Streaming, broadbanding and pepper-potting: Managing Maori students in secondary schools

Judith Simon
Vol 12, Number 1-2, p.25
This paper examines the ways the students are sorted into classes at secondary school level, drawing upon ethnographic research conducted within Auckland secondary schools in 1987- 88. While eighteen secondary schools were included in the original research sample the discussion here centres on the ways in which students were sorted and classified at one of these schools - Nikau High School. This school was chosen for discussion because it reveals the social implications of these processes, particularly in relation to the Maori students. Of the eighteen schools in the research sample, all but four employed some form of streaming or broadbanding to place the students in classes. At least six of these schools, including Nikau High School, employed the Test of Scholastic Abilities (NZCER, 1981) as the basis for these processes and all but one of these six schools had a significant number of Maori and Pacific Islands students enrolled. Since TOSCA is still being used at Nikau High School as a basis for placing the third-form students into classes it is important to examine it in some detail and consider the implications of its use as a basis for classifying students.