Appendix 3: Glossary of terms

asTTle Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle) gives teachers good information about their children’s achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics.  The tool is specially designed for New Zealand children from Year 4 to Year 12, including those learning in Māori medium. 
Concepts about print These are concepts that show how much a child knows about how books, text, and pictures work. For example, reading from left to right and top to bottom, and making connections between the text and illustrations. For more information see Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, p33. 
Decoding and encoding  When decoding children work out what a word is saying by using the sounds the letters in a word make.  Encoding is the opposite as children use their knowledge of the relationship between letters and sounds to work out how to write a word.   
Five-year net This is the same as the Six-year net (see below) with the norms set for children that are five years of age
Guided reading In guided reading a group of children read a text which has been selected by the teacher, and explore the text together through discussion. The teacher supports children’s use of appropriate reading strategies. The teacher selects the text, based on the learning needs of the children. 
Junior Oral Screening Test (JOST)

JOST is used to identify children who need further development in speaking. JOST is used to find out the level of children’s vocabulary development, use of social language and understanding of simple grammar. The test is most often used during children’s first year at school but it is suitable for older childre

Learning intentions Make learning explicit to children by using language they understand to explain the specific skill, process or action they are learning. 
Letter-sound knowledge

When teachers assess a child’s letter sound knowledge they find out what the child knows about the names of the alphabet letters and some of the sounds they make

Literacy advisors School Support Literacy Advisors provide support and guidance for teachers and principals in primary and secondary schools. Their main focus is on improving classroom practice. They also provide professional development for teachers in the area of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). School Support Literacy Advisors run workshops and provide in-class modelling on aspects of effective literacy practice for children.
Literacy Development Officers Literacy Development Officers (LDOs) are local Ministry of Education staff who support schools to strengthen literacy teaching in Years 1-8. They can help your school examine the effectiveness of existing literacy programmes to make informed, evidence-based decisions to improve literacy achievement for children. Their key role is to assist schools to analyse literacy data, review literacy goals and plans, and broker the provision of targeted professional support. Funds may be available to enable your school to access appropriate support.
Modelling Modelling or ‘showing how’ is a form of instruction that makes the thinking involved in the exercise visible to the children.  Modelling can be used by teachers as a deliberate act of teaching. 
Modelling books  As they do the ‘showing how’ teachers often record the ideas and strategies in big books as a class resource of modelling activities, for children and teachers to revisit. 
New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars and Matrices (or Matrix)  The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars are selected examples of children’s work that show learning and achievement in relation to national curriculum levels.  Teachers use the exemplars to make judgements about their children’s work by comparing it with the standards shown in the exemplars.   Matrices are lists of steps children need to progress through to cover the key areas required to learn to read and write. 
New Zealand Curriculum levels

The New Zealand Curriculum statements include eight levels of achievement. Five-year-olds usually work at level 1 and by the time children are 17 or 18 they will be at level 7 or 8. There is useful information about the New Zealand Curriculum on the Ministry of Education’s website, Te Kete Ipurangi

Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS)

PIPS is a CD-ROM based programme which assesses reading and mathematics achievement and progress for Year 1 to Year 6 children.  There are also science PIPS for children in Year 6. There is more information on the PIPS website –  ( 
Phonics Phonics is the relationship between spoken sounds and the letters that represent them; and the correspondence between sound and symbol in an alphabetical writing system
Phonological awareness 

Phonological awareness refers to an individual’s awareness of the sound structure, or phonological structure, of a spoken word. It includes the ability to aurally distinguish units of speech, such as a word’s syllables and a syllable’s individual phonemes. The ability to segment and blend phonemes is critical for the development of decoding skills, reading fluency, and spelling.

PROBE Prose reading observation behaviour and evaluation of comprehension. PROBE is one type of reading running record that includes an oral reading comprehension test
Progressive Achievement Tests (PATs) 

PATs are standardised tests developed by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). There are PATs for Year 4 to Year 10 children in reading comprehension, reading vocabulary and mathematics. There is a listening comprehension PAT for Year 3 to Year 10 students

Reading Recovery Reading Recovery is a one-to-one teaching programme for children who have made slow progress learning to read and write in their first year at school. It is a 12 to 20 week programme undertaken for half an hour daily.  Many New Zealand schools provide this catch-up opportunity.  Each child’s reading and writing is assessed close to their sixth birthday and from this data some children are selected to take part in the Reading Recovery programme at school as soon as a space is available. 
Reading running records  

Reading running records are used to assess the progress of, and strategies used by, children who are developing confidence with reading fluency. This tool is mostly used in junior classes. The child read a passage aloud to the teacher who records how the Education Review Office Reading and Writing in Years 1 and 2 December 2009 54 child reads each word. The record shows details of mistakes, changes made and the way the child goes back to make sense of a phrase

Reading Recovery levels related to Ready to Read colours 

Reading Recovery level- Ready to Read series

21  Gold

19 – 20 Purple

17 – 18 Light Blue

15 – 16 Orange

12 – 14 Green

9 – 11 Dark Blue

6 – 8 Yellow

3 – 5 Red

1 – 2 Magenta

Ready to Read Ready to Read is a graded reading series published for the Ministry of Education to support reading programmes in junior classes (children aged 5 to 8 years). Ready to Read texts feature situations, characters, and language that reflect the lives and interests of New Zealand children. The series includes single titles, big books, and poem cards, as well as tapes, CDs, and support material for teachers.  The series includes books in a range of text forms including narratives, personal recounts, photo articles, reports, explanations, and instructions
Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour (RTLB)  The RTLB service provides advice and support to help teacher s in small clusters of schools to meet the needs of students with additional learning and behaviour needs.
Resource Teacher: Literacy (RTLit)  

The RT:Lit service provides advice and support to help teachers in cluster schools to meet the needs of Years 0 to 8 children at risk of low achievement due to learning difficulties in literacy.

Resource Teacher: Māori (RTM)  

The RTM service assists principals and teachers to provide programmes of work for Years 0 to 8 children in Māori immersion settings

School Entry Assessment (SEA)   SEA is a standardised assessment procedure that can be used to collect information on the oral language, early mathematics and early reading knowledge and understanding of new entrants.  In many schools teachers may use parts of the assessment tool combined with other assessments they have selected.  The teacher usually tests children about four to eight weeks after they have started school 
Shared reading  Shared reading is an instructional approach during which the teacher explicitly teaches the strategies and skills of proficient readers.  The teacher and children read the text together.  Children have an opportunity to gradually assume more responsibility for the reading as their skill level and confidence increase.  Shared reading provides an environment for children to practice the behaviours of proficient readers with the support of teacher and peers. Shared reading may be offered to the whole class or a small group of children and may focus on needs indicated in assessment data 
Shared writing  Shared writing involves the teacher and a group of children (perhaps the whole class) in planning and writing a text together. The teacher models the writing process, using explicit instruction of writing strategies. Children contribute ideas and their expertise during this process.  Children then write their own text.  
Six-year net (Six-year observation survey)   The six-year observation survey is a comprehensive assessment of each six-year-old child’s progress in reading and writing.  The Six-year net helps teachers to compare how children are progressing with reading levels, alphabet knowledge, word test, writing knowledge.  To help teachers compare achievement and progress results are recorded as stanines.  
Stanine  A stanine indicates a children’s rank in comparison with other children who took the same test.  Stanines are expressed as a scale of nine units with a low of one and a high of nine. The scale follows a bell-curve, where 20 percent of the children fit within stanine five, four percent in stanine nine, and four percent in stanine one.  
Supplementary Achievement Test in Reading (STAR)  

The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) developed STAR. Three tests are designed for different age groups (Year 3, Years 4 to 6 and Years 7 to 9). The achievement of each student can be compared with stanines. Teachers also use the information to group and plan for children’s reading instruction.

Teaching as Inquiry process 

Teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on children. The process is cyclic where they use assessments and research to decide on which teaching strategies are most likely to achieve success for their children. The teacher establishes a baseline from what has already been learned and what children need to learn next. Outcomes are assessed and analysed to identify implications for future teaching.

Three-way conferencing   During the interview process, children, teachers and parents engage in conversations about examples of completed work that demonstrate what the child has achieved and what could be worked on next.  They work together to set new goals for next learning steps.  
Unassisted writing sample  

The children independently complete a piece of writing without any help from the teacher

Visual learning prompt  Displays of work or references that children can refer to as reminders or examples of past and current learning 
Wedge graphs  Schools can measure and display children’ progress by tracking this progress wedge graph. The wedge graph shows if children read below, at, or above, their expected level 
Whole language   Whole language describes a literacy philosophy which emphasises that children should focus on meaning and strategy instruction when reading.