University to fund Starpath in 2016-2017

22 October 2015

The University of Auckland’s Starpath project is to receive funding for a further two years to continue its work to raise student achievement in low decile schools.

The University’s Vice – Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon has funded $600,000 to underwrite the ongoing implementation of Starpath and to ensure that critical aspects of the work can continue past the expiry date of Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding in December this year.

Starpath is also exploring other possible sources of funding to expand the work it does with partner schools or communities of learning.

Director Professor Cindy Kiro says Starpath has worked with 39 partner schools in two phases over the past 11 years.

“In that time we have learned a great deal about data utilisation within these schools and about literacy and leadership practices and the opportunities available to Māori and Pasifika students, particularly in low decile schools, to learn and achieve,” says Professor Kiro.

Starpath will continue to work with some partner schools Some schools may not wish to continue. Some new schools may want to join Starpath and some schools may not need Starpath as much as others.

“We need to make decisions about how best to use a smaller resource in to continue to raise student achievement for Māori, Pāsifika and other students in low decile schools next year.”

Professor Kiro says resources will be targeted towards low decile schools committed to working with Starpath, and those which have high numbers of Māori and Pāsifika students.

Starpath is planning a more focused approach to work with fewer schools using a stronger evidence base, and is likely to work with Year 9 & 10 pupils – as well as in senior school.

There are plans for an increased use of academic counselling and clear checklists for NCEA attainment – especially for University Entrance, for embedding data utilisation skills among staff, and for the active use of these data for quality academic planning. Starpath will work with classroom teachers to enhance the quality of learning through improving teacher literacy in specific subject specialties. These strategies will create enhanced opportunities to learn for priority learners, much clearer and more widely understood targets, and active monitoring based on high expectations of student achievement.

Starpath will develop a specific workplan in the new year, once commitments to the TEC funded work are completed at the end of March 2016.


  1. Support from the UoA will enable Starpath to continue its research and work inschools from Jan 2016 to Dec 2017, albeit on a smaller scale.
  2. We will focus our efforts on strongly committed, low decile schools with high numbers of Māori and Pāsifika students within Northland Tai Tokerau and Auckland Tamaki Makaurau
  3. We will embed data utilisation, start earlier with Year 9 & 10, enrich subject specialty literacy learning (increased opportunities to learn), academic counselling and parent student teacher conferencing
  4. We also want to increase student and whānau family engagement in academic decisions earlier for students
  5. We are hopeful that additional funding will be available and have ambitious plans for student achievement should this be forthcoming.
  6. We will continue to learn by modelling an evidence-based approach using data to refine what things we do and how we do them.


Anna Kellett, Media Relations Adviser