This ERO report is part of a series of reports being published over three years about the implementation of the National Standards in English-medium schools, with students in Years 1 to 8. Working with the National Standards within The New Zealand Curriculum,was published in August 2010. An interim report, Working with the National Standards: ERO’s interim findings for Term 3, 2010 was published in November 2010.

The National Standards came into effect in 2010 for English-medium schools with Year 1 to 8 students. They describe the achievement that will enable all students to achieve success across The New Zealand Curriculum and have been designed so a student who meets them is on track to succeed at National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2.

In the publication, National Standards information for Schools,[1]the Ministry of Education stated:

In this first year of implementation, schools are expected to:

  • help students understand the standards and their goals in relation to them
  • assess students’ progress and achievement in relation to the standards, using a range of assessment methods
  • ensure that students understand their progress and achievement and what the next steps are in their learning
  • provide at least two plain-language reports to parents, family and whānau about their child’s progress in relation to the standards
  • support parents, family, and whānau to understand the process and format of reporting and how they can work with schools to support their child’s progress.

The National Administration Guidelines (NAGs) require schools to report to parents and students progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. From February 2010, schools have been required to report to parents in writing and in plain language, at least twice a year, about how their child is progressing and achieving in relation to the reading, writing, and mathematics standards. The focus of the mid-year report is expected to be on progress towards meeting the standards, with the end‑of‑year report to focus on the summary of individual student’s progress and achievement in relation to the standards. ERO was interested in schools’ preparation to meet these reporting requirements.

Schools are expected to set targets in their 2011 charters that will enable them to report in their 2012 annual report on:[2]

  • the numbers and proportions of students at, above, below or well below the standards, including by Māori, Pasifika and by gender (where this does not breach an individual’s privacy)
  • how students are progressing against the standards as well as how they are achieving.

ERO was therefore interested in what schools were doing to prepare to set targets in their 2011 charters.

In this second cycle of data gathering, ERO investigated:

  • how schools were aligning their school assessment practices to use the National Standards and focus their teaching
  • how schools were preparing to report to parents in plain language
  • how they were preparing to use National Standards information to set targets in their 2011 charter
  • the understanding and preparedness of school leaders, teachers and trustees to use the standards.