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Assessment data never lies

Māori Medium Assessment Professional Learning Development

Rukuhia Rarangahia

The foci for kura engaged in the Assessment PLD 2015 included developing systems and practices to support NAG2a reporting, to modify and moderate NCEA achievement standards, to moderate overall teacher judgements and to support kaiako to apply inquiry frameworks to implement high quality teaching and learning with a focus on student achievement. The principles of aromatawai as outlined in Rukuhia Rarangahia, aromatawai are the guiding influences behind the shift in thinking and practice.

Facilitators focused on building capabilities of teachers and leaders capacity using powerful methodologies such as: in-class observations, modelling and building in time for reflection with several visits each term where teachers observed different ways of working, and effectively improved impact on student learning.  

In addition to this model, kura were supported to develop organisational systems and processes. Facilitators delivered workshops to improve content knowledge especially around effective use of assessment tools for learning. Workshops focused on moderation, where teachers were encouraged to discuss a variety of assessment processes and supported to consider holistic perspectives to validate overall teacher judgements. 

All kura demonstrated an increased focus on using assessment practices ‘for’ learning, rather than only using summative assessment to inform future steps in quality teaching and learning.

Who was better off?


An increasing number of tumuaki and school leaders were beginning to analyse their annual NAG2A data, develop Analysis of Variance and turning these into smart learning goals in their school charters. Tumuaki now have a stronger focus on target students and how ways they can specifically support kaiako to use data to inform practice and ensure student achievement occurs. Tumuaki monitored target students with expectations that on-going teacher judgements occurred frequently. These sustainable practices helped to ensure students most at risk, didn’t fall behind.

Kura A shift in Pānui achievement data shows:

Assessment pānui snapshot 1    Assessment pānui snapshot 2


Kaiako: “The data results are so poor.” Facilitator: “Poor data is better than no data.” Kaiako: “Why do you say that whaea?” Facilitator: “Because now you know exactly where your children are at and where you need to get them to, and you also know how to get them there.” Kaiako: "What do you mean by that?" Facilitator: “Because you know exactly what’s missing in your teaching.” Kaiako: “You’re right whaea” The data never lies…

Teachers were urged to look closely at what the student data showed - what was working well, what was missing and what needed to change. Through careful mentoring, kaiako looked beyond external influences (physical, environmental and social challenges) on student achievement and ‘looked inwardly’ as they inquired into their own practice. Through a process of reflective inquiry – Pakirehua –  kaiako considered how their practice supported ākonga learning through reflecting on:

  • what kind of assessment tasks they used or assessment they created
  • how to administer the tools, collate and analyse information
  • how to use data to inform high quality teaching and learning programmes

Kura A shift in Te Tau achievement data shows:

   Assessment tau snapshot 1     Assessment tau snapshot 2


Kura have shown shifts in practice, in terms of data collection and analysis to inform quality teaching and learning. For example, impact for ākonga within one kura involved in PLD 2015, can be clearly seen below. When the data changes, we know our students are better off.

Kura A shift in Tuhituhi achievement data shows:

   Assessment tuhituhi snapshot 1     Assessment tau snapshot 2

Challenges recognised

Most kura needed in-depth support in regards to the NAG2A reporting. Unfortunately some kura still see this as compliance, and are not utilising data to inform the Analysis of Variance or Charter goals. Short-term and intermittent PLD in kura with high staff turn-over hinders long-term gains from PLD. Another challenge for kura is the need to increase targeted support for Provisionally Certificated Teachers (PCT).


At Arataki Primary School (Tauranga) capturing student achievement and engagement information with the learner was a focus in 2015. Through deliberate acts of teaching, students have been made aware of the interconnectedness of the nature of learning and teaching (ako). The school collated student voice and assessment tasks in individual portfolios using the Seesaw, student-driven digital portfolio.  Students capture learning with photos and videos of their work, or by adding digital creations. All of this valuable information is collated in one place and is accessible to teachers from any device. Student work can be shared with classmates, parents, or published to a class blog. Seesaw gives students a real audience for their work and offers parents a personalised window into their child's learning. This has also been a catalyst for developing and maintaining strong relationships with whānau, as they have become an active part of the process.

Assessment Seesaw screenshot 1 Assessment Seesaw screenshot 3

Where to from here?

For future developments in Assessment PLD a focus to ensure sustainability needs to be applied to the following areas:

  • Kaiako being able to use assessment tools to collect relevant and reliable assessment data
  • Achievement data being analysed to inform next steps in learning. 
  • Robust moderation processes and practices being implemented to strengthen the consistency of Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJs).
  • Capturing achievement and engagement information with the learner and goal setting.

On reflection

On reflection as a result of the assessment PLD, 100% of leaders and kaiako involved in the 2015 PLD have improved attitudes,opinions and practices to benefit student achievement.

Comments from tumuaki and kaiako include:

  • This PLD  has helped myself and my staff to identify students assessment results and utilise them to determine next step in learning and make gradual but important lifts to these students, some also have made huge learning shifts. There is always the ability to review and improve on teaching practices and home school relationships. The children are the core reason for our work as educators.
  • I am more aware of the importance of Māori frameworks and how this can improve Māori achievement.
  • Because the PLD has been consistent and my children expected the regular visits and because of this and the regular feedforward we received we saw concrete evidence of children's levels rising and teacher knowledge and skills being elevated it made for a win/ win situation.

Ministry resources: Whanākitanga pangarau e ara tohu mate pawaho.

For more information on Māori Medium Assessment PLD, see the infographic data and visit the Assessment Yrs 1-3 or contact Tammy Gardiner.