John Ohia

This study presents a critical evaluation of the NEMP Pängarau (mathematics) assessment tasks written in te reo Mäori for Year 8 students in Mäori medium schools by a team of Mäori Pängarau teachers. In particular, it sought to identify difficulties, and possible solutions to these. The full probe study report contains suggested revised tasks/resources for teaching and learning Pängarau in kura kaupapa Mäori.

The evaluation was carried out by two fluent speakers of te reo Mäori with extensive knowledge and experience in teaching mathematics in kura kaupapa Mäori and English medium mathematics. These teachers were responsible for examining the scope, wording and meaning of the tasks against the achievement objectives of the Pängarau curriculum document. Four focus areas were addressed in the probe study: (i) the relationship between the Pängarau curriculum

  and the NEMP tasks; (ii) the adequacy of
questions translated from English to Mäori; (iii) ensuring that all aspects of mathematics were included; and (iv) noting any gaps, with suggestions for improvements. The researchers also checked the meaning of the te reo Mäori versions of the tasks and referred to the English versions whenever clarification of either word(s), phrase(s) or a combination was required. If necessary, they rewrote the tasks.
• Translations of NEMP tasks from English to te reo Mäori ‘word for word’ and involving ‘idioms’ are problematic, as the te reo Mäori version can become difficult to understand and grammatically incorrect.

• Tasks presented in te reo Mäori need to accord with the spoken and written language used by the Mäori community and kura kaupapa Mäori.

  • Special care needs to be taken to ensure that when translations are altered, the mathematical concept being tested is not modified.

• All aspects of the Pängarau curriculum were well covered in the NEMP assessment programme, with the possible exception of traditional concepts of measurement (e.g., counting, time, length).

The Pängarau NEMP assessment programme provides a very good model for assessment and learning of mathematics through the medium of Mäori language. As such, it has considerable potential as a teaching and assessment resource for teachers. The study confirmed that translating NEMP tasks from English into te reo Mäori needs to be done by teachers who are experienced teachers of mathematics in Mäori medium schools. Also, further research is needed in the area of traditional mathematics in the Pängarau curriculum to address problems of definition, curriculum planning and resource availability.  

top of page    |    return to Contents    |    return to Probe Studies menu                                to FULL REPORT
The full report of this probe study will be available on this website by Jan 2004 or can be obtained from USEE.