Immigrant Student Achievement and Education Policy in New Zealand

  • Jenny Poskitt
Part of the Policy Implications of Research in Education book series (PIRE, volume 9)


The performance of immigrant students relative to non-immigrant school students in New Zealand is obscured by systems of ethnicity classification in New Zealand and the Ministry of Education use of ethnic group codes for statistical reporting. Ethnicity (cultural affiliation) is the measure gathered and analysed by schools rather than ancestry or nationality. Accordingly, student performance data are reported according to ethnic groupings rather than immigrant status. Nevertheless, on the basis of historical and current immigration trends, inferences may be made about which ethnic groupings contain higher proportions of immigrants. Analysis of international and national student achievement data indicate that the highest performing student ethnic groupings include one immigrant (Asian) and one non-immigrant grouping (European/Pākeha), and the lowest performing ethnic groupings also comprise one immigrant (Pasifika) and one non-immigrant (Māori) grouping. Each of the ethnic groupings contains students performing at both the highest and lowest performance levels, although the lowest performing ethnic grouping (Pasifika) had nearly half of its students achieving at the lowest levels. However, when socio-economic factors were accounted for the results improved, and national achievement data revealed that Pasifika experienced the highest percentage gains from educational policy interventions. Targeted resources to students who most need it, seems to be a strategy that is making the most difference to lower performers.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand

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