The RAINS research on National Standards
Principal Investigator: Martin Thrupp
Project Dates: 2010 - 2013
The Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) project was a three year study funded by the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa in recognition of the need for high quality research into the effects of the Government’s National Standards policy on New Zealand schools and students.
The project investigated how the Boards of Trustees, leadership teams and teachers of New Zealand primary and intermediate schools were actually responding to the National Standards in everyday practice and how this response was affecting student learning.
The study was partly concerned with the enactment of policy, following previous research that indicated that education policy is never simply ‘implemented’ in schools. Looking at the range of responses to National Standards within and across schools illuminated whether there were patterns common enough to characterise them as genuinely national or whether they were better characterised as local to schools.
A second concern of the project was that overseas research had shown that ‘high stakes’ forms of assessment may have adverse effects such as narrowing of the curriculum, teachers prioritising the teaching of some students over others and damaging effects on students conceptions of themselves as learners. The RAINS project also explored whether or not these were issues that are arising in the New Zealand context.
Additional information can be found on the Primary Education: Taking Stock, Moving Forward website.
Thrupp, M. & White, M. (2013). Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) Project Final Report: National Standards and the Damage Done. Report commissioned by the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Rui Roa (NZEI). Hamilton, New Zealand: Wilf Malcom Institute of Educational Research.
Thrupp, M. (2013). Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) Project. Second Report: Understanding New Zealand’s Very Local National Standards. Hamilton, New Zealand: Wilf Malcom Institute of Educational Research.
Thrupp, M., & Easter, A. (2012). Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) Project. First Report: Researching Schools’ Enactments of New Zealand’s National Standards Policy. Report commissioned by the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Rui Roa (NZEI).
The New Zealand Herald. (May 21, 2012). Martin Thrupp: National Standards comparisons impossible.