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Assessment using the standards

The Effective Literacy Practice handbooks describe (in chapter 3) the ongoing, day-to-day kinds of assessment that teachers will continue to use. Such assessments will provide the evidence needed to form judgments in relation to the standards and will help teachers to reflect on their own practice and its impact on each learner.

It is expected that teachers will use the standards to guide their thinking about their expectations of individual students and the monitoring and recording of their progress throughout the year. Teachers should assess as they need to, during the year, in order to make sound decisions about each student’s learning and about their own teaching programme.

Using assessment evidence and making overall teacher judgments

Teachers will use the assessment evidence they gather primarily to:

  • support students in using assessment information to inform their own learning
  • determine the next teaching and learning steps
  • plan classroom programmes.

They draw on this same evidence to form an overall teacher judgment about each student's performance in relation to the National Standards.

Making an overall teacher judgment will mean drawing on evidence gathered up to a particular point in time and analysing it in order to make an informed, balanced judgment about what constitutes the 'best fit' in terms of the student’s actual performance – how it lines up with what is expected in terms of the relevant standard.

When making overall judgments, it is not enough for teachers to consider how well a student is reading and writing. Teachers need to specifically consider how well each student is using reading and writing as interactive tools to enable them to learn in all curriculum areas. In the reading standards, the three aspects of decoding, making meaning, and thinking critically are specifically included because a student needs to demonstrate all three to be considered a successful reader. In the writing standards, the term 'create' is used to cover all three aspects as well as the different processes that students use when they write for specific purposes.

Meeting the reading and writing standards independently

The reading and writing standards focus on the texts that students read and create, largely by themselves, as they work in various areas of the curriculum in a classroom setting. Students working largely by themselves may be using classroom resources, such as wall charts and dictionaries. However, students are expected to demonstrate, through a range of reading and writing tasks, that they are gaining control of their own reading and writing and can meet the standard independently, drawing on the resources available to them. (Refer to the glossary for explanations of what is meant by 'independently' and 'largely by themselves' in this context.) The teacher needs to gather and record evidence from a range of sources to establish whether the student is doing so.

In reading, this may mean that the teacher:

  • observes a student’s reading behaviours, and forms judgments about the extent to which the student controls their own reading, in the context of supportive instructional approaches, such as guided reading lessons
  • prompts or questions students, while they are reading, to ascertain whether they are transferring their knowledge and skills and applying them in new contexts to improve or deepen their learning as they read, respond to, and think critically about texts.

In writing, this may mean that the teacher:

  • forms judgments, in the context of a discussion with the student, about the extent to which the student takes responsibility for their own writing (for example, whether the student knows what choices they have for making their language more precise)
  • forms judgments about the extent to which the student demonstrates that they can select and use a process appropriate to their purpose for writing.

Teachers are required to use several sources of evidence in order to make a sound judgment about whether a student meets the standard. See chapter 3 of the Effective Literacy Practice handbooks for information about reliable sources of evidence.

Using the reading and writing standards with English language learners

Four English Learning Progression books.

'Knowing the learner' is a critical aspect of making decisions about using the reading and writing standards with students who are English language learners.

English language learners in New Zealand schools have very diverse language-learning needs. Students with minimal English will have obvious needs. Others will have good social English language but lack proficiency in academic English, which is needed to access the curriculum. (Teachers need to be aware, however, that academic English is no one’s first language and so all students need specific instruction in it.)

Teaching and learning programmes should address both English language-learning needs and literacy needs (see page 16 of The New Zealand Curriculum). Students will all have different patterns of progress and achievement. English language learners may take between five and seven years to become proficient users of the language – see page 4 of The English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP) introduction booklet.

NAG2A requires schools to use National Standards to:

  • report to students and their parents on the students' progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

It is recommended that schools also assess and report the progress and achievement of English language learners in relation to the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP), as the Progressions provide a guide to typical language learning pathways for students learning English as an additional language.

Students need to see themselves as successful learners, and parents need to see their children as successful learners. Reporting should reflect this.

Reporting requirement (NAG2A)

Report to students and parents in relation to the National Standards. For example: Fa'afetai is not yet meeting the National Standard for his year because he is a new learner of English.

Reporting advice

In addition to reporting in relation to National Standards, report to students and parents on the students' progress and achievement in relation to ELLP. For example: 'Fa'afetai is making good progress towards meeting the expectations of the National Standards' followed by reporting on his reading, writing, listening, and speaking in relation to the stages of the ELLP matrices.

For more information, see the professional learning module - Meeting the needs of English language learners >>

Updated on: 20 Jun 2013