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Smoking cigarettes is worse teenage behaviour than smoking marijuana, according to Year 11-13 students from New Zealand schools. Furthermore, they think that their parents would agree with them.

The insight comes from CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura, a non-profit, online educational project that brings statistics to life in both English and Māori-medium classrooms. Supervised by teachers, students from Years 5-13 anonymously answer 30 questions in English or te reo Māori on digital devices. The project is run by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in partnership with the Ministry of Education and StatsNZ.

This year, more than 2,840 Year 11-13 students (aged 15-18) only were asked: How wrong do you think it is for someone your age to a) drink alcohol b) smoke tobacco cigarettes; c) smoke e-cigarettes d) smoke marijuana. They were able to choose a range of options on a scale from ‘not at all wrong’ to ‘very wrong’. The results showed that 61% of students felt that it was very wrong for people their age to smoke cigarettes, followed by smoking marijuana (52%), smoking e-cigarettes (44%), and drinking alcohol (22%).

Students were also asked how their parents/caregivers would feel about them doing the same things. The results were smoking cigarettes (81% of students felt that parents would consider this very wrong); marijuana (76%); e-cigarettes (69%) and alcohol (33%).

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says that the finding that smoking cigarettes, which is legal, was rated as worse behaviour than smoking marijuana, which is illegal for recreational use, was surprising. “Our figures can’t tell us why students perceived smoking cigarettes as worse than smoking marijuana,” she says. “However, we can speculate that it has something to do with what they see and hear around them and changing societal attitudes.” 

For example, New Zealand has had an anti-smoking law since 1990, which has discouraged and denormalised smoking for all of these students’ lives and most of their parents’ existence. Twenty-five years ago, one in four people aged 15 or over smoked daily; today, the tally is 13%. 

In contrast, although marijuana is illegal, it is the most-used illicit drug in New Zealand, with researchers estimating that by the age of 21, around 80% of young people will have used marijuana at least once. Pressure to legalise marijuana for recreational use has built to the extent that New Zealanders will choose whether or not to legalise and regulate it in a referendum alongside the general election next year.  

In other findings:

  • The older teens became, the less likely they were to see drinking alcohol as a bad thing for people their age to do. In Year 11, 28% of students saw drinking alcohol as very wrong. By Year 13, that figure was 12%. 
  • As students aged, they perceived that their caregivers relaxed over the issue of them drinking as well. One in two Year 11 students (42%) felt that their parents would see drinking alcohol as a bad thing for people their age to do. By Year 13, that figure was one in six (17%).  
  • However, this was not the case with cigarettes, with less of a drop as students aged. In Year 11, 65% felt that cigarette smoking by their age group was very wrong, compared to 55% in Year 13. 
  • The figures for perceived parental attitudes towards teens smoking cigarettes did not drop much with age. A total of 82% of Year 11s said their parents would view their age group smoking as very wrong, compared to 79% of Year 13 students.

CensusAtSchool runs every two years. This year’s census, the ninth, was launched on March 4. More than 23,000 students from 458 schools have taken part to date. See if your local school has participated here.  

CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people and is carried out in Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

One in three New Zealand high-school students say they spend too much time on social media, the latest results of a nationwide survey reveal.   

The insight comes from CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura, a non-profit, online educational project that brings statistics to life in both English and Māori-medium classrooms. Supervised by teachers, students from Years 5-13 anonymously answer 30 questions in English or te reo Māori on digital devices.

This data comes from the first 12,000 students to complete the census. This year, students were asked whether the time they spent on social media accounts was about right, too little or too much. Overall, one in three high-school students felt that their use of social media was excessive. This was highest among girls, with 40% spending too much time on social media, compared with just 20% for boys.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says that the findings suggest that students are well aware of public discussion about the drawbacks of social media. “Connecting with peers is important to young people, and they seem to know about the pros and cons of using social media. The fact they’re reflecting on their own use of social media is a good thing.”  

In other findings, one in three boys in primary school (33%) and secondary school (30%) believe that their time spent playing video games is excessive. However, 45% of primary girls and 65% of high-school girls said they don’t get enough time playing video games.    

In other findings:

  • Facebook has fallen from favour with younger high-school students, with Instagram taking its place. In 2011, 80% of Year 9 students had a Facebook profile. This steadily declined to 33% in 2019. Now, 78% of Year 9 students have Instagram, up from 66% in 2015.
  • 49% of high schoolers with a phone say that they always or often check for messages and notifications as soon as they wake up in the morning.
  • Half of high-school students say a weekend without their phone would make them feel angry, anxious, frustrated, sad, or lonely. Students could choose from as many as applied from angry, anxious, frustrated, happy, lonely, relieved, sad, neutral, and other. A total of 12% chose angry, 15% chose anxious, 14% chose lonely, 14% chose sad, and 24% said that they would feel frustrated.

CensusAtSchool runs every two years. This year’s census, the ninth, was launched on March 4 and runs until July 5. During that time, up to 30,000 school children are expected to participate. More than 1,990 teachers from 906 schools have registered; see if your local school is taking part here.  

CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people and is carried out in Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

Nearly half of Kiwi students taking part in a nationwide in-school census believe that climate change “is an urgent problem that needs to be managed now”.

Students aged from 9 to 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) taking part in the statistics education project CensusAtSchool, or TataurangaKiTeKura in te reo Māori, were asked to choose an option that best described their opinion on climate change. A total of 44% of the students selected the statement that climate change was “an urgent problem that needs to be managed now”.

A total of 17% of all participants chose the statement that climate change was “a problem that needs to be managed in the future”. Just 10% believed that climate change was “not a problem”, and 29% either didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion.

High-school students felt the most acute sense of urgency, with 55% of year 9-13 students agreeing that climate change was “an urgent problem that needs to be managed now”.

The findings, from the first 4,900 students to take part in CensusAtSchool, come as young people prepare for a student ‘strike’ to push for increased government action on climate change. Thousands of New Zealand students will leave school on Friday March 15 to join a day of protest called Student Strike for Climate Action, calling on politicians to act quickly to limit global warming. In New Zealand, more than 25 rallies are due to take place in the four main centres and smaller towns.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says that every edition of the schools’ census asks topical questions affecting young people. The climate change question in this census was added at the request of teachers last year – well before the current protest action was organised.

“Teachers told us that climate change was an issue for students and they asked for a question so students could see real, relevant data on the issue,” Rachel Cunliffe said. “At present, the only way to get hard data about the opinions and beliefs of New Zealand’s young people is through CensusAtSchool, so we added the question about climate change so young people themselves and the public can see exactly how their generation feels.”

The CensusAtSchool results reflect a nationwide poll of adults aged 18 and over carried out last March by Horizon Research. It found that 64% of adults nationwide believed climate change was a problem, 29% of them saying it was urgent.

CensusAtSchool, which launched on Monday March 4, is a biennial statistics project that shows students how data-science skills reveal the unseen and can be used to make informed decisions about their own lives.

Supervised by teachers, students from Year 5 to Year 13 fill in a digital questionnaire about their activities and opinions, with data returned to teachers for classroom analysis. The figures on climate change come from the first 3,400 students to take part; up to 30,000 students are expected to have their say before the census closes on July 5 this year.

CensusAtSchool started in New Zealand in 2003, and is run by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics with support from Stats NZ and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan, and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

A large national survey that will give an intriguing glimpse into schoolchildren’s lives launches today. 

Thousands of primary, intermediate and secondary school students around the country will share their views on issues as wide-ranging as climate change, the amount of time they spend on digital devices, and how they handle interpersonal issues. Senior students will be asked to also share their own attitudes and perceived parental attitudes to activities such as drinking and smoking by young people. 

The students are taking part in CensusAtSchool New Zealand, known in te reo Māori as TataurangaKiTeKura Aotearoa, a non-profit, online educational project that aims to bring statistics to life in both English and Māori-medium classrooms. It is run by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Stats NZ.

Supervised by teachers, students from years 5-13 anonymously answer questions in English or te reo Māori on digital devices. Some questions involve practical activities such as measuring the length of their right feet and weighing their laden schoolbags. Others will seek their views and experiences on a range of social and personal issues.  

Up to 30,000 schoolchildren are expected to participate in CensusAtSchool this year. By late last night, more than 1,509 teachers from 775 schools had already registered. The census runs until July 5. 

This is the ninth edition of CensusAtSchool, and co-directors Professor Chris Wild and Rachel Cunliffe say that it’s shaping up to be the biggest ever. Professor Wild, an expert in statistics education, says that the project is appealing because it produces data that is relevant and real to students, their friends and families.

“The students experience the whole statistical cycle – they fill in the survey, and then they use statistical methods to explore the data and tell the stories in it,” he says. “It helps students see the benefits of statistics in society – and they love finding out what other kids their own age are thinking and doing.”

Rachel Cunliffe, a former University of Auckland statistics lecturer who now runs a digital design company, says teachers are always looking for cross-curricular activities. CensusAtSchool is a rich resource with its reach across statistics and maths, health, social studies, geography, media studies, technology and science.

CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people and is carried out in Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

Press release: May 2, 2017

School tuck shops are losing ground to home-packed lunches, according to latest results from the long-running CensusatSchool TataurangaKiteKura. In the past 10 years, the percentage of students buying lunches from tuck shops has halved.

Overall, 86% of primary and secondary school students brought their lunch from home on the day they responded to the survey, with just 5% buying from the tuck shop. When the same question was asked a decade ago, 79% were bringing lunch from home and 10% buying at their school’s tuck shop.

CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura is a national, biennial project run by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics that shows children the relevance of statistics to everyday life. In class, Year 5 to Year 13 students (aged 9 to 18) use digital devices to answer 35 online questions in English or te reo Māori, providing a unique snapshot of Kiwi childhoods. So far, more than 10,000 students have taken part, and they have answered several questions on food.

The Census asked “Where did you get your lunch from today?” with the possible answers “home” (overall 86%; primary 93%; high school 78%); “a shop on the way to school” (overall 3%; primary 2%; high school 3%); “the school shop” (overall 5%; primary 3%; high school 7%); “a friend at school” (overall 0.5%; primary 0.2%; high school 1%); “provided by my school” (overall 2%; primary 1%; high school 4%); and “don’t have any” (overall 3.6%; primary 1%; high school 7%).

The backdrop is growing childhood obesity and much public debate over what kids should be eating at school. An Education Review Office report released just before Easter found that most schools were doing a good job equipping young people to make good food choices, but acknowledged that factors such as family finances and attitudes, student price sensitivity and takeaway shops near schools could prevent children bringing or choosing good-quality lunches. Many school-run tuck shops lost money, so schools often contracted out to providers who “were profit-driven, and tended to be most interested in stocking what would sell well; not usually the healthy options”.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, who has two school-aged children, says that she wonders if public discussions have raised parents’ awareness of the importance of the school lunches they provide, and that this has led to more concerted efforts to provide packed lunches. Mrs Cunliffe makes her two primary school-aged children daily packed lunches, and once a term they are allowed to buy lunch at school: “Of course, they tell me that everyone else gets to buy their lunches all the time.”

The past few years has also brought publicity about some school children going without breakfast or lunch, and Mrs Cunliffe says she was “relieved” that the number of children reporting that they had no lunch was fewer than expected. “That said, you don’t want to think that any students are going hungry,” she says. “I am hoping that the 7% of high-school students not having any lunch is because they didn’t get their act together to prepare it. A packed lunch does take some forethought and preparation.”

The Census also asked children who brought packed lunches how many items grown at home were among the food provided that day. A quarter said they had at least one home-grown item in their lunchbox.

This year’s edition of CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiteKura started on February 7. Teachers can register their classes and take part at any time before it finishes on July 7. The Census is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa.

The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made. In New Zealand, the Census started 2003, and is run by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics with support from Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Education.

Eight in 10 teens and six in 10 primary school children say there are no limits on their screen time out of school – whether that’s playing computer games, using their phones, or browsing the internet.

The insights have emerged from the second data release from CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura, a national, biennial project run by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics that shows children the relevance of statistics to everyday life. In class, Year 5 to Year 13 students (aged 9 to 18) use digital devices to answer 35 online questions in English or te reo Māori, providing a unique snapshot of Kiwi childhoods. So far, more than 5,700 students have taken part.

Students were asked if, on a school day, there was a limit on the amount of screen time they had at home. Just 16% of high-school students and 37% of primary school students reported a limit. For those with limits, primary schoolers were allowed a median of an hour (the median is the middle amount in the range reported) and secondary students two hours.

Students were asked how often their screen time was supervised – with supervised meaning a parent or caregiver was watching or was in the same room as the child. Four in 10 primary schoolers said “a little,” and two in 10 “usually.” More than half of high school students said they were never supervised, with a further three in 10 saying they were supervised “a little.”

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a former statistics lecturer and mother of four children aged 2, 4, 6 and 8, says she is “really surprised” at the results. “I imagined that in this completely wired world, the majority of kids would have limits – parents often discuss ways to find a balance between screen time and outdoor play time.”

Rachel Cunliffe points to Ministry of Health advice that outside of school, 5 to 18-year-olds spend less than two hours a day in front of the television, computers, and game consoles. She and her husband tried setting limits, but with four kids, that was hard to police. “Now, in our house, we have a list of morning, afternoon and evening jobs to be done on school days before the kids are allowed screen time, “ she says.

“By the time they’ve done everything expected of them, and their out-of-school school activities like swimming and karate, there’s not often long periods of time left for gaming. My eight-year-old has been pretty motivated to get through his jobs, and can get in an hour on the Playstation or tablet sometimes.”

So how are other school children using their screen time? Seven in 10 students said they spent time on their phone. Of that group, the most avid users were high school girls with 89% on their phones once school was out, and for a median of three hours – though a quarter spent 5 hours 30 minutes or more.

Four in ten students said they spent time gaming after school, with the keenest gamers high school boys. They spent a median of two hours in front of their Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo and the like – but a quarter spent four hours or more gaming.

CensusAtSchool also asked students what they did most often with their cellphones. Primary school boys reported playing games (27%) and primary school girls sending texts or instant messages (32%). At high school, it was all about social media for both girls (49%) and boys (31%).

This year’s edition of CensusAtSchool started on February 7. Teachers can register their classes and take part at any time before it finishes on July 7. CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa.

The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.
In New Zealand, CensusAtSchool started 2003, and is run by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics with support from Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Education.

Six in 10 schoolchildren taking part in the national CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura reported that they received pocket money, an allowance or a cash gift the week before participating, getting a median of $15.

The insight has emerged from early results of CensusAtSchool, an online, biennial statistics project that shows students the relevance of statistics to everyday life. In class, Year 5 to Year 13 students (aged 9 to 18) use digital devices to answer 35 online questions in English or te reo Māori, providing a unique snapshot of Kiwi childhoods.

The census asked how much money students had received in the past week, whether pocket money, an allowance or a gift. Fifty-nine per cent said they had received something, with the median amount (the middle amount in the range reported) $15.

A quarter of those students received $1-$6, and another quarter got $30 or more.

Breaking the numbers down further, primary school students received a median of $10. Secondary school students got a median of $20.

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a mother of four, says that pocket money is a perennial topic of conversation among parents. “There are a lot of questions,” she says. “Should you give your kids pocket money? If so, at what age, and how much? Should pocket money be tied to completing chores, or not? And should we incentivise the kids to save their pocket money?”

She adds, “There’s no rulebook on this – but there does come a time when your kids start asking. My eldest, who’s eight, has just started asking about pocket money as some of his friends now get an allowance, so my husband and I have been deciding our approach.”

CensusAtSchool also asked whether students had part-time jobs. Overall, more boys (25%) than girls (18%) had part-time work in the week before they did the census. Boys were earning more money (a median of $30) than girls ($20).

Just 18% of primary-school students had part-time jobs, earning a median of $15.

A total of 28% of high-school students had part-time jobs, earning a median of $80. Of that group, a quarter reported earning $160 or more a week.

CensusAtSchool also asked students how much money they spent and gave away. A total of 24% of students reported spending or giving away more in the previous week than they had received or earned that week.

This year’s edition of CensusAtSchool started on February 7. Teachers can register their classes and take part at any time before it finishes on July 7. CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

In New Zealand, CensusAtSchool started 2003, and is run by the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics with support from Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Education.

 

Students will be able to see how their pocket money stacks up against their peers and whether they’re getting less after-school screen time when they become data detectives in this year’s CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura.

The online statistics project, which starts today, is open to all English and Māori-medium schools. Teachers can register their classes and take part in CensusAtSchool at any time before it finishes on 7 July.

In class, students aged 9 to 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) use digital devices to answer 35 questions in English or te reo Māori about their lives and opinions.

The census explores present-day childhood; for example, asking students about whether they get pocket money, and how much; whether their screen time after school is limited; and if anything in their lunchbox that day was grown at home. Students also carry out practical activities such as weighing the laptops and tablets they take to school.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary Karl Le Quesne says more than 830 teachers from over 530 schools have already registered to take part in CensusAtSchool in their maths and statistics classes. From mid-June, the data will be released for teachers to use in the classroom.

“CensusAtSchool gives teachers relevant, real-life data to help students tell stories about themselves and their peers,” Mr Le Quesne says. “Students become data detectives, mining the census to reveal the stories hidden in the data. The CensusAtSchool questions are wide-ranging, and in analysing the answers, teachers have opportunities to start conversations that touch on many areas of the curriculum, including technology, sport, and environmental studies.”

CensusAtSchool started in 2003. Every two years, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics runs this census, with support from Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Education.

Statistics NZ’s education manager Andrew Tideswell says that in our data-driven world, statistical literacy is as important as knowing how to read and write. “People with statistical skills are very attractive to employers, but statistical literacy isn’t just about careers. If you’re confident with data, you have a valuable toolkit to negotiate everyday life.”

CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people. Teachers and students in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Japan, and South Africa take part. The countries share some questions, which allows students to make international comparisons.

School students think verbal mistreatment is the biggest bullying issue in schools – higher than cyberbullying, social or relational bullying such as social exclusion and spreading gossip, or physical bullying.

The insights have emerged from the long-running CensusAtSchool/TataurangaKiTeKura, a national statistics education project for primary and secondary school students. Supervised by teachers, students aged between 9 and 18 (Year 5 to Year 13) answer 35 questions in English or te reo Māori about their lives, then analyse the results in class.

Already, more than 18,392 students from 391 schools all over New Zealand have taken part in CensusAtSchool, which started on March 16. (Click here to see which of your local schools are taking part).

Students were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with statements about each type of bullying.  A total of 36% strongly agreed or agreed that verbal bullying was a problem among students at their school, followed by cyberbullying (31% agreed or strongly agreed), social or relational bullying (25% agreed or strongly agreed) and physical bullying (19% agreed or strongly agreed).

This is the first time CensusAtSchool has asked about bullying, says Ōtāhuhu College teacher Anne Patel, a member of the CensusAtSchool team. “Information about the scale of bullying is hard to get in New Zealand because we don’t have a way of quantifying it on a national level.  But as CensusAtSchool is anonymous and available to students in every school in the country, we are getting a unique student-eye view of its scale and prevalence.”

Looking more closely at each category:

Verbal bullying

  • Overall, 36% of schoolchildren who took part strongly agreed or agreed that verbal bullying was a problem at their school.
  • Verbal bullying was more of a problem in high schools (39% of students agreed or strongly agreed) than primary schools (29%).
  • Verbal bullying was more of a problem for girls in co-ed schools (43% strongly agreed or agreed) than girls in single-sex schools (33% strongly agreed or agreed).

Cyberbullying

  • Overall, 31% of students who took part strongly agreed or agreed that cyberbullying was a problem at their school.
  • Girls were more likely to say cyberbullying was a problem at school (34% strongly agreed or agreed) than boys (26% strongly agreed or agreed).
  • Cyberbullying was more of a problem in high schools. A total of 19% of boys at primary school strongly agreed or agreed that bullying was a problem in their schools, but 31% of boys at high school. A total of 22% of girls at primary school strongly agreed or agreed that cyber-bullying was a problem in their school, but 40% of girls at high school.
  • For boys, cyber-bullying was more likely to be a problem in co-educational settings: A total of 32% of boys in co-ed schools strongly agreed or agreed that cyber bullying was a problem, against 23% of boys in single-sex schools. However, the picture was quite different for girls. A total of 40% of girls in co-ed schools strongly agreed or agreed that cyber bullying was a problem in their school, and the corresponding figure for girls in single-sex schools was also 40%.

And who were cyber bullies? Overall, 69% of all students who took part said that cyberbullies were equal numbers of boys and girls.

Social/relational bullying

Overall, 25% of students who took part strongly agreed or agreed that social/relational bullying was a problem at their school.

Physical bullying

  • Overall, 19% of students who took part said physical bullying was a problem at their school.
  • Physical bullying was more of an issue for boys (22% agreed, strongly agreed) than girls (16%).
  • Physical bullying appeared to be a bigger problem for boys at co-ed schools (24% strongly agreed or agreed) than at single-sex boys’ schools (16%).
    However, physical bullying was seen to be bigger problem in the eyes of girls in co-ed schools (17% strongly agreed or agreed that physical bullying was a problem at their school), than those in single-sex schools (9%).

Anne Patel says of particular interest is the data showing that students in single-sex schools were less likely to report bullying as a problem. “The question we now need to ask is: why this is? What is it about these schools that students perceive bullying to be less of a problem?”

CensusAtSchool, now in its seventh edition, is a collaborative project involving teachers, the University of Auckland’s Department of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. It is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people, and is carried out in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the majority reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

Here’s some beautiful photos of tamariki in Room 2 at Strathmore School taking part in CensusAtSchool 2015:

IMAG2879IMAG2865IMAG2868 IMAG2872IMAG2870  IMAG2874IMAG2875IMAG2864IMAG2871    IMAG2877
Thanks to Whaea Rachel Rawiri for sending these in!