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Assessment tool selector

The assessment tool selector is a resource for teachers and schools to help them select the most appropriate assessment tool to suit their particular purpose. The selector gives you information about assessment tools most frequently used in New Zealand schools, in every area of the curriculum up to and including year 10. You can also compare tools to see which one is the most suitable.

Teachers and schools can select a range of formal and informal assessment methods to use in making overall judgments of students' progress and achievement. The tool selector describes a range of the more formal assessment tools that could be used for this purpose. It is not intended to limit your choice of tool.

Assessment fundamentals

The tabs below provide information to support teachers and schools to understand the theoretical and practical aspects of assessment (assessment literacy). They include the rationale behind assessing students, criteria for choosing assessment tools, and important considerations for teachers and school managers before carrying out assessments.

Before you use your selected assessment

Important considerations for teachers and school managers before carrying out assessments.

Motivating students is key to gathering reliable assessment data

Assessment is a joint exploration between teacher and students to determine what the students know and might learn next. The teacher's job is to ensure that students are motivated to engage with assessment. If the student is not motivated to try with the assessment, it is likely that the results will not reliably show what the student knows or can do.

Involve the students

Students should be given all relevant information, in advance, on how, why, and on what they are to be assessed. Emphasis should be put on the formative nature of assessment, so that students see it as an opportunity to show what they have learned and to find out what they need to learn next. Unless students are motivated to work with their teachers to collect assessment data, it has the potential to be unreliable. In some schools now, highly motivated students are "booking" their next assessment and planning their learning goals around this. In these schools, students are driving their own learning agenda.

Plan to share the data with the students

Discuss how and when you will share the data with students. They are the prime owners of their assessment results; they need the information to be able to determine for themselves where they are with their learning.

Consider the time and the place of the assessment

To ensure that students are motivated and engaged, the teacher needs to consider the time and conditions of the assessment. The best time is when the students are fresh – usually in the morning. The optimum place is one the students are familiar with and where they feel comfortable.

Read the instruction manual

Assessment tools come with a set of instructions or a manual about how to administer them. Everyone involved with the administration should read these carefully. The instructions contain important information to help ensure consistency of administration across classes and cohorts, so that valid information is gained. Teachers may need some professional development in the administration of a particular assessment.

Make the administration of the assessment consistent

Everyone involved in the testing should discuss beforehand the details of the administration of the test, to ensure consistency of administration across classes and cohorts. Some of these issues will be covered in the instruction manual, others will have to be decided within the school. For example, the time given for the test (this needs to be consistent but not necessarily rigid – it depends on what the administration guidelines indicate), the amount of information given to students beforehand, any "brainstorm" which may be necessary to engage students in the process, and the amount of assistance given to students during the test. All teachers should be aware of the expectations for administration.

Organise moderation of the marking

Using effective processes around moderation of marking is important. This is especially important where there is scope for widely differing judgments about results – this is most often seen in the marking of writing assessments.

Consider who will do any necessary data entry

Ensure decisions are made early for results requiring data entry – decide who will do it and organise a schedule so that it can be carried out quickly and efficiently. Schools may decide that this is a task better suited to support staff than teachers.

When students miss the original assessment

Consider when and where to assess those students who were absent for the original assessment and also inform collators of the data.