The research theme of HUMAN RIGHTS aims to investigate how some students and groups of students are denied their rights to, and within education, why this occurs and what can be done to overcome the inequity that these students experience. The research aims to better understand the notion of educational inequity from a rights perspective and to improve educational outcomes for marginalised and excluded learners.

Current Research 

Child and Youth Profile: A New Zealand Toolkit

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY) framework described by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2007) offers a way to conceptualize and describe a child or youth’s developing characteristics within his or her surrounding environment, while noting the influence of health, including disabilities, on the child or youth’s functioning and adaptation. The framework is widely used in the fields of education, special education, health, rehabilitation, disability studies and disability policy internationally, with a particularly strong influence in Europe and Nordic countries. The Child and Youth Profile developed by the researchers is based on core elements of ICF-CY and designed for use in New Zealand contexts but is also informative to an international audience.

This project will pilot the Child and Youth Profile developed by the researchers. The profile is designed as a toolkit to support teachers, families, and specialists to reflect on and organize their understanding of a child’s strengths and limitations; sensory function; participation at school, home, and in the community; and interests and preferences.

The research project is intended to gather stakeholder feedback on the usefulness and social validity of the toolkit. Research questions to be addressed:

  • How do different stakeholders (teachers, education professionals, and parents) use the Child and Youth Profile?
  • To what extent is the Child and Youth Profile useful in educational planning?
  • To what extent is the Child and Youth Profile socially valid?

For information about the project, please contact the researchers

Julia Budd: J.M.Budd@massey.ac.nz

Tara McLaughlin: T.W.McLaughlin@massey.ac.nz

Sally Clendon: S.Clendon@massey.ac.nz

Student Voice

The World Declaration of Education for All and the Dakar Framework for Action have a vision of universalizing access to education for all and promoting equity. Decisions on equitable practices for children are usually made based on an understanding of equity from the perspectives of policy makers and teachers; our understanding of equity from learners’ perspectives is limited. Factors that contribute to people’s differing experiences of access to learning include: ability, ethnicity, culture, gender, socio-economic status, infrastructure and context. Understanding learners’ perspectives of equity will enable and contribute to the development of responsive more equitable learning experiences.

This evolving research project aims to:

  • Explore learners’ experiences and perspectives of equity
  • Utilise these experiences to develop a psychometrically sound instrument for surveying a wider range and number of learners across New Zealand
  • Examine the relationship of factors [ability, SES, gender, culture, language, ethnicity, educational context and setting] in influencing equity
  • Understand the relationships in more depth through qualitative interviews
  • Develop a measure of equity (based on learners’ perspectives)
  • Develop the information that can be practically used by practitioners in education and non-education settings to bring about change

The project will be led by Tracy Riley and Dr Peter Rawlins, working with Institute of Education researchers in the Equity Through Education research group and Mixed Methods Group. For more information or to get involved, contact Tracy or Peter by email.

Past Research 

What Made School So Good?

Located theoretically in childhood studies and disability studies this case study explored one students’ successful experience in a New Zealand secondary school and her positive transition into a busy working adult life. A student with a disability (and high needs for learning support) acted as co-researcher with two researchers to explore aspects of school culture, teaching practice, and transition support in the secondary school she recently graduated from. Interviews with teachers and retrospective analysis by the student herself focused on the meaning of academic and social participation at secondary school, and the ways in which teachers supported the student’s participation and learning, contributing to a positive adult life in the community.

Behind young people's rights under the UNCRC to receive and give information, and to take part in decision-making processes that affect them is an assumption that children and young people are resilient and capable, and can form their own views. Findings exemplified a rights-based climate of caring and reciprocity at school, in which student participation and voice were key elements of inclusive teaching and learning processes.

The overarching objective of the project was to gain parents'/caregivers, perceptions of the usefulness and effectiveness of programmes and interventions at individual, school and family contexts for their children and young persons aged 0-21 with ASD. The project had three distinct phases. There was an initial e-survey that was distributed through Autism NZ database. The second phase involved three focus groups of 13 families and a third phase of five Case studies

The need for a more collaborative and seamless interactions between families, schools, health, education and other service providing organisations to better understand and utilize available resources more effectively. There was also compelling and strong arguments for increasing the professional expertise of classroom teachers and also to up skill parents on an ongoing basis.

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