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Gathering evidence

Schools have more evidence about what students know and can do than ever before – achievement data, attitudes, engagement, behaviours, and environmental factors that influence learning. The challenge is to use that evidence to enhance teaching and learning.

The topics in this section cover the fundamentals of gathering evidence (including the types of evidence available), and assessment strategies, tools, and processes.

It is essential that teachers have easy access to all relevant information about students so that they can use it to enhance teaching and learning. If this is problematic, it may be necessary for school leaders to:

  • conduct a "stocktake" on the range of evidence available within the school
  • review the accessibility of that information
  • consider staff professional development on accessing that information.

Gathering evidence topics

Types of evidence

Types of evidence

There is a wide range of evidence that schools and teachers can use when inquiring into student learning.

Consider the evidence

Consider the evidence

This is a resource designed to assist schools to make best use of evidence in making decisions aimed at improving student achievement.

National standards triangle

Using a range of assessment methods

No single source of assessment information can accurately summarise a student’s achievement or progress. A range of approaches is necessary in order to compile a comprehensive picture of the areas of progress, areas requiring attention, and what a student’s unique progress looks like.

Formative and summative assessment

An assessment is classed as summative if is intended to summarise student achievement at a particular time. Assessment which is formative promotes further improvement of student attainment.

Involving students in assessment processes

As is the case with teaching and learning, assessment is a collaborative endeavour between the teacher and the student - where both want to determine what the student knows and what might be learnt next.

Developing a school-wide assessment strategy

In building a school-wide assessment strategy, leaders need to take into account three broad levels of assessment.

Selecting an assessment tool

Good formal assessment is valid (based on what students have learned) and reliable (results can be replicated), and should provide information on what students have learned, what they need to learn and, where appropriate, how they measure up against expectations for their cohort.

Managing assessment processes

To ensure that students are motivated and engaged, the teacher needs to consider the time and conditions of the assessment.

The principles of data analysis

Although collecting accurate assessment data is a challenge for schools, a bigger challenge is analysing the information effectively and acting on it to effect change in the classroom.