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Assessment position papers, readings, and resources

There is a wealth of position papers, reports, articles, and videos about the principles and practices of formative assessment. We feature a key selection of them here. 

Assessment position papers

Trends in assessment: An overview of themes in the literature Rose Hipkins and Marie Cameron (2018)

This report, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, outlines findings from a literature review of trends in assessment policy and practice. The primary purpose of this report is to inform the Ministry as it considers updating its position on assessment, last articulated in the position paper titled Assessment (Schooling Sector) 2011 (Ministry of Education, 2011).

The authors use "assessment capability" as a point of reference. The idea of an assessment system that supports growth in "assessment capability" of everyone with a stake in using the information is the central recommendation of Directions for Assessment in New Zealand (DANZ): Developing Students’ Assessment Capabilities (see below).

Notes from the presentation at NZARE Conference, November 2018 by Dr. Rosemary Hipkins: Are the 2011 National Assessment Principles still fit for purpose?

Evaluation at a glance: A decade of assessment in New Zealand Primary Schools - Practice and trends

This report is a synthesis of findings from evaluations carried out from 2007 to 2017 by the Education Review Office (ERO).

Over the decade spanned by this report, ERO has reviewed and reported on all schools in New Zealand, on average three times each. This work in schools, along with their national evaluation, has given ERO a rich evidential base, enabling them to identify trends in practice and improvement across the sector. ERO has been able to identify aspects of effective and less effective teaching, school leadership, and management practices influencing students’ learning.

Ministry of Education Position Paper: Assessment (2011)

This Assessment Position Paper, produced by the Ministry of Education and released in 2011, outlines its vision for assessment. This is the first formal statement of position on assessment since the National Assessment Strategy in 1999. It describes what the assessment landscape should look like if assessment is to be used effectively to promote system-wide improvement within, and across, all layers of the schooling system. The paper, supported by national and international research, including the 2009 DANZ report (see below), places assessment firmly at the heart of effective teaching and learning. 

Information and ideas relating to the process and the principles expressed in the Assessment Position Paper are presented on the Assessment Online website. 

PDF icon. Ministry of Education Position Paper: Assessment (Schooling Sector) 2011 (PDF 5 MB)

Cover page of Directions for Assessment in New Zealand (DANZ) report

Directions for Assessment in New Zealand (DANZ) Report Michael Absolum, Lester Flockton, John Hattie, Rosemary Hipkins and Ian Reid (2009)

Published in March 2009, this paper was written to provide broad advice to the Ministry of Education to guide and inform the design of new and improved strategies, policies, and plans for assessment.

The central premise of the paper is that all young people should be educated in ways that develop their capacity to assess their own learning. Students who have well-developed assessment capabilities are able and motivated to access, interpret, and use information from quality assessment in ways that affirm or further their learning.

In placing students at the centre of assessment practice, the advice in this paper is consistent with the best of current thinking, including the ideas behind assessment for learning, the use of assessment feedback to enhance teaching and learning, and professional learning designed to assist teachers to enhance their students’ assessment capabilities.

PDF icon. Absolum, M. Flockton, L. Hattie, J. Hipkins, R. & Reid, I. (1988). Directions for assessment in New Zealand. Learning Media Ltd (PDF 505 KB)

Find out more about the research that sits behind Directions for Assessment in New Zealand

Rukuhia, Rarangahia

Rukuhia, Rarangahia invites us to delve into and seek out the essence and elements of aromatawai to help guide our decision-making about learning and teaching for Māori ākonga in Māori-medium contexts. 

This paper was commissioned by the Ministry of Education with the express task of presenting a Māori-medium assessment position. A team of writers and contributors made up of experienced practitioners and leaders with explicit skills, knowledge, and expertise of pedagogy, effective teacher practices, mātauranga Māori, and aromatawai were invited to participate in a series of hui and wānanga in the development of this paper.

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