice related to teaching strategy and student support. These differences reflect the dynamic nature of the education system, to which the NCEA system, the national curriculum standards, as well as school performance measurement/management systems need to adapt.