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Frameworks to expand and enhance Level One of the New Zealand Curriculum

These Level One curriculum frameworks are a development of The Central Region Special Schools Cluster (CRSSC). Since 2001, this cluster of schools has been working in collaboration  to improve meaningful assessment to inform teaching and learning for students working within Level One of The New Zealand Curriculum.

 There are two literacy frameworks: listening, reading and viewing and speaking, writing and presenting.

The numeracy framework is an extended Number framework and matrix.

With assistance from Ministry of Education EHSAS funding, the six schools in the cluster have worked together to develop these frameworks, led by high level facilitators in both literacy and numeracy. Lead teachers met for workshops, as did the principals, and both groups combined at intervals to maintain a unity of purpose and understanding. The frameworks and matrices were tested and moderated extensively in and between the cluster schools, including on-line moderation. The work is on-going; plans for the future include an extended on-line presence, incorporating a helpline.

The frameworks, or matrices, expand and enhance Level One of the New Zealand Curriculum in literacy and numeracy, following national matrices and leading directly into Level One. Holistic learning progressions are set on a continuum, identifying the fine-grained progressions that some students make.

The matrices were developed to help teachers identify the key features of learning, achievement, and quality in relation to each achievement objective. Teachers are able to use the matrices to place each student on an individual starting point, identify next step planning and teaching and hold suitably high and realistic expectations for achievement.

Accompanying the matrices are exemplars, which make explicit the critical features of a student’s work, the important things to watch for, to collect information about and act upon.

The matrices and exemplars provide an assessment tool that is firmly grounded in the New Zealand Curriculum and formative in intent. They combine diagnostic and formative assessment, and provide for summative assessment in reporting. This ensures the purpose of the CRSSC assessment tool:

  • to assist student learning
  • to identify students’ strengths and progress
  • to assess the effectiveness of a particular instructional strategy
  • to assess and improve the effectiveness of curriculum programmes
  • to assess and improve teaching effectiveness
  • to provide data that assist in decision making
  • to communicate with and involve parents.

Structure of the matrices

There are two parts to the expanded curriculum frameworks or matrices.

Using the analogy of a rocket, the first six stages are called Fuel. In Fuel 1–3, students are immersed in a language-rich environment in order to develop a sense of self, their place in space, and the shapes around them. They are provided with a range of opportunities to begin exploring their environment through sensory experiences.

In Fuel 4–6, students are engaged in language rich activities that provide opportunities to explore and make connections. They continue to develop the early concept knowledge and skills needed to make sense of measurement, their place in space and the shapes and images around them.

The next three stages are called Launch, which link directly into Level One. In these stages, students are actively involved in a broadening range of learning experiences. They demonstrate purposeful use of early concept knowledge, language and skills.