Summarised by Centrist
NZ Initiative’s Dr Michael Johnston and Ben Macintyre discuss their recent report on classroom streaming in New Zealand and its impact on educational achievement and equality. They define streaming as the separation of students into classes based on their prior attainment.
Key findings include greater learning differences in schools that stream, potential negative effects of destreaming without changes in teaching, and subject-dependent effects of streaming.
International research suggests streaming doesn’t greatly affect average educational attainment, but may lead to larger achievement gaps in streamed schools. This particularly affects students in lower streams, which in NZ means many Māori and Pacific students. However, they say streaming itself may not be the problem, but streaming done poorly.
Overall, they argue that relatively little research is available and recommend conducting a large-scale study on streaming in New Zealand to better inform school decisions.