New Zealand Assessments

Until December 2017 primary schools were required to provide evidence that illustrated achievement levels in connection to the National Standards. To meet this requirement schools used various forms of assessment, but mainly the standardized assessments from e-asTTLe and PAT. As of January 2018, the only mandated exams are the NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement), which are administered in years 11 – 13. All other assessments are currently at the discretion of each school. Below I have outlined the ones I have observed at primary level, as well as other tools that inform educational practice. I will start with what I am seeing the most, into others that I have observed or discussed intermittently (teacher perception/interviews).  Links and additional information regarding can be found in Resources

Running Records:  Materials are through resources provided by the New Zealand Curriculum. I have observed them being used in every class I have visited.

Formative Assessment:  This is the constant. Anecdotal notes, recording of data during small group instruction, use of coding (plus, minus, check mark, etc., used in student subject journals beginning in Kindergarten), student goal setting/progress monitoring/portfolios, teacher created exams, differentiation of task, less direct instruction and more facilitation of learning.  During staff meetings/collaboration (they call it moderation) teachers bring this data, along with student evidence, to discuss next steps for their instruction. 

OTJ (Overall Teacher Judgement) Workshops:  These workshops were presented in 2014 and 2015 through the Consortium for Professional Learning. It was used as the platform for the PaCT (see below). However, I have talked with many educators who still use the ideas and strategies presented in these workshops (which are formative), but the PaCt receives limited use, depending on the school.

 Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (e-asTTle):

  • Online assessment tool, developed to assess students’ achievement and progress in reading, mathematics, writing.  
  • They are available in English and te reo Māori, but no other accommodations are listed.
  • Developed primarily for students in years 5–10, but because they test curriculum levels 2–6 they can be used for students in lower and higher year levels. The writing tool has been developed for students in years 1–10.
  • They are adaptive, and the teacher can make further adjustments to question types (multiple choice or open ended), difficulty level, and timing.
  • The test can be administered as needed, and generates various reports to inform instruction using norm-referenced data, cut-scores and NZ curriculum levels.
  • This assessment is free to all schools through the Ministry of Education.

Progressive achievement tests (PATs):

  • Standardized assessments, developed by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER). Student achievement is calculated on a scale score and reported in stanines leveled 1 – 9. I did not see any information about accommodations.
  • They assess students’ mathematics, listening comprehension (year 3 – 10), reading comprehension, reading vocabulary, and punctuation and grammar (year 4 – 10). They are timed (approx. 50 minutes) 
  • There are 8 static tests per subject, one for each year. Due to this, most schools usually give them at the beginning of the year. The online math test is adaptive.
  • Each test costs about $475 per 100 students.  
  • The NZCER also provides other fee-based assessments that some schools utilize. One of these is called STAR (Supplementary Tests of Achievement in Reading) which can be used for years 3 – 9. 

Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT):

  • Developed  to assist with OTJ and the New Zealand National Standards
  • An online data entry tool that captures detailed teacher judgments through the Learning Progressions frameworks in mathematics, reading and writing and recommends an overall judgment that a teacher confirms or reviews. 
  • Available for free through the Ministry of Education.


Here is an info-graphic of the New Zealand Curriculum, which isn’t an assessment, but is the framework for all schools in the country. This should be at the top (but it fit better down at the bottom). All educators I have interviewed find this document to be relative and useful. 

NZ infographic