A School-Based Measure of Culturally Responsive Practices

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


In Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori students have been identified as priority learner groups because they have lower achievement outcomes, are more likely to leave school earlier without formal qualifications and are less likely to be identified as being gifted and talented than their majority ethnic counterparts. The Ministry of Education has embarked on culturally responsive learning environments strategy for indigenous Māori. Research literature indicates that all students benefit from and perform better in a culturally responsive educational setting. However, the achievement gap between Māori and Non-Māori has remained large to date. The purpose of this study is to understand schools’ cultural responsiveness practices in relation to Māori as a possible factor in persistent low achievement.

A new self-report inventory, the Culturally Responsive Practices for Māori Scale (CRPMS), drawing on Ka Hikitia and Educultural Wheel (Macfarlane, 2004), was designed with a Māori reference group and school principals. Data were collected from a national sample of 165 school principals in 2014.

CFA and MIMIC modeling were used to establish a robust model, examine differences in schools’ culturally responsive practices for Māori by location and number of Māori students, and examine if Māori students perform better in culturally responsive schools.

Among alternative models tested, a measurement model consistent with Macfarlane’s framework had satisfactory model-data fit. No statistically significant differences were found between north and south island primary schools on CRPMS, although there was a positive relationship between the number of Māori students within a school and school’s self-reported CRPMS. Complex results were found between achievement and CRPMS.

Educational underachievement of priority learner groups under Western systems is not unique to New Zealand context, but a global challenge. Therefore, the findings of this study are expected to be of interest to educators and researchers in multilingual and multicultural societies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Test Commission Conference: Improving Policy and Practice: Opportunities and Challenges in an International Context - Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 1 Jul 20164 Jul 2016


Conference10th International Test Commission Conference: Improving Policy and Practice: Opportunities and Challenges in an International Context
Educational Testing and Assessment
Psychological Testing and Assessment
Testing in Employment and Credentialing
Testing in Program Evaluation and Public Policy
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