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Module 4: Assessment rationale and practices

The development and implementation of the National Standards in New Zealand


The standards will focus the education system on foundation skills and will link
expectations about student progress and achievement to the demands of the New
Zealand Curriculum.

The standards have been designed so that a student who meets them is on track to
succeed at NCEA Level 2. (

The National Standards were developed to assist teachers in determining every

students ability and challenges. The standards set clear expectations in reading, writing
and maths for the first eight years. The standards help us to stay focused on what our
goal is. It gives a clear indication what each childs (depending on the amount of years
at school) appropriate level is and clarifies what the next steps are.
National Standards do not label children as 'failing' or 'passing'; they ensure that goals
are set at an appropriate level for each child and that each and every child receives the
level of support needed to make progress. (
The National Standards work closely with the NZ Curriculum for every year at school.
Students are only assessed after 1 year at school (40 weeks at school). Through
formative and summative assessment teachers then determine if each of their students
are below, at, or above the expected level. It also provides a clear indication if any
intervention or support is needed to accelerate a student to the next level. Teaching as
an inquiry includes the process of what do I as the teacher need to do to support this
student to achieve at or above the standard?
The National Standard encourages teachers and students alike to be reflective in their
learning. Thinking about what did I do wrong? Or what can I do differently to improve?
What worked? Why did it work so well or not? What are my next steps?
Teachers model this throughout the NZ Curriculum (learning content). Teachers are
responsible for creating a safe and conducive learning environment and being confident
that every student can improve. Assessments can improve learning by adjusting the
teaching after interpreting assessment results. Using assessment to inform teaching

and learning, sharing the assessment results with the students. Constructing clear and
accessible learning goals with the students. Clarifying the outcomes in such a way that
the students understand it and make the outcomes their own. Learning can be improved
by providing effective feedback to students so that they know what to do next. Students
perform better when they have ownership of their own learning. Inevitably encouraging
autonomy and motivation.
We all want students who have high expectations of themselves as learners; students
who feel confident about their capacity to learn, who set high goals for their learning,
and who work for themselves to construct enjoyable, challenging learning pathways to
their futures. Absolum, 2006

The assessment process must have a positive impact on learners by empowering them
to become active learners. Active learners participate and become responsible for their
own learning. Active learners also know what they are learning, why they are learning it
and what their next steps are. Active learners are reflective learners who are involved in
their own learning. They are able to utilise self- and peer assessment in an effective way
to enhance feedback. By developing learner-focused learning and clarity about the
learning, students are able to become successful and independent learners.

4 Assessment tools:

e-asTTle writing and reading

A New Zealand standardised test used to assess features of writing aligned to the
New Zealand Curriculum 2007, within five different purposes: recount, describe,
explain, narrate, persuade. The formative assessment tools used by teachers to
inform next teaching steps. They are also one part of the information used to
summatively form a teacher OTJ. This assessment becomes formative when the
evidence is used to adapt the teaching to meet the needs of the student.

JAM (Junior Assessment for Maths)

JAM is designed to support an Overall Teacher Judgment for National Standards. It

is an individual assessment interview where the teacher can use the individual
modules of the JAM as separate assessments, or the modules can be combined to
provide a broader assessment. It is used to determine mathematics standards for
years 1-3 for number strategies, number knowledge, algebra, geometry, and
measurement. This assessment becomes formative when the evidence is used to
adapt the teaching to meet the mathematical needs of the student.

ARB Assessment Resource Bank- Reading

The Assessment Resource Banks are an on-line assessment resource. Activities

assess the making of meaning through text. They include some NEMP tasks. Used
for year levels 3-10. Activities are most useful in supporting learning at an identified
level. ARBs can be used to diagnose individual problems. Formative assessment
underpin the design of the ARB Resources. ARBs should be incorporated into the
daily planning. The ARBs results help teachers and students to make sense of what
they are able to do and to make decisions about what to do next. They can also be
used by the students to help them reflect on their own learning while learning.

Observation Survey

The observation survey is used to determine a students basic reading and writing
concepts and skills. It is used to identify gaps in the students understanding of the
latter. This literacy assessment is administered when a student has their sixth
birthday to assess their progress in beginning literacy. It is made up of five tests,
each of which focuses on a different area. The tests are: letter identification, concepts
of print, word reading writing vocabulary, and hearing and recording sounds in words.
The observation survey is administered one-on-one. The teacher will gain
knowledge about the different ways the student uses to read. The observation
survey can be used as a discussion starting point about the students reading
progress with the family/whnau.

Moderation and its purpose:

Moderation and its purpose creates consistency which benefits both the learning and
the teaching. The moderation process creates confidence in the implementation and
execution of assessments including self and peer assessments. The dependability of
the assessment information is increased and the teacher is able to make better
decisions about student learning. Moderation keeps the teacher and the student on the
right path.
Every school tailors their own moderation process to cater for their situation and needs.
Moderation is about teachers discussing evidence of student learning. A discussion that
starts with planning for teaching, learning and assessment. Teachers share their
expectations and understanding of the standards so they can improve the consistency
of their decisions about the student learning. The moderation process is supported by;
achievement objectives in the NZ Curriculum, National standards, Subject-specific
learning progressions, resources/systems developed by school clusters/networks,
National Education Monitoring Project and engagement with external subject
The moderation process includes:

Gathering data teachers and students use assessment measures to establish a

base line for student achievement
Gathering and sharing evidence teachers and students investigate evidence
Goals teachers and students set goals according to the data
Gathering evidence teachers and students gather ongoing evidence of the
progress about their goals and in relation to the national standards.
Making OTJ teachers and students use evidence to make an overall judgement
about progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.
Moderating OTJs The school checks that the teachers overall judgements are
consistent and fair.
Reporting and setting new goals teachers and students report the progress and
achievement to parents in relation with the National Standards.

The moderation process clarifies expectations of student learning and professional

development. It monitors progress and identifies what needs to be improved and
creates consistency.

At the standard
The students expected level is:

The student is able to:

PM Benchmark level 2 Reading (Magenta Starter)

Students at this level can read 22 words, identify highfrequency words and know the alphabet letters and

He is able to identify 20 letters of the alphabet

and 15 list one 2 list 2 and 1 list 3 high
frequency words. (Data from Emergent list
1,2,3 and Alphabet list)

To accelerate the student I need to teach:

He reads at Emergent level 2. At 8 weeks at

school the expected reading level is Emergent
level 2 PM Benchmark. Running Records of
98% indicate that he is at the expected level.

High-Frequency words list 2 (Red) (10 words)

22 sight words
22 spelling words
Blends and digraphs


Letter identification score sheet Knowledge of the alphabet letters and sounds gives the
teacher an indication if the student has any prior knowledge or not. Also provides evidence of
what needs to be the focus of instruction and the volume of deliberate acts of teaching.
PM Benchmark Emergent level word list (22 words) if a student is able to identify all 22
words of the emergent level (Magenta) they should be accelerated to the next reading level
(Red). It is done weekly to determine if learning has occurred and what should receive more
attention and focus for the student to be able to reach the expected level. All depending on the
amount of weeks the student has been at school.
Running Records done weekly with the student, reading a book that is known to the student.
Results are recorded on the reading levels graph afterwards, to determine whether the student is
at the correct reading level.
Reading levels graph (Created by Shelly Eaton) This graph monitors the students reading
levels weekly with the results from the running records. The graph clearly indicates if the student
is at, below or above the expected level per week.