Arinui: Reflection on our first year

This month Arinui, the appraisal tool developed by Evaluation Associates, turns one year old. And as with any first birthdays, we are celebrating some milestones.


For so long, Evaluation Associates had heard frustrations from teachers and leaders about how to use appraisal for improvement, not just compliance. They were often overwhelmed with piles of evidence to generate and wade through and left quite bogged down in the process. We listened to these concerns and from here, Arinui was born.

Arinui is a school-wide appraisal system which focuses on improving, not just proving. Robust inquiry sits at the heart of this teacher-led appraisal system. We developed Arinui so that teachers and leaders can focus on what matters making a difference for learners rather than just compile evidence that proves how they are meeting the Practising Teacher Criteria. We worked with teachers and leaders in the development phase to make sure that the tool was clean and easy to use as well as sufficiently challenging to dig deeper into teachers practice. 

Developing a tool is one thing, it is another to let it out into the world. We keenly watched as schools up and down the country got on board with Arinui and started using it for their own appraisal process. Working with our early-adopter schools was a great privilege. Some schools used Arinui as a springboard to build strong professional learning communities within their school. Others harnessed the shared understanding of what it means to collaborate with colleagues, and seamlessly integrated reflection on practice and a focus on student learning into their syndicate and department meetings. 

Teachers and leaders shared with us how Arinui was supporting their practice.  We heard how easy it is to use and how the structured reflection questions in each module took teachers' and leaders' thinking deeper.

“Arinui helps keep the teachers focused on their learning. It stops them from just blogging or writing down what they’ve done because there are very tailored questions in Arinui to ask why is that meaningful, how is it meaningful, what does that mean for student learning.”  Moira Blair, Deputy Principal, Meadowbank Primary School

As the year went on, we shared Arinui as widely as we could and saw the numbers of schools signing on skyrocket. So, what hooked them? Partly it was the focus on evaluation and self-improvement. Arinui addressed some of the concerns that teachers and leaders had previously voiced. Appraisal was moving from a management-led process to something that was directly related to the teachers ongoing professional growth.

“Teachers are leading their own learning. Rather than being done to them, it is a ‘with’ process. Arinui takes appraisal away from being stuck in a corner in a filing cabinet. It is a live document. It’s not pulled out at the start and end of the year; it is a living breathing thing.”  Anna Pratt, Learning Leader, Rototuna Junior High School

Our partnership with Arinui schools is something that we are proud to have fostered over the last year. Throughout the year, we have worked with schools to develop Arinui further. Over the summer break, we rolled out the next iteration of Arinui with a greater emphasis on Tātaiako and the impact of your changed practice on learners.  We built Arinui for New Zealand schools and we have an unwavering commitment to modifying and refining our tool to keep pace with changes in education.

On the eve of our first birthday, what do we celebrate?

Arinui is a flexible and responsive tool designed to best support New Zealand educators to improve their practice. We know it is making a difference for teachers, appraisers, and leaders. Arinui is integrated into schools' systems and the Evaluation Associates team can provide professional learning support to make the most out of the tool and teacher appraisal. 

Just like proud parents, we are also looking to the future. We have learnt so much from the schools using Arinui and will continue to refine and enhance its features. We relish the opportunity to get many more New Zealand schools and education organisations on board using New Zealands premier appraisal tool.

Want to find out more? On the Arinui website, you can find out more about the tool, including a video that takes you through the process. You can request a free trial, meet the Arinui team, and find out about pricing and purchase. Or you can email us at

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