Kohiko Mai


Evaluation Associates is under contract to the Ministry of Education to run Kohiko Mai. It is a short term, school owned, strength-based intervention designed to support Year 7-10 students who have become disengaged from learning. The project will run in a small number of pilot schools in 2019. The experiences of these pilot schools will be gathered and analysed, along with the literature on school engagement, to inform the development of the full project which is due to be implemented in 2020.


Kohiko Mai will support teachers to take a holistic view of their Kohiko Mai rangatahi and consider from every angle the best ways to enhance their engagement and learning. The focus of Kohiko Mai is on optimising the interaction between the learner and the learning environment.

The project name, Kohiko Mai, is significant. Kohiko is to flash or twinkle. It is the metaphor for how a learner shines when they learn something new. Kohiko Mai is an invitation to shine. The opportunity for learning shines first, grabs the attention, then the student shines with the new learning. Kohiko can also mean to interrupt or butt in which can apply to disrupting the path that a learner is on, in order to create new opportunities. It encapsulates the concept of innovation which resides in this programme. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Each school will have a team of teachers, with one acting as lead teacher. At least one school leader will also be involved. The students are invited to participate and will select an adult to advocate for them as their kaitautoko. This adult could be from within the school or whānau. This approach places the learner at the centre of the teaching and learning process.

All teachers in the group will collectively take responsibility for improving outcomes for these learners. They will also commit to ongoing formative evaluation to inform further innovation. The focus of the programme will be most intently on the Kohiko Mai learners, but teachers will likely shift their practice for all students they teach.


The result will be a substantive impact on the lives of these learners who are at risk of leaving school without being engaged in education, employment or training. At a system level, Kohiko Mai will provide examples of different ways to work with learners who need a change in approach right now if they are to experience educational success.

Running alongside the work in kura and schools with rangatahi, teachers, and leaders will be a robust evaluation of Kohiko Mai.

Image source: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Michael https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltk/34099967373/ CC BY-SA 2.0