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Graphs, Tables & Maps
Aspects of Technology
Reading & Speaking
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Social Studies
. Listening & Viewing
Health & Phys. Ed.
Forums for Mäori Medium
Graphs, Tables & Maps
Aspects of Technology
Reading & Speaking
Information Skills
Social Studies
. Listening & Viewing
Health & Phys. Ed.
National Education Monitoring
ISSN 1174 - 247X

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Last updated October 2008
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2007 FORUM

Sandra Aikin
Merimeri Anania
Susan Apathy
Alistair Banks
Ally Bull
Lisette Burrows
Kate Collins
Ian Culpan
Stephanie Dix
Barbara Ferguson
Alison Gilmore
Brent Gray
Hadyn Green
Ray Griffiths
Rose Hague
Julie Hepburn
Mary Hill
Diane Legget
Libby Limbrick
Erin Moore
Jeana Packer
Faye Parkhill
Liz Patara
Jennifer Radford
Jamie Rowe
Heather Russell
Lorraine Stiles
Maria Tibble
Jackie Wells
Susan Young


The third four-year cycle of national monitoring started in 2003. Results from this third cycle allow comparisons with performances in the previous cycle of assessments.

The three reports on the 2006 assessment results were considered by a national forum of teachers, subject specialists, representatives of national organisations and government agencies. Their comments highlight what students are generally doing well, and those areas where improvements are desirable.

The help of principals, teachers and Boards of Trustees in making NEMP reports and this Forum Comment widely known is encouraged and appreciated.

. Click the Access Task icon for more information about the tasks which will be available to schools from November 2007.
.CLICK for full report
• Year 4 and year 8 students maintained levels of achievement from 2002 to 2006.

• Some worthwhile achievement gains were made from year 4 to year 8.

• For the most part, boys and girls performed similarly.

• In general, students scored well on tasks involving recall, using specific factual information or on topics of interest (e.g. sports or exciting events).


• Students at both year levels were less successful on tasks requiring critical analysis, interpretation, symbolic representations, metaphor or evaluation.

• Students had difficulty with tasks involving critical thinking to differentiate fact from opinion.

• There were significant gaps among ethnic subgroups, especially pertaining to Pasifika students. This was particularly the case in listening tasks. Additionally, Pasifika students did not show the same improvement from year 4 to year 8 as Pakeha and Mäori students.

• Following an improvement in 2002, disparities in performance between low and high decile schools grew larger in 2006. This trend is not as pronounced for viewing tasks.

• Because many of the instructional practices in schools rely on effective and active listening, attention needs to be paid to the teaching of listening skills and the use of multi-modal forms of information presentation. These practices will help ensure that students have equitable access to the curriculum/learning.

• Because society relies increasingly on the use of multi-media formats for presenting information, specific attention needs to be paid to developing skills in relation to these media. This may be facilitated most readily by using familiar contexts and experiences, and building on students’ prior knowledge.

• Particular attention needs to be paid to developing the higher order skills of interpretation, analysis, figurative interpretations and evaluation. This is particularly urgent for Pasifika and Mäori students.

.CLICK for full report
• In expressive writing, there was substantial improvement from 2002 for year 4 students, and a modest improvement for year 8 students.

• Writing stories was the most popular school writing activity for year 4 and year 8 students. Writing poems and letters, and writing in other school subjects were also quite popular among students.
• There have been reduced disparities from 2002 to 2006 in overall scores between Pakeha and Mäori students, and between Pakeha and Pasifika students.

• Disparities between performances of students in high, medium and low decile schools have reduced from 2002 to 2006.
• The percentage of year 4 students who reported enjoyment from writing in their own time has increased from 1998 through to 2006.

• Differences in achievement between Pakeha and Mäori were smaller at year 8 than year 4, suggesting a trend towards improvement for Mäori students as they advance from year 4 to year 8.

• Pasifika students were more enthusiastic about writing and sharing their work with others than Pakeha and Mäori.

• Although there was improvement in most areas of expressive writing, there is still room for improving richness of writing and attention to detail.
• Boys continue to achieve at lower levels than girls. They performed less well on approximately 50 percent of tasks at year 4, and 70 percent of tasks year 8. This is a serious concern, with the gap larger than in all other areas assessed in NEMP.
• Despite the overall reduction in disparity between Pakeha and Pasifika students, Pasifika students are still achieving at substantially lower levels at both year 4 and year 8. This was especially noticeably in persuasive writing and use of punctuation.


• There was no improvement in use of writing conventions (spelling, punctuation, grammar), despite overall gains in writing.
• Many students did not appear to understand the conventions and layout of formal or business letters, such as including the recipient’s and sender’s address, appropriate salutation and the date.
• When invited to edit their writing, students paid most attention to spelling and punctuation but paid little attention to paragraphing, reorganising or extending their writing.

• Help students to always clarify the purpose and appropriate style for each piece of writing in which they engage.

• Strengthen the planning phase of story writing, including attention to purpose, audience, coherent themes and strong conclusions.

• Help students to understand and use the principles and skills of proofreading and editing their writing.

• Provide models, instruction, practice and feedback in using correct formats for formal letter writing.

• Provide students with opportunities to use technologies and software that connect with social and cultural interests (e.g. blogging and adapting texts to different purposes and audiences).

• Work to lift achievement gains in functional writing so that they are more in line with the progress between 2002 and 2006 shown by both year 4 and year 8 students in expressive writing.

• Take steps to identify and address the reasons for declining interest and less positive attitudes towards writing by many year 8 students.

• Teachers might seek and use feedback from students on their writing attitudes and perceptions, using questionnaire approaches similar to the NEMP survey. (Note that blank versions of NEMP surveys are available on the website.)

.CLICK for full report


• Despite popular perception that engagement in physical activity is declining, physical education is the second most favoured subject at year 4 and favourite at year 8.

• Students showed improved knowledge of physical health consequences of smoking, alcohol, nutrition choices, stereotyping, shared drink bottles, and hand-washing.

• There was marked improvement (especially at year 4) on understanding the constituents of a ‘healthy’ school lunch.

• Year 4 and year 8 students have a reasonably sound grasp on how to deal with bullying. Most said they would engage the help of a teacher
and/or parent and many felt that they could talk with the bully and explain how they felt.

• There was less evidence of students showing gender stereotypes at year 4 compared to the 2002 results.

• Both year 4 and year 8 students scored extremely well on the task “New Kids at School”.
• Mäori and Pasifika students scored higher than Pakeha students on culturally relevant movement tasks like poi.

• Progress has been made in reducing disparities in achievement between Mäori and Pasifika students and Pakeha students, with Mäori students scoring slightly higher than Pakeha on physical education tasks.

• Health was rated the lowest subject preference by both year 4 and year 8 students.

• There was a lack of understanding of social, emotional and spiritual aspects of well-being/hauora.

• The least liked health activity for both year 4 and year 8 students was “my feelings and how to feel good about myself”.

• There was a low preference at year 8 for swimming despite widespread concern about New Zealand children’s aquatic safety.

• Year 4 students showed minimal understanding of the benefits of food beyond the ‘physical’.

• Te reo kori continues to be the least preferred physical education activity.

• While the feedback from teachers to children about their ability in physical education has improved, many students said they do not know what their teacher thinks of their ability in health education.

• Boys continue to out-perform girls on motor tasks that are often emphasised in school based physical education (e.g. throwing, kicking, striking, small ball catch, distance throw, racquet strike), while girls continue to score well on tasks like balance and skipping.

• Many students have the perception that health activities are only sometimes or never done in class.

• Broadening and balancing students’ understandings of health so that mental, social, emotional and spiritual well-being are valued as highly important dimensions.

• Through suitable learning experiences, continuing to emphasise that health is about more than the ‘right’ food.

• Continuing to recognise and address the impact of gender, ethnicity, location and class on the kinds of activities valued and achieved in by students (e.g. differences in boys’ and girls’ performance on motor tasks; differences between Mäori and Pakeha on poi tasks; and ‘poorer’ performance of Pasifika students on personal health tasks).

• Exploring ways to make swimming a more attractive proposition for year 8 students.

• Fostering of critical thinking and reflection as essential skills for learning and progress in health and physical education.


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• Overall, the assessment results for Mäori students were positive. The findings show only moderate differences between Mäori and Pakeha students at year 4, and an important decrease in this gap by year 8. In particular, the percentage of students scoring at the highest levels increases strongly on many tasks from year 4 to year 8.

• The pattern of strong growth in Mäori students from year 4 to year 8 can be seen across the board on tasks in expressive writing, functional writing and writing conventions.

• Results from the NEMP survey showed that more year 8 Mäori students than Pakeha students said they wrote stories, poems or letters at school.

• Mäori students perform far more competently at year 8 than at year 4 on listening and viewing tasks. The discrepancy between Pakeha and Mäori students decreased from year 4 to year 8.

• Overall on the physical education tasks, Mäori students scored slightly higher than Pakeha students.

• On the health tasks, the differences between Mäori and Pakeha at year 8 remain small.
group video
• In expressive writing, as with all other students, Mäori students at years 4 and 8 found the dimensions of clarity, richness and personal feeling or humour challenging.
plum tree • On listening tasks, Mäori students at year 4 did not perform as well as Pakeha students as they did four years ago. Furthermore, at year 8 there is little change from 2002 to 2006.

• Compared to Pakeha students, there have been no gains on viewing tasks by Mäori students at year 4 and year 8 from 2002 to 2006.
• As with all other groups of students, Mäori students are less successful on interpretation or inference, interpreting messages or evaluating the merits of opposing arguments in listening tasks.
• The advice offered under the sections Writing; Listening and Viewing; and Health and Physical Education applies equally for Mäori students.

ISSN 1174-247X

.CLICK for full report
The assessment tasks have high validity in terms of science education. They are largely practical. They involved students in thinking and showing their understanding of real rather than contrived situations.

Learning outcomes that are important for science learning in New Zealand have been targeted. The tasks cover a good cross section of the curriculum strands.

The original data are so rich that they cannot be fully captured in the reports. However, the reports give a snapshot of important things that students know and can do well, and those areas needing improvement.

Topics that are well understood by Year 4 and Year 8 students include electric circuits and floating and sinking. Knowledge of earth science was lower than other areas. Year 4 and Year 8 students need to be encouraged to develop broader ideas and understandings about environments such as river estuaries.

Use of equipment, measurement and interpretation of results are done well at both Year 4 and Year 8. The more sophisticated ideas about ‘fair tests’ and checking results by repeated measurements need emphasis in teaching and learning. Some of the tasks showed that students need to learn planning skills, particularly for open-ended investigations and those done in group settings.

There is a clear advance in knowledge and skills from year 4 to year 8.

Girls view science less positively than boys and this is reflected in lower achievement by girls at both Year 4 and especially Year 8. Continuing work is needed to reduce this difference.

.CLICK for full report
This report provides a very helpful national assessment model for measuring student abilities across a wide range of important art skills and knowledge.

From the data gathered and reported, we now have valuable information to support qualitative judgements about student achievement in art.

The results show that a majority of students enjoy participating in art activities, and that there is some development between Year 4 and Year 8. Overall, there is less growth between years 4 and 8 than might be expected within this essential learning area.

New Zealand students are not doing so well in responding to art, which is one of the two main strands of the art curriculum. The whole area of artistic literacy requires special attention.

The report shows that students need help to be able to talk with some knowledge and understand about examples of art works and the relationships between art and culture. This points to a focus for teacher development and the provision of supporting resources.

We can celebrate the finding that factors such as race, gender, school region, size or type appear to be unrelated to students’ achievements in art.

The report reveals the challenge to build excellence in the two key dimensions of an art education: making and knowing about art.

.CLICK for full report
The essential skills of reading, constructing and interpreting graphs, tables and maps cut across several curriculum areas. The assessment tasks represent a wide range of everyday information.

Special features of these tasks are that many have been presented orally, in small groups and individually. Novel approaches have made the tasks interesting and accessible for students. The tasks have been administered in ways that don’t disadvantage poor readers.

About 90 percent of Year 8 students are able to complete a bar graph and interpret a simple graph, an air timetable, a floor plan, a flow chart and a table of figures.

The results tend to confirm the good achievements that New Zealand students of a similar age scored in the 1990-91 international reading literacy survey. By the end of primary school, most New Zealand students have mastered the essential skills of extracting and interpreting information from graphs, tables and maps.

Year 8 students fount it somewhat more difficult when (i) there were more than two operations involved; (ii) they were asked to extrapolate or make a generalisation or identify trends implicit in the information; (iii) the material contained a large amount of information additional to the task, yet typical of everyday material.

While students of Year 4 do well at these tasks there is substantial growth in skills from Year 4 to Year 8. On average, about 10 percent growth per year.

Although most students were able to construct graphs to illustrate given data, their labelling of axes was often overlooked.

Student’s ability to read and air NZ timetable stood out in particular.

New Zealand newspaper and magazine editors can have confidence that most New Zealand adults of the future will be able to interpret material presented in graphs, tables and maps.
 TEACHERS SAY: Comments from the classroom teachers attending the forum

• The project gives credence to cultural and gender values.

• Teachers are involved in task development
• The tasks have undergone detailed trailing during their development.
• Tasks are interesting. Students are motivated to do well.
• Tasks are practical and focus on important curriculum outcomes.
• The range of tasks gives a picture of a good cross section of the curriculum.

What good things do the reports show that are happening in our classrooms?
• There is clear evidence of growth in knowledge and skills over the year 4 period.
• Parents can make choices of schools knowing that the type of size of school is not likely to affect their children’s education.
• Students responded well to the many practical tasks of the kind that are advocated in the new curriculum.

What we need to do?
• Recognise the value and importance of National Monitoring as it has been administered.
• Identify and acknowledge areas of concern for further and future professional discussion and attention within our schools. For example, the performance of girls in science, and students’ ability to talk about art.
• Take particular note of the resource implications for achieving educational standards.
• Accept that schools in socially or economically disadvantage areas require special understanding, support and resources to help them lift the performance of their students.

As classroom teachers, we trust these reports and national monitoring because:

• There is high quality advisory input and expert leadership of the project.
• All national curriculum subjects will be covered in a 4-year period – NEMP recognises a balanced curriculum for all students.
• The tasks reflect the important learning outcomes of national curriculum.
• The assessments cover of a broad range of what we as teachers and parents are wanting students to achieve.
• The tasks represent practical, hands-on learning.
• Tasks are interesting and motivating for boys and girls.
.• Enjoyment is understood as in important factor that contributes to learning and success.
• The tasks are carefully developed and tested before large scale use.
• Video recorded interviewing helps standardise task administration and marking.
• Low achieving students enjoyed the tasks.
• Students felt positive about being assessed.
• Co-operative group skills are assessed nationally for the first time.
• NEMP values the work of teachers: assessment is carried out by teachers and marked by teachers who are given special training and guidance.
• This project gives teachers excellent opportunities for professional development in curriculum related assessment.
• The reports give useful models for teachers to follow.
• The reports will help teachers to carefully review and discuss some important aspects of learning.
• NEMP assessment gives schools procedures and data useful for school-based self-review.
• The project offers a great chance for New Zealand to be at the forefront in the world of assessment.

Contact Details:   Email :   |   Freephone 0800 808 561   |   Fax 64 3 479 8561   |   October 2008