FAQs – Equity Index

How is the EQI different from deciles?

It is important to note that neither deciles nor the Equity Index (EQI) are measures of school quality. Rather, they are ways for us to understand the relationship between socio-economic circumstances and student achievement.

The decile system uses census information. It considers five variables and is based on the ‘average’ of areas where students live.

  • The percentage of households with income in the lowest 20% nationally.
  • The percentage of employed parents in the lowest skill level occupational groups.
  • The percentage of households that are crowded.
  • The percentage of parents with no educational qualifications.
  • The percentage of parents receiving income support benefits.

The EQI is updated annually through Stats NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), considers 37 variables that we know relate to achievement and is based on the circumstances of individual tamariki and rangatahi, rather than of the areas they live in. Note that all information is deidentified meaning we can’t see names or other identifying details about any person.

Stats NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) – Statistics NZ(external link)

The EQI will help us to better target funding and resources, by: 

  • including a much broader range of socio-economic factors that we know relate to educational success
  • using up-to-date information. Unlike the decile system, the EQI will be updated annually so we have a more accurate view of current socio-economic factors.
  • considering the circumstances of individual tamariki and rangatahi, rather than of the areas they live in.

Deciles will no longer be used for funding from January 2023 and will also begin to be phased out for other initiatives.

How does the EQI compare to deciles?

The decile system and the Equity Index (EQI) are not directly comparable. There are 2 main reasons for this.

  1. They are based on very different statistical methodologies (e.g., the EQI is a much more nuanced model which looks at the impacts of a significantly larger range of socio-economic factors that we know can impact on student achievement).
  2. They are used to apply very different funding methodologies. The funding for EQI is based on a funding curve rather than the stepped decile model. Schools aren’t banded into even sized groups as they are under the decile system for operational grant funding purposes.

Will funding still be based on bands?

No, the funding model we will apply to the Equity Index (EQI) is quite different to the decile model. The new model will have 226 graduated funding rates along a smoothed funding curve. This is different to the decile system that used a stepped funding approach that created ‘funding cliffs’, where schools or kura could see a significant loss/gain in per student funding when moving between deciles. 

Budget 2022 also included a 50% ($75 million) increase in Equity funding. This means that most schools will receive an increase in funding because of these changes. 

For the small number of schools who lose funding we’ll provide transition support. For the 2023 year no school or kura will receive less per-student equity and isolation operational funding due to the EQI and Isolation Index changes. From 2024 any reduction in funding will be capped at 5% per annum of a kura or school’s 2022 operational grant, to ensure funding is phased out over time.

How can I find out if my local school is a good fit for my child?

There are lots of different kinds of schools and kura in New Zealand, but your own choices will depend on where you live and the needs of your child and your family. Most children in New Zealand go to government funded state or state-integrated schools, but there are also private schools available in some areas. 

Some of the things you might want to consider when making your decision include:

  • Visiting the school and speaking to staff
  • Speaking to other whānau who attend the school
  • Reviewing the school’s latest ERO reports on the Education Review Office website.

ERO reports – Education Review Office website.(external link)

I’ve received my EQI number and it’s very different from what I expected. Why is that?

The EQI tells us the extent to which a kura or school’s students might face socio-economic barriers that could get in the way of them achieving at school. A higher EQI number tells us that students at that school face greater socio-economic barriers to achievement relative to other schools and kura.

While schools know their own communities well, what the EQI allows us to do is have a much better picture of the socio-economic status of each school relative to all other schools and kura.

Can I review my EQI number?

There is no review process for the Equity Index (EQI) for a few reasons:

  • It would not be possible to run the same ‘family survey’ model that the current decile review process follows due to the greater range of variables in the EQI, and the different methodology used to calculate the model.
  • The EQI uses actual anonymised student-level information about the children attending a school or kura, rather than the areas they live in. This means it is more accurately reflecting a school’s student population.
  • The EQI is being updated annually, instead of after each Census, so will be much more up to date.

These factors largely reduce the need for a review process.

How will the Equity Index address new schools and kura?

As with the decile system, we use a separate process for allocating Equity Index (EQI) numbers to new or merged schools and kura. New schools will know their EQI number before opening.

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