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Measuring progress across the curriculum

The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) sets out broad achievement objectives for each of the learning areas and for each curriculum level. But it is a framework rather than a detailed plan. This means that while every school curriculum must be clearly aligned with the intent of the NZC, schools have considerable flexibility when determining the detail of teaching, learning and assessment in their context. In doing this, they can draw on a wide range of ideas, resources, and models.

Resources available across the curriculum

For teachers in years 1 to 8, measuring progress across the curriculum is more problematic than in literacy and mathematics. Some learning areas are well supported by learning progressions, others less so. For some learning areas, schools will have to make decisions based on Achievement Objectives and available resources, and develop assessments accordingly.

This is an opportunity for schools to work collaboratively to develop their learning objectives and progress indicators. The Kāhui Ako is an ideal vehicle for this.

Schools will need to think carefully about which areas of the curriculum and at what levels they should assess. For example, curriculum and assessment emphases at Year 1 and Year 8 will probably be different. Emphases will be different for different contexts and schools. 

It's important that data about student progress and achievement can be collated and analysed at a class and cohort level, to allow for the identification of students who are not making sufficient progress or who have special needs. This data may also identify aspects of the curriculum that require attention: for example, extra professional learning and development in a particular curriculum area. You can find lots of information on gathering and analysing data in the Using evidence for learning section of this website.

Below is a collection of the resources available that schools or Kāhui Ako could use.

Science:

Planning, teaching and possible assessment resources available:

  • Science Online TKI
  • Science Learning Hub
  • NZ Curriculum Exemplars – although these exemplars are resources archived on the old TKI site, and relate to the previous curriculum, they are valuable in assisting schools to define progressions of learning and fine-grained learning objectives, against which they can assess progress and achievement. Have a look at the matrices of progression from which you could develop your own, in conjunction with the AOs from the new curriculum.

Assessment tools:

Read this school story from Leeston School. It tells how the school uses rubrics to assess aspects of the Nature of Science (NoS).

This short paper from Rose Hipkins of NZCER highlights the difficulties of assessing science against the AOs in the curriculum – Problems with reporting science in curriculum levels

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Social studies:

Planning, teaching and possible assessment resources available:

  • Social Sciences Online
  • National Exemplars – The Social Sciences Online website states that Resources and information relating to the previous (1997) curriculum document may continue to be used as supporting documents when planning teaching and learning programmes.
    • Although the exemplars are resources archived on the old TKI site, and relate to the previous curriculum, they are valuable in assisting schools to define progressions of learning and fine-grained learning objectives. Have a look at the Social Studies matrices of progression from which you could develop your own, in conjunction with the AOs from the new curriculum.
  • There are some assessment resources for years 4 to 8 available from the National Education Monitoring Project, since superseded by the NZMSSA. It is hoped that resources from the new project will be made available to schools soon. Although NMSSA tasks have not yet been made available for teachers, the reports from the monitoring study make interesting assessment reading.

Activities to support rich learning: Assessing progression in social studies

This paper by Samantha Sasse and Bronwyn Wood, published on ResearchGate, explores a new format for assessing primary social studies based on a review of 220 videos from NMSSA. The paper has since been published in SET 3, 2017 by NZCER.

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Technology:

Planning, teaching and possible assessment resources available:

Technology Online provides a range of resources to assist teachers of technology:

In this video, Cheryl Pym explains how to track student progress in technology.

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The Arts:

Planning, teaching and possible assessment resources available:

  • NZ Curriculum Exemplars: Although the National exemplars are archived on the old TKI site, and relate to the previous curriculum, they are still valuable in assisting schools to define progressions of learning and fine-grained learning objectives.. Have a look at the matrices of progression from which you could develop your own, in conjunction with the AOs from the new curriculum.
  • Arts Online TKI provides resources which can help teachers put together programmes of learning and assessment in the arts.

Check out the school story page to read about how Owhango School is bringing the arts back into the curriculum.

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Health and Physical Education:

Planning, teaching and possible assessment resources available:

  • NZ Curriculum Exemplars: Although the National Exemplars are archived on the old TKI site, and relate to the previous curriculum, they are still valuable in assisting schools to define progressions of learning and fine-grained learning objectives, against which they can assess progress and achievement. Have a look at the matrices of progression from which you could develop your own, in conjunction with the AOs from the new curriculum.
  • Health and Physical Education TKI provides resources which could help schools plan their teaching, learning and assessment programme.

 Consult the Assessment tool selector and the Assessment resources maps for all available assessment tools in the various subject areas.

Resources available in literacy and mathematics

Resources available in literacy and mathematics

Literacy and mathematics remain the key areas for teaching, learning and assessment as they are fundamental tools to enable students to access skills and knowledge across the curriculum. 

It's important that data about student progress and achievement can be collated and analysed at a class and cohort level, to allow for the identification of students who are not making sufficient progress or who have special needs. This data may also identify aspects of the curriculum that require attention: for example, extra professional learning and development in a particular curriculum area. You can find lots of information on gathering and analysing data in the Using evidence for learning section of this website.

To support teachers to better understand and use the broad statements in the curriculum, our profession has developed sound, research-based fine-grained progressions of learning in the foundation areas of literacy and mathematics.

However, think carefully about your purposes for assessment. Assess only when the information will be used to improve teaching and learning. Do not over assess.

Literacy

Progressions of learning: Progressions of learning act as planning, teaching and assessment resources.

There are several iterations of our understanding of the progressions of learning in literacy up to level 5 of the curriculum. 

Assessment tools: Several of the available assessment tools provide what next strategies so that they can be used as teaching resources as well as assessment resources. The following tools are the commonly used in NZ schools.

  • e-asTTle reading and writing
  • PAT reading comprehension, reading vocabulary, listening comprehension, punctuation and grammar
  • STAR – supplementary test of reading
  • Observation survey of early literacy achievement (aka Six Year Net)
  • Assessment Resource Bank (ARBs)
  • Record of Oral Language
  • Junior Oral Language Screening Tool

Consult the Assessment tool selector for all available assessment tools in reading, writing and oral language.

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English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

ESOL Online TKI has a superb collection of resources for planning, teaching and assessing the capabilities of English language learners.

These pages – Impact of changed practices – detail the available processes and tools for measuring progress of ELLS students.  

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Mathematics:

Progressions of learning: Progressions of learning act as planning, teaching and assessment resources.

As in literacy, there are several iterations of the progressions of learning in mathematics up to level 5 of the curriculum. Maths progressions illustrate discrete skills that build on each other to show progression.

  • Numeracy Project resources
  • National Standards descriptors and exemplars
  • Learning Progression Frameworks and Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT)
  • Resources on NZ Maths on TKI

Assessment tools: Several of the available assessment tools provide what next strategies so that they can be used as teaching resources as well as assessment resources. The following tools are the most commonly used in NZ schools:

  • e-asTTle maths
  • PAT maths
  • Numeracy Project assessment tools
  • Assessment Resource Banks (ARBs)

Use the Assessment tool selector to find information about all available assessment tools in mathematics.

Rather than assessing key competencies as stand-alone capabilities, schools will want to investigate ways in which they can weave them into the learning areas so that they become an intrinsic part of the learning and assessment. In this article Weaving a Coherent Curriculum, Rose Hipkins explores how to build capability by weaving curriculum design with key competencies.