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Assessment in science

The New Zealand Curriculum states that the primary purpose of assessment is to improve students’ learning and teachers’ teaching as both student and teacher respond to the information that it provides (page 39). Effective assessment benefits students, involves students, supports teaching and learning, is varied to suit the context and purpose, and is valid and fair.

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa expresses similar views in the section Ngā Ahuatanga Ako, under the heading Te Whakarite Aromatawai Whai Take (page 15).

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) – NCEA resources

This NZQA page provides links to information relating to NCEA science subjects. It has specific links to:

Curriculum and standards documents on these pages have links to standards, matrices, and teaching and learning guides on TKI.

For internally assessed standards these pages provide links to moderator's newsletters, clarifications, annotated exemplars of student work, TKI resources, and conditions of assessment.

For internally assessed standards these pages provide links to assessment reports, assessment schedules, assessment specifications, cut scores, examination papers and exemplars thereof, exemplars for externally assessed standards and standards (unit and achievement).

Further information relating to assessment of unit standards is also available. 

NCEA standards alignment – science

This NCEA on TKI page provides links to resources for internally assessed achievement standards for sciences at Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. 

They have been aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) and formally registered by NZQA.

For other science resources there are links to glossaries For Translated NCEA External Examinations and NZQA Assessor Support options to inspire and encourage good assessment practice.

NZCER science assessment tools

The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) has developed three tools to support the science learning of students in New Zealand schools. Two of these tools are standardised assessments to which schools subscribe to use: 

The third tool is free to access:

The  Science Engagement Survey , a non-standardised survey for years 0–10. 

All three tools are available on NZCER Marking , an online service that enables students to sit NZCER tests online and provides schools with detailed analysis and reporting on student achievement.

Read more about using these three tools on Assessment Online's information page for these resources.

Assessment Resource Banks

The Assessment Resource Banks (ARBs) are developed by NZCER. They include over 700 science formative assessment resources for students working at levels 1–5 of the New Zealand curriculum. Many of the assessment resources can be completed online, and many have an auto-marking function. The resources are free to New Zealand schools. The student tasks and the teacher information are based on New Zealand and international research, and informed by trials in schools.

Science Assessment Resource Bank resources can also be found by searching TKI (filter this search result by level).

Read more about using the ARBs on Assessment Online's information page for these resources. 

Science learning objects – assessment

These interactive assessment learning objects (previously available in Digistore) can be found in this TKI search result . They support the formative assessment of students' understanding of concepts and skills. An integral component of each assessment resource is a report on student performance against the learning outcomes addressed by the resource. This information is captured as the student proceeds through each task.Find other science learning objects by searching TKI, and by browsing Scootle's Open Education Resources page

Assessment Online

This key community covers assessment in the classroom, effective use of evidence, and reporting to families and whānau. It offers news, assessment tools and resources, research, a glossary, FAQ, and related links.

Consider the evidence  section promotes "evidence-driven decision making for secondary schools" and supports secondary educators in making best use of evidence to improve student achievement.

For an overview of assessment, see  Directions for assessment in New Zealand (DANZ) , a report by Michael Absolum, Lester Flockton, John Hattie, Rosemary Hipkins, and Ian Reid.

ERO (Education Review Office)

In 2007, ERO published three reports on schools’ effectiveness in the collection and use of assessment:


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