Our history

Since 1999, we've supported improvement in the education sector.

Michael Absolum and Evaluation Associates | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga have been working with schools and kura since 1995. Evaluation Associates | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga was established in 1999.

We have a history of innovation. We were the first organisation to:

• use professional development in assessment for learning

• use video evidence to aid analysis of teaching practice

• build inquiry and accelerated student achievement into PLD support

• use effect size analysis of student achievement to evaluate the efficacy of our professional development support.

Development of assessment for learning: 1999

Our approach to assessment for learning was in response to what schools needed. Educators were being told what and how to improve things. They needed was someone to help them make those improvements. Lin Avery came and worked alongside Michael to develop assessment for learning as we know it now. One of the keys to the development of our assessment for learning lens was that Lin asked questions that other researchers hadn’t.

‘We need to be explicit about what assessment for learning means in the classroom. What does the teacher actually do, what do the kids actually do, if assessment is really for learning?’ 

Our point of difference in assessment for learning was the idea of effective classroom practice. Practice that supports learners to be agentic. Practice that leads to self-regulation. Practice that demystifies the learning process. Our assessment for learning model is unique and ahead of its time as it is truly student-centric. 

Over five years Michael and Lin developed a comprehensive set of ideas, images, and resources. They started with the assessment for learning archway. The assessment for learning rubrics followed next. Finally Michael publishing Clarity in the Classroom – an essential text for educators. The last layer of development was The Leadership Dimensions matrix. This was a collaboration with the University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership. This matrix clarifies the knowledge, skills and dispositions of effective leadership for improvement.

Clarity in the classroom
Effective learning

Growing and strengthening our expertise in assessment: 2011

We joined with the University of Auckland and Learning Media Limited as the Consortium for Professional Learning. This consortium offered the Ministry of Education Leadership an Assessment PLD programme. We expanded our offices to Wellington and Christchurch. Our reach into kura and schools become truly national wide. We’ve been providing e-asTTle professional learning and development under Ministry of Education funded support for over a decade. The Ministry of Education contracted us to:

  • to run workshops on National Standards and Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJs)

  • support aromatawai in Māori-medium kura

  • run workshops on the Curriculum Progress Tools

  • provide assessment consultancy for TKI Assessment Online.

New Chief Executive, appraisal and Arinui

In 2015 we welcomed Anna Sullivan, our Chief Executive. Under her leadership we started to extend our reach. Anna brought her national and international expertise in leading professional learning.

From 2013 – 2015 Michael Absolum and Mary Chamberlain worked with several partner associations to develop and deliver nationwide appraisal workshops for leaders. These workshops were followed up with facilitated Professional Learning Group (PLG) activities and personal inquiry into the effectiveness of appraisal processes within their kura, school or ECE.

From these workshops we quickly realised that there needed to be a better way for educators to manage their appraisal and inquire into their practice. We partnered with The Tarn Group, a bespoke digital solutions provider, to create Arinui – an online platform for educator professional growth. From 2016, kura/schools started to use Arinui to improve their practice. Since 2016, Arinui has become a cornerstone for many educators and is now used in educator professional growth cycles.

arinui logo

Leadership advisor contract: 2017

In 2017, we were contracted by the Ministry of Education to support all beginning principals and tumuaki across Aotearoa. 

We have over 40 leadership advisors who work regionally and in both English and Māori-medium settings. They provide in-depth and tailored support.  The scope of support provided by leadership advisors work with beginning principals and tumuaki can include: 

  • increasing learner outcomes

  • consulting with the kura/school community

  • improving teachers’ capability to respond to their learners

  • managing finance and property

  • focusing on the leader’s own wellbeing.

Tumuaki/principals are supported by a leadership advisor in the first two years of their principalship.

Leadership advisors challenge the new leaders’ practice through personalised support, regional hui, and a national hui. The annual National Beginning Principal Hui has become a key leadership event in the education landscape in Aotearoa. 

Our leadership advisors also work with Ministry of Education regional management groups and a range of peak bodies, such as the New Zealand Principals’ Federation, SPANZ, Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa, Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa and NZEI. We work across the sector to make sure that all educators new to leading a kura/school are well-supported. 

Moving beyond our shores and publications – 2019

We have started to expand our support of educators beyond Aotearoa New Zealand. From 2020, the global pandemic saw us start to support educators remotely. We have:

  • run courses on culturally responsive assessment practice with Blue Quills University in Canada

  • partnered with organisations to deliver Leading by Learning in Australia, Denmark, and Norway

  • supported a range of educational leaders in Hong Kong and Victoria, Australia

  • co-developed the Tokelean national curriculum.

Our team continue to strive to find opportunities to raise achievement and reduce disparity. We are comfortable doing this in our backyard and in yours.

In 2019, we also ventured into educational publishing with the establishment of a publications portfolio.

Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga 

In December 2020, we were gifted a Māori name for our company – Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga. In an extensive process of research and discussion involving Māori team members, kaumātua, as well as senior leaders in our company, the name Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga draws together key elements of our history, our purpose, and our vision for the future.  

Within the components of our name, Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga also embodies integral features of our work such as learning (ako, wānanga), knowledge (mātauranga), leadership (kākākura) and evaluation (arotake). Our name calls upon each of us with our unique set of knowledge, skills and experiences to influence and improve education practice and policy for all ākonga in Aotearoa. 

We acknowledge in particular our colleague, Harata Day, for her leadership, wisdom and generosity of the taonga that is our name Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga. He mihi aroha ki a koe, Harata. 

Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga

2022 and beyond...

We’ve grown to a large organisation operating in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. We continue to respond to changes in education. We're excited to continue supporting the education sector to make a difference.

Get in touch with our team now