Section One: Leaders and teachers' confidence with collecting and using assessment in 2007

In 2007 ERO reported on The Collection and Use of Assessment in Schools (ERO, 2007). The evaluation focused on how well:

  • leaders and teachers understood the purpose and use of assessments
  • the assessment information they gathered demonstrated students’ achievement and progress accurately and effectively
  • assessment information was analysed and interpreted so trustees, school managers, teachers, students, parents and school communities could understand it
  • information about students’ achievements was used by teachers, school managers and trustees
  • leaders and teachers were supported to use and understand assessments.

The evaluation showed that many schools still needed help in developing school‑wide assessment policies, procedures and practices across all aspects of students’ learning.

In 2007, about 90 percent of primary schools sampled were able to share some information about achievement in literacy and numeracy, but many had little information about other curriculum areas.

Although many primary schools collected considerable assessment data, ERO found much of this information was not well used to inform teaching practice. In effective schools, assessment was integral to teaching and learning. In other schools, assessments were only used at the end of a teaching unit to summarise how well students had achieved. In some cases, assessments did not measure the skills they were intended to measure. 

Effectiveness of primary schools in demonstrating students’ achievement and progress

Highly effective

13%

Effective with minor weaknesses

44%

Partially Effective with substantial  weaknesses

42%

Not Effective

  1%

ERO investigated how well teachers helped students use information about their achievement for further learning. In the best instances, students understood the purpose of each assessment and were provided with learning intentions and success criteria to help them monitor their learning. At the other extreme, students were not involved in decisions and discussions about their learning, or were overloaded with information in ways detrimental to their learning. Some teachers had little understanding of good quality learning intentions or how to provide ongoing and useful feedback to students.

The effectiveness of the interaction of assessment with teaching and learning in primary schools

Highly effective

10%

Effective with minor weaknesses

44%

Partially Effective with substantial  weaknesses

41%

Not Effective

  5%

 

School leaders and trustees’ ability to use school‑wide assessment information to review the effectiveness of their programmes and resourcing decisions was also variable.

In effective schools, achievement expectations for learning priorities were clear, and collated information provided an accurate picture of students’ learning and progress. Some teachers and leaders used this rich information to identify groups of students who were not achieving as well as expected. They also monitored the achievement and progress of these and other selected groups of students.

The effectiveness of students’ use of achievement information for further learning in primary schools

Highly effective

  9%

Effective with minor weaknesses

33%

Partially Effective with substantial  weaknesses

43%

Not Effective

 15%

 

However in many schools, trustees, leaders and teachers did not have the statistical knowledge required to analyse and interpret school‑wide achievement information accurately. Teachers had spent time testing students and preparing reports that were of little use, or developed incomplete or misleading conclusions.

The effectiveness of the use of school-wide information in primary schools

Highly effective

13%

Effective with minor weaknesses

30%

Partially Effective with substantial  weaknesses

45%

Not Effective

 12%

 

ERO evaluated how effectively information about individual students’ achievements was reported to them and their parents, and to the school’s community on the more general achievement trends. Effective schools provided parents with comprehensive information on their child’s actual and expected achievement in The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Parents also had opportunities to discuss next learning steps with the teachers and, where appropriate, with the child. Some teachers made special arrangements for meeting the parents of groups of students, such as those who identified as Māori, or as Pacific, or those who were achieving very highly.

The effectiveness of the reporting of achievement information to the community in primary schools

Highly effective

8%

Effective with minor weaknesses

43%

Partially Effective with substantial  weaknesses

39%

Not Effective

 10%

 

Some schools provided little information parents could use to understand their child’s achievement and/or progress. Instead, reports provided information about activities the children had participated in or used grading scales with little information about the scales or how the score was determined.

Much has changed in the past decade to improve primary school students, teachers, leaders and trustees information literacy. These changes included:

  • guidelines and support from the Ministry for setting and monitoring achievement targets
  • professional learning and development programmes for teachers on using assessment to improve teaching and learning
  • information from the Ministry about students’ learning progressions and expectationsrationalisation and development of computer software to help with collation and analysis of assessment information across each school
  • developing systems to provide more detailed reports about individual students’ achievement and progress, using standardised assessments such as Progressive Achievement Test (PAT) , Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle) and the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT)
  • providing other online resources, such as Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI), Assessment Resource Banks (ARB), NZMaths, Science Education Assessment Resources
  • ERO resources for schools and parents about assessment, reporting and curriculum.

Over the past decade ERO has also continued to focus on raising student achievement during both the reviews of individual primary schools, reviews for the national evaluation reports, and the review and development of the School Evaluation Indicators (ERO, 2016).