Hub projects have strong organisational impact
Ako Aotearoa’s Regional Hub staff have been conducting reviews of all completed hub projects with the project teams. This forms a valuable part of our organisation-wide strategic initiative to measure positive shift in teaching practice as a result of the project work, and how that may benefit learners.
The Central Hub has recently completed 3 impact evaluations for projects completed 6 months ago and we are delighted to report that in each case the work is already achieving very positive results for learners and teachers. The projects involved are:
- Supporting first-year Māori and Pacific students on distance education courses at Open Polytechnic
- Developing resources for recently appointed teachers at Wellington Institute of Technology
- Evaluating a mentoring scheme for Pacific students at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT).
Supporting first-year Māori and Pacific students on distance education courses at Open Polytechnic
Successful completion rates for Māori students at Open Polytechnic in 2008 and 2009 rose 12% (compared with 2007) following the implementation of this culturally-relevant peer support programme. Pacific student completion rates for the same period were reported to have also risen by 6% for the same period.
The project Culturally relevant support for first-year Māori and Pasifika student engagement, retention and success was undertaken by Catherine Ross, Manager of the Learning Centre at the Open Polytechnic. The report is used in the professional development of new and existing Open Polytechnic staff and it is fantastic to see that this support system has been extended to Level 5 students at the polytechnic and the whole programme is to be re-evaluated during 2012.
Developing resources for recently appointed teachers at Wellington Institute of Technology
Supporting professional development of new teachers also resulted in the Coffee Break Guides project at WelTec. This series of 11 short guides, which assists new lecturers and tutors, encompasses a range of topics from Educational technologies, Embedding literacy and Effective presentations, to Student workload and Supporting Māori students 'Our Voice'.
Pauline Crook, Manager of the Academic Strategy and Development Centre at WelTec and creator of the guides believes their success is due to their concise format. Each includes an overview of each topic, bullet point advice, and references for further resources to help teachers get to grips with starting their teaching careers.
To date more than 300 new WelTec staff, including those involved in a part-time teacher orientation programme, have used the guides. The guides are also receiving very positive feedback from other staff, with their quick, easy, to-the-point style. Ako Aotearoa’s website also provides a great way for people beyond WelTec to share the guides and around 350 of the guides have been downloaded since their release.
Evaluating a mentoring scheme for Pacific students at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)
A mentoring project at EIT has increased the successful course completion rate for Pacific students within the faculty by 10% since the scheme was introduced about 2 years ago. The project Pasifika students: supporting academic success through the provision of mentoring, by Dr Diane Mara and Maryanne Marsters from EIT, investigated the factors positively associated with successful mentoring for Pacific students. The study included analysis of an existing mentoring scheme within their faculty to determine the key factors for success.
Our evaluation shows that teaching staff are very supportive of the mentoring programme and proactively refer students to the mentors, and it is exciting to see that EIT will be assessing the scheme with the view to implementing it across all faculties in the near future.
These impact reviews are continuing across Ako Aotearoa’s entire national and Regional Hub project work. The reviews provide our organisation, the project teams, their departments and organisational leaders with valuable evidence-based information that demonstrates the impact of their work on teaching practice and learner benefit.
Find out how Ako Aotearoa's impact evaluation process works.