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The National Standards

(Published November 2009)

The National Standards and the New Zealand Curriculum

In this issue:

Introduction by Mary Chamberlain
Revised National Administration Guidelines (NAGs)
Timeline to help guide implementation and use of the National Standards in schools.

Mary Chamberlain

Mary Chamberlain.

Mary Chamberlain is Group Manager: Curriculum Teaching and Learning – Design. Teams in her group are responsible for Māori-medium outcomes; literacy, numeracy, and assessment; principal leadership; secondary education; and the development and revision of the NCEA standards. She is currently leading the National Standards work programme.

The National Standards and the curriculum

The New Zealand Curriculum and, for Māori-medium teaching and learning, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, set the broad direction for student learning. The National Standards set clear and consistent expectations for progress and achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics for all students from years 1 to 8.

The standards are like signposts or reference points that describe what students need to be able to do in reading, writing, and mathematics to achieve in all areas of the New Zealand Curriculum. They are supported by examples of assessment tasks and student responses.

A focus on the learner

If the standards and the curriculum are to make a difference for students, we need to keep each learner and their learning at the centre of all levels of decision making.

Standards should be used not only to improve learning and achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics but to improve learning across the curriculum as a whole.

This means drawing on all learning areas to select contexts that deeply engage students.

It’s also important for teachers to focus on increasing their students’ capacity to learn. How successful students are in achieving goals that matter to them depends on a positive disposition towards learning and on being able to think critically, manage themselves, set goals, overcome obstacles, and get along with others. Active involvement in the assessment of their learning is a key to this.

The primary purpose for assessment is to improve students’ learning and teachers’ teaching as both student and teacher respond to the information that assessment gives them. Teachers (and students) will use information from a range of assessment tools and practices when responding to and reporting on progress and achievement in relation to the standards.

Partnerships for learning

Each student brings unique prior knowledge to their learning, and their parents, families, and whānau will have a range of expectations. Reciprocal partnerships
in which schools learn from their students and students’ families and whānau are crucial to the success of all learners.

Low expectations for some groups of students adversely influence teachers’ practices, student learning opportunities, and ultimately student outcomes. Schools will be expected to monitor the progress and achievement of each individual student and of their cohorts of Māori, Pasifika, girls, and boys. This will help to identify strengths and areas for improvement and to plan actions to lift achievement so that all of our young people can become confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners.

National Standards and NCEA

Achievement levels have increased in secondary schools, but those who start behind have tended to stay behind.

International research indicates that school leavers need to achieve at least at NCEA level 2 to fully participate in a well-functioning society.

The National Standards are designed to ensure that students’ achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics is on track for achieving success at NCEA level 2 in year 12 of their schooling.

To ensure a clear pathway right through schooling, we have also begun developing new literacy and numeracy standards for NCEA.

National Administration Guidelines

NAG 1

Each Board of Trustees is required to foster student achievement by providing teaching and learning programmes which incorporate The National Curriculum as expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Each board, through the principal and staff, is required to:

(a) develop and implement teaching and learning programmes

  1. to provide all students in years 1-10 with opportunities to achieve for success in all areas of the National Curriculum
  2. giving priority to student achievement in literacy and numeracy, especially in years 1-8
  3. giving priority to regular quality physical activity that develops movement skills for all students, especially in years 1-6 

(b) through a range of assessment practices, gather information that is sufficiently comprehensive to enable the progress and achievement of students to be evaluated; giving priority first to:

  1. student achievement in literacy and numeracy, especially in years 1-8, and then to 
  2. breadth and depth of learning related to the needs, abilities and interests of students, the nature of the school's curriculum, and the scope of The National Curriculum as expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa 

(c) on the basis of good quality assessment information, identify students and groups of students:

  1. who are not achieving
  2. who are at risk of not achieving
  3. who have special needs (including gifted and talented students), and
  4. aspects of the curriculum which require particular attention 

(d) develop and implement teaching and learning strategies to address the needs of students and aspects of the curriculum identified in (c) above 

(e) in consultation with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school's community policies, plans, and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students 

(f) provide appropriate career education and guidance for all students in year 7 and above, with a particular emphasis on specific career guidance for those students who have been identified by the school as being at risk of leaving school unprepared for the transition to the workplace or further education/training.

NAG 2

Each Board of Trustees, with the principal and teaching staff, is required to:

(a) develop a strategic plan which documents how they are giving effect to National Education Guidelines through their policies, plans and programmes, including those for curriculum, National Standards, assessment, and staff professional development 

(b) maintain an on-going programme of self-review in relation to the above policies, plans, and programmes, including evaluation information on student achievement 

(c) report to students and their parents on the achievement of individual students, and to the school's community on the achievement of students as a whole and of groups (identified through NAG 1(c) above) including the achievement of Māori students against the plans and targets referred to in 1(e) above.

NAG 2A

Where a school has students enrolled in years 1-8, the Board of Trustees, with the principal and teaching staff, is required to use National Standards to:

(a) report to students and their parents on the student's progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing must occur at least twice a year

(b) report school-level data on National Standards in the Board's annual report under three headings:

  1. school strengths and identified areas for improvement
  2. the basis for identifying areas for improvement
  3. planned actions for lifting achievement 

    In addition to its inclusion in the board’s annual report, the NAG 2A (b) information is required to be provided to the Secretary for Education at the same time as the updated school charter under NAG 7. 

(c) report in the Board's annual report on:

  1. the numbers and proportions of students at, above, below or well below National Standards, including by Māori, Pasifika, gender, and by year level (where this does not breach an individual's privacy)
  2. how students are progressing against National Standards as well as how they are achieving.

    In addition to its inclusion in the board’s annual report, the NAG 2A (c) information is required to be provided to the Secretary for Education at the same time as the updated school charter under NAG 7. 

(d) report the NAG 2A (c) information in the format prescribed by the Secretary for Education from time to time.

NAG 3

According to the legislation on employment and personnel matters, each Board of Trustees is required in particular to:

(a) develop and implement personnel and industrial policies, within policy and procedural frameworks set by the Government from time to time, which promote high levels of staff performance, use educational resources effectively and recognise the needs of students 

(b) be a good employer as defined in the State Sector Act 1988 and comply with the conditions contained in employment contracts applying to teaching and non-teaching staff.

NAG 4

According to legislation on financial and property matters, each Board of Trustees is also required in particular to:

(a) allocate funds to reflect the school's priorities as stated in the charter 

(b) monitor and control school expenditure, and ensure that annual accounts are prepared and audited as required by the Public Finance Act 1989 and the Education Act 1989

(c) comply with the negotiated conditions of any current asset management agreement, and implement a maintenance programme to ensure that the school's buildings and facilities provide a safe, healthy learning environment for students.

NAG 5

Each Board of Trustees is also required to:

(a) provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students 

(b) promote healthy food and nutrition for all students

(c) comply in full with any legislation currently in force or that may be developed to ensure the safety of students and employees.

NAG 6

Each Board of Trustees is also expected to comply with all general legislation concerning requirements such as attendance, the length of the school day, and the length of the school year.

NAG 7

Each board of trustees is required to complete an annual update of the school charter for each school it administers, and provide the Secretary for Education with a copy of the updated school charter before 1 March of the relevant year.

NAG 8

Each board of trustees is required to provide a statement providing an analysis of any variance between the school's performance and the relevant aims, objectives, directions, priorities, or targets set out in the school charter at the same time as the updated school charter provided to the Secretary for Education under NAG 7.

NAG 8 applies in relation to schools with students enrolled in years 1-8 from the 2013 school year, and all schools from the 2014 school year.

Timeline

November - December 2009

  • The National Standards are distributed to schools.
  • Schools prepare to work with the National Standards from term 1, 2010.
  • Teachers, principals, and boards can participate in web seminars on the National Standards and request an information session in their region.

2010

  • The National Standards come into effect.
  • Schools report to parents at least twice a year in writing about their child's progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.
  • Schools include targets for student achievement in relation to the National Standards in their 2011 charters.

2011

  • Schools continue to work with the National Standards and to report to parents about their child's progress and achievement in relation to the standards.
  • Schools work to meet the targets for student achievement set out in their 2011 charters.

2012

  • Schools' annual reports show their progress in relation to their targets for student achievement.

Distribution of the standards

Each teacher in years 1–8 gets one pack. Year 9 teachers get one reference pack. Primary and secondary principals get one reference pack, and primary and secondary schools two. Boards of schools with students in years 1–8 get three packs. The pack contains:

  • The New Zealand Curriculum: Reading and Writing Standards for years 1-8, item 33481
  • The New Zealand Curriculum: Mathematics Standards for years 1-8, item 33480
  • (an explanatory pamphlet) National Standards: Information for Schools, item 11459

For further free packs, contact Customer Services, freephone 0800 660 662, freefax 0800 660 663, by email: orders@thechair.education.govt.nz or online at www.thechair.co.nz

Support for implementation

Ministry support for schools preparing for implementation of the standards in 2010 includes information and advice (print, web based, or face to face) that schools can access when they are ready.

From 9 November, the Ministry is offering one-hour online web seminars on the standards, covering the same content as face-to-face regional sessions.
More information >>

Updated on: 10 Jul 2013


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