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Numeracy assessment

Four tools have been developed, in both English and Māori, to help teachers determine where the mathematical knowledge, understanding, and skills of their students lie within the levels of the New Zealand Curriculum, with particular emphasis on number knowledge and strategies.  The first of these, the Diagnostic interview (NumPA), is more likely to only be used when more in-depth information is needed, while the other three tools: Junior assessment of mathematics (JAM); Global strategy stage (GloSS); and Individual knowledge assessment of number (IKAN) are intended for general classroom use and, between them, cover years 0–10.

When do you use it?

These tools can be used as needed, at any time, within the context of the classroom mathematics programme.  There is some flexibility built into their use, in terms of suitability of tool for various maths stages and amount of test material to use. Administration with individuals is the most common approach for NumPA and Gloss, although there is some scope for group assessment. IKAN and JAM are usually group administered.

What does it give you?

A strategy stage/curriculum level is identified along with an indication of particular strengths or areas for concern.  Additionally, because of the generally individual nature of these tests, teachers are able to observe a student’s approach to completing the various tasks, which creates a rich source of material to inform an Overall Teacher Judgment (OTJ) regarding mathematics knowledge, understanding, and skills.

Points to consider

Time can be a factor in administering these tests and therefore the assessment needs to be considered in terms of the entire mathematics programme, much as running records are embedded into a reading programme. Sufficient training of teachers in using these tools is important.

An overview of the components:

  • Diagnostic Interview (NumPA): an individual interview used to fully assess a student’s knowledge in all five knowledge domains and strategy in all three strategy domains. It is not intended that it be used with every member of a class on a regular basis. Individual record sheets provide a comprehensive record of development in both knowledge and strategy.
  • JAM (Junior assessment of mathematics): assesses the achievement of a student in relation to levels one and two of The New Zealand Curriculum and the mathematics standards for years 1–3. The assessment consists of 11 modules, which can each be used as a separate assessment or combined to provide a broader assessment.  
  • GloSS (Global strategy stage): identifies the strategy stage students are operating at across all three strategy domains, known as the global strategy stage. It consists of a series of strategy questions that can be administered to individual students in a few minutes and multiple forms of the interview are available so that students do not become too familiar with the questions. A record sheet for each student tracks progress longitudinally and a document of expected levels of achievement enables an assessment of whether students are at risk, a cause for concern, achieving at or above expectations, or high achievers.
  • IKAN (Individual knowledge assessment of number): identifies the knowledge stages students are operating at across all five knowledge domains, known as the global knowledge stage. The IKAN interview is for students at the counting stages of the number framework and can be carried out with individuals or small groups.  The IKAN written test is for students at the part-whole stages of the number framework.  An individual record sheet highlights key learning areas for each student.

More information is available on the NZMaths website.