Survey of Y8/9 Languages Students to shape option choices

Results of Y8 and Y9 Language Classes Option Survey 2015

280 students completed the survey, however only 100 results are shown here as we do not have professional version of Survey Monkey. Hence also the screen shots used here to show results.

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Analysis of results:


Only 50% of students felt learning a language was important, with the majority choosing not to continue, despite two thirds saying they enjoyed it.  Thus only 31% plan to carry on with this option choice through secondary school.


Less than half students (42%) feel that some subjects should be compulsory, with only 26% saying the four core subjects should be.  This indicates a need for change from the status quo and the desire from client students for more choice in their education.


Surprisingly, 34% would have chosen a language if it ws not compulsory at Y9, more or less the percentage that plan to continue studying language through college.  Most preferred the option of a half year course, while nearly one third expressed the desire for the choice of half or full year.  This would not be difficult to timetable – optional courses – but would need some rejigging of higher level courses to accommodate different levels of pre learning. This is not impossible, as motivation is the key rather than prerequisites, as shown by the Y11 student who began Japanese at Y11 in 2015 and consistently gained Excellence level grades.


The reasons rankings for learning another language are evenly spread, clearly demonstrating that students do understand the different benefits, but rate travel over career.  This reflects the national attitude that learning another language is not an essential, an attitude which fails to reflect the growing impact of globalization, immigration and TTPA agreements on New Zealand’s culture and economy.  We are failing if we cannot ensure that students are better equipped for an international workplace.

From this small number surveyed, the conclusion is that making language not compulsory at Y9 will have no impact on numbers, as the same number of students say they would choose it anyway as would choose to continue the option through college.  This would mean less Y9 classes to staff, enabling just one teacher to take Y9-13, and thus provide a better retention rate and more predictable class sizes for higher levels. Making language non compulsory at Y9 would also mean reducing three taster courses to one.


This should be considered in conjunction with the possiblity of combining the two remaining taster courses at Y7 and Y8, with students having one language taster over the two year period.  Y7 enthusiasm has too often disappeared by Y8 due to overexposure.  Bearing in mind that retention has steadily decreased from the time of induction of Y7 and 8 into the languages program, it is increasingly clear that it is important to manage taster courses to ensure they are effective.



Y11 Spanish 2014 Data Reflection

Y11 Spanish 2014 TAI report to M.Quigley Associate Principal, OC

What did you do that was different? Focus on digital teaching differences.

Hadn’t taught this year level for 2-3 years. Introduced blogs for publication of drafts and final written texts & conversation videos for internal assessment portfolios.

Used Language Perfect for vocabulary learning, focused on verbs

Used topic and task based teaching to cover grammar and language – students then wrote or conversed about the topic.

Taught some grammar more incidentally than directly  eg periphrasal verbs

What happened as a result?

Results: increased percentages at NA/A level but also increased percentages at M/E level when compared with 2013/2012.  Important to bear in mind that our numbers are so low that statistical percentages don’t really tell us much, for instance 3 students who did not submit sufficient work received NA for 90910, Interact, giving a 20% NA rating for this standard. Ethnicity has little impact with one student identifying as Asian, and gender no impact with 1 student identifying as male.

National statistics comparison:

  No Students NA A M E
National 2014 8.1% 27.5% 32.5% 31.8%
Decile 9 2014 6.4% 22.7% 31.2% 39.7%
OC 2014 15 15.6% 18.8% 29.7% 35.9%
2013 13 3.7% 40.7% 31.5% 24.1%
2012 13 2.1% 29.2% 52.1% 16.7%


Student voice was positive regarding Language Perfect as an online vocabulary learning platform; overwhelmingly negative on blogs for publication. Students find them unrewarding in general.

Where to next?

Continue to use Language Perfect as a focus for Languages dept TAI this year, but extend this tool with weekly tests based on vocabulary lists created by individual teachers which concentrate on specific groupings and sets covered in classwork. Test results data provided by LP analysed to determine effectiveness in terms of vocabulary acquisition and retention.  This should feed into better results in external examinations involving listening and reading.

Introduce Cuaderno de vocabulario to support and extend LP learning/classwork with vocabulary.


Continue to use blogs, but link these externally to other Spanish classes – Cynthia Voigt and Sharon Birch’s classes in US, Farmlands School in Chile and Colegio Anunciata in Leon, Spain to share other student’s learning. This year we have been invited to participate in a video exchange with colegio Anunciata.

Increase focus on blog itself as a webpage showcase not just a medium for submission. Introduce more reflection on blogs or using survey apps at the end of each task. Picked up on idea of asking two students to record their thoughts on a unit/task/activity on my iphone to get more student feedback on vocabulary learning.

Data Analysis Questions

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????NCEA has provided a data rich and data specific environment. Analysis could be endless. HoDs need to learn what they specifically wish to focus on. They need to look globally at the performance of all courses to get a feel, then to look at standards within each course, and teachers within each course, to identify strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths need to be analysed, why have we performed well?
 Why are we performing well in this area?
 Is is a well-written Unit, Course, Standard?
 Is it well resourced?
 How can we use this knowledge to improve even further and to work on identified weaknesses in other courses or standards within a course?
 Are are Top classes performing as well as expected?
 If not, why not?
 Which teachers are consistently performing well?
 What can we learn from them?
If you complete such an analysis for your class, write it up, send a copy to your HoD, keep a copy for yourselves and you are ticking the box for some EVIDENCE FOR REGISTERED TEACHERS CRITERIA 4, 5, 6, 11 AND POSSIBLY 12.
Eight questions suggesting ways to look at the information emerging from Assessments.
 Is this an especially difficult / easy aspect of this subject?
 Is this skill dependent on another? (For example, how much is research dependent on reading? Do you need to be able to do algebra well to succeed at trigonometry?).
 Are our Level 1 students, in general, simply good / weak at this aspect? (Are they better at production / performance skills than conceptual / abstract skills?).
 Does this subject / standard attract relative experts – or does virtually the whole population take this subject? (Students in some sciences, arts and languages tend to be specialising already).
 Are teaching methods and resources especially strong / weak in this area?
 Have we neglected this area in the past? (Areas that have not been formally assessed nationally in the past may not have been given high priority in classrooms. School Certificate may not have demanded high level thinking in some areas. Teachers and students may not have had clear expectations and targets).
 Are the National Standards appropriate? (When they are reviewed, do they need to be eased, raised or clarified?).
 Have we got the right assessment approach? (Are students getting ample opportunity to show how well they can do? Are all assessments adequately assessing to the intended standard?).
 Which teachers are under-performing? Why? Against a specific standard? Or generally?
 What support or professional development is required to help so that our learners can benefit in the future.
 Such in depth analysis is new. NCEA and the data it provides is new. Our HoDs need to undertake such analysis and strategically plan for the year as a result of this data.
Our Teachers need to reflect on their classes in 2015