Our Impact

Springboard Trust's impact on New Zealand students and schools.

Analysis and evaluation of Springboard Trust's impact on New Zealand learners.

2019 Impact Report

In 2019, Springboard Trust continued to improve outcomes for students, principals and schools across New Zealand. Reaching a record 154,212 learners nationwide, our portfolio of programmes, workshops and services supported more than 400 principals in improving their educational leadership.   In this Portfolio Impact Report, you will find:   A breakdown of our portfolio by region and programme.  Qualitative and quantitative analysis of our impact on New Zealand school leaders and students.   Analysis of our volunteers' work and impact. We have gone further than ever before in the evaluation of our impact on students in NZ schools, and are thrilled with the results - we hope you are too. 

Reflexive thematic analysis and the challenge of leadership evaluation

How we measure our impact for New Zealand learners. At Springboard Trust, we work with more than 300 volunteers and principals every single year. Each of these individuals has their own unique experience, bringing their own expertise and background to courses like Springboard Coaching for Leadership and the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme.   Throughout their journey with Springboard, and for some time afterwards, we gather information on the impact that Springboard’s work has had through surveys, interviews and specially designed assessment rubrics. This gives us a significant breadth of qualitative and quantitative data about how our portfolio impacts principals, volunteers, organisations, schools, senior leaders and New Zealand students.  Every year, we publish this data – along with substantial analysis of it - in our Impact Report. It includes our work on a new evaluation framework, reflexive thematic analysis, qualitative and quantitative findings that link the work we do with principals to positive outcomes for students.  With the 2019 edition now available for you to read, it’s a good time to break down some of the ways we use this data to measure our impact.   How we are measuring our impact: Reflexive thematic analysis  In the past, we have presented impact data qualitatively, as stand-alone case studies or supporting evidence. By utilising reflexive thematic analysis and a dedicated statistician, we have been able to turn this wealth of information into statistically significant findings around our impacts on schools and learners.   Thematic analysis (TA) is an overarching term for a set of practices in psychology, that have applications well beyond this field. In TA, researchers analyse qualitative data (like interviews, surveys or other expressive, open-ended responses) and identify statistically significant themes and outcomes. In short, it’s a more objective way of demonstrating results from data sets that can be highly subjective.   Reflexive thematic analysis (RTA) is a subset of this, and was originally developed by the University of Auckland’s Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke in 2006. Since then, it has become a hugely popular approach which has seen it being used as a methodological approach in hundreds of academic journals internationally.  It is particularly well-suited to data sets that relate to people’s personal experiences or perceptions, and so forms a useful basis for analysing Springboard Trust’s impact.   RTA consists of the following six key steps which are recursive - meaning that the researcher might move back and forth between these steps several times:   Familiarising yourself with the data or information  Giving each element of the data a name or label (coding)  Developing the high-level themes or patterns within the data  Reviewing these themes against the entire dataset  Detailing and analysing each theme  Writing up the findings  We have adopted this approach, together with quantitative methods for the 2019 Portfolio Impact Report with the assistance of a dedicated Research and Evaluation professional, resulting in the most in-depth analysis of Springboard Trust’s impact to date. The challenge of measuring the impact of educational leadership  Springboard Trust’s ultimate goal is to improve outcomes for New Zealand students, which we do by enhancing educational leadership. However, research on this area has indicated some complexity in linking leadership in schools directly to student outcomes.   While it might seem reasonably straightforward to evaluate an SBT programme’s impact (just ask one of our principals), there has been ongoing debate about whether it is possible to determine the true and direct impact of principal development programmes. This debate is prevalent right across the development spectrum – not just in Springboard’s work.   Specifically, while there has been consensus on the role of leadership in student achievement, there has been a general reluctance to confront the challenge of determining indicators of effectiveness, identifying what aspects to measure, how to measure them and how to interpret and respond to the results.   This means the challenge for researchers – and Springboard Trust – is to go further in our evaluation than the bulk of educational research has gone before to navigate the complexity of tying school leadership, organisational function, teacher effectiveness and student learning together. That means clarity in identifying the focus and outcomes, consideration of whether these outcomes can be achieved in the short-, medium- or long-term, the selection of relevant and varied data sources (e.g., multiple stakeholders, multiple methods) and the systematic collection of evidence over time. All of this must also be tied together in an agreed-upon evaluation framework and a commitment to gathering data from the short- to long-term. Without that long-term commitment to evidence the impact of development programmes, we have - at best - a snapshot of delivery rather than evidence of impact over time. The challenge of evaluation is not one we – or anyone working in this field – can solve overnight. But we believe that with this Impact Report, we have laid the groundwork for some remarkable findings in how school leadership influences student outcomes.   It forms part of our commitment to both improving student outcomes and continuously improving our portfolio, year on year, to better help principals and learners alike. We're thrilled with the results, hope you enjoy them too. 
7 min read

The ultimate goal of Springboard Trust is to improve outcomes for New Zealand students.  

While this begins at improving school leadership, it is vital that we can track our impact as it flows throughout a school. We do this through our Theory of Change.  

Theory of Change

The Theory of Change is a proposed multi-year model that tracks a principal’s development, and how that growth and learning flows through to other – ultimately creating the conditions for better student outcomes.  

Mapping our impact

It is along this model that we track our impact.  

This begins with learning the core tenets of strategic leadership – planning, resourcing, leading change and engaging stakeholders effectively. Principals are more than school leaders, they are community pillars. As such, their ability to positively engage everyone they come into contact with is vital.  

When principals have bedded in these skills, they begin to take their senior leaders on the journey with them. Through our Alumni Services, we help educational leadership teams develop distributed leadership (in line with peer-reviewed research on how leadership influences student outcomes).  

Over time, principals develop an environment that allows student to thrive. While a long-term process, it is one where we see near-immediate impacts on the ground in New Zealand schools.  

As our annual analysis shows, specific improvements in student outcomes under principals that have worked with us can be attributed to changes they made through our programming.  

For more information and details of our research, please find our annual Impact Reports below.

2018 Impact Report

Springboard Trust 2018 Impact Report

The 2018 Impact Report from Springboard Trust breaks down the breadth, depth and scope of our portfolio, as well as how the development we enable impacts New Zealand student outcomes.

2017 Impact Report

Springboard Trust 2017 Impact Report

The 2017 Impact Report from Springboard Trust explores the impact of our recently introduced Alumni Services, the growth of the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme, and the impact these have on New Zealand student outcomes.

2016 Impact Report

Springboard Trust 2016 Impact Report

Read the Executive Summary, discussing the birth of Alumni Services, plans for growth through to 2020, and the impact we have on New Zealand students in the 2016 Impact Report.

2015 Impact Report

Strengthening the Strategic Leadership of New Zealand Principals

A 2015 report by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research into the impact of the Strategic Leadership for Principals Programme on students.

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