Tue 14 Aug 2018

WITT gets its confidence back

Confident in educational performance.

Confident in capability in self-assessment.

Those two lines open a New Zealand Qualifications Authority external evaluation report on the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT), which has been, released today (August 14, 2018).

The vote of confidence was a testimony to the work of everyone at the institute, chief executive Barbara George said.  Council, leadership, staff, students and stakeholders all contributed to this success. 

The report noted WITT has made considerable improvement in its governance, management, educational strategies and processes since the previous evaluation.  It acknowledged WITT’s work in engaging with industry, an upward trend dating back three years in student pass rates, and an improving rate of Māori and Pasifika achievement.

Barbara George said WITT welcomed the report “because it not only validates our consistent effort but also serves as an ongoing roadmap of how we can provide a better service for our learners and our community”.

The executive were fully aware of the recommendations made at the end of the report, and in most cases, plans were already well underway to strengthen outcomes, she said. 

“These included improving consultation and partnerships in some programmes and greater consideration of data where we think our analysis is thin.”

The report acknowledged WITT’s Academic Leaders, and the work that has been done to monitor assessment and moderation, and remedy any areas identified. 

“The report confirmed what we already know about our excellent teachers, that staff are well qualified and experienced, and programmes are planned and delivered to meet the needs of students and other stakeholders.”

The support and services team were acknowledged with the report noting that increasingly better-resourced and skilled personnel provided students with appropriate support and that they have access to information face-to-face and online.

Barbara George said WITT’s Bachelor of Nursing achievement rates showed WITT was producing excellent nurses for the region, and it would continue to improve the programme through increased engagement with stakeholders. 

“The purpose of the review was to highlight areas that did not perform so well, which guides WITT for improved outcomes for learners and employers over the next four years.”

Other key points in the report:

·         Course completion rates rose from 72 to 80 per cent and qualification rates remained at 55 per cent – an improvement on 2015-2016, where achievement had trended down.

·         For 2015-2017, completion rates rose by 15 per cent for Māori, 30 per cent for Pasifika students, and 9 per cent for non-Māori.

·         The report said 82 per cent of students were satisfied with their study and 63 per cent believed their qualification helped with their search for work. Of the employers surveyed, 83 per cent were satisfied with their experience of students’ knowledge and skills.

·         Students’ involvement in learning is increased through real-life experiences.

·         Te Rautaki Māori strategy has been developed and implemented, and there were signs of improvements in Māori participation and achievement rates.

·         WITT was providing well for its international students.

Barbara George said the report would reinforce confidence amongst students, both domestically and internationally that WITT was an outstanding choice for tertiary education.

“The WITT team is justified in the pride we show in our work - it’s a brilliant result.”