Starpath launches Toolkit to raise student achievement

30 March 2016

The Starpath Project has launched an online Toolkit to assist New Zealand secondary schools to raise student achievement and aspirations.

Based on more than ten years of research in low-to-mid decile schools, the free Toolkit is designed to support schools in their use of Starpath practices to improve student outcomes.

Starpath is a University of Auckland-based research project which works with secondary schools to better understand the educational dynamics which lead to academic success and tertiary participation.

Since the project began in 2005 a total of 39 secondary schools in Auckland and Northland have adopted Starpath practices. The Toolkit is a proven set of strategies developed within these schools to raise achievement.

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

“A great deal of research and time has been put into developing this Toolkit from both the Starpath team and its partner schools. We are pleased and excited that our strategies can now be made available to all secondary schools in New Zealand.”

The Toolkit is based on the comprehensive use of academic counselling and clear checklists for NCEA attainment – especially for University Entrance; embedding data utilisation skills among staff; the active use of data for quality academic planning; and better engagement of family and whānau.

Schools can now access resources, case studies, checklists and templates to implement Starpath strategies and customise them to their individual circumstances.

The Starpath Toolkit can be viewed at  

About Starpath

The Starpath Project for Tertiary Participation and Success based at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work was established in 2005 to bring about ‘a dramatic transformation in educational and economic outcomes’ for groups of students currently under represented in higher education in New Zealand.

In 2013, just over one in two Māori and one in three Pasifika students left school without a formal qualification. Over the past 11 years, Starpath has developed evidence-based strategies to transform these patterns of educational underachievement through the use of accurate, ‘fit for purpose’ data.

NCEA and UE results prior to and after the intervention of Starpath have improved in all Starpath partner schools. Significant gains have also been made in school practices including expectations of achievement; informed student goal setting; tracking and monitoring of student progress; middle and senior school leadership, literacy across the curriculum and whānau/family-school partnerships.