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email nmssa.earu@otago.ac.nz

Haere mai, welcome to the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement

About NMSSA | Principles and Intentions | The Methods

Assessing and understanding the achievement of primary school students across the New Zealand curriculum. The programme has been in operation since 2012, building on the strengths of NEMP (National Education Monitoring Project 1995-2010), and is a collaboration between the Educational Assessment Research Unit at the University of Otago, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research and the Ministry of Education.

The purpose of the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) is to get a broad picture of student achievement in New Zealand. It does this by assessing representative samples of New Zealand school students at successive points in time so that:

  • trends in educational performance can be identified and reported;
  • factors that influence student achievement can be identified and reported;
  • good information is available to assist policy makers, curriculum specialists and educators with their planning and
  • the public has more information about trends in educational achievement.
Principles and Intentions
Trustworthy information
to help both those involved in education and the general public to make informed judgments about educational outcomes.
Focus on two year levels
year 4 (age 8–9) and year 8 (age 12–13).
Focus on national growth in achievement over time
box National monitoring does not produce information about individual students, teachers or schools.
Recognises and takes full account of identity, language and culture
box There is focus on reporting on progress for key population groups of Mãori and Pasifika students, and students with special education needs.
Assessing a broad range of achievements
box A broad range of knowledge, skills, key competencies, literacy and numeracy, as included in the New Zealand Curriculum, are assessed.
Understanding students’ achievement
box As well as achievement data, the study collects information about motivation and attitudes, learning experiences and learning environments, from students, teachers and principals.
Involving practising teachers
box Teachers are involved in the development, trialling and administration of tasks, and in the marking of student responses.
Best assessment practices
box The best of existing assessment practices in our schools are used in the choice and design of assessment tasks.
Information used for improvement
  National monitoring provides information to assist policy makers and teachers to plan for greater achievement and success for all learners.
The Methods
200 schools are randomly selected to take part in national monitoring each year. In each school up to 25 students are selected to take part in the assessment programme With the support of trained teacher assessors, students work on tasks in three different ways:

  • Paper-and-pencil assessments and questionnaires about their learning experiences.
  • Performance tasks (independently and in groups of four).
  • Interview tasks, video-taped to enable detailed analysis.
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National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement
Educational Assessment Research Unit
157 Union St East
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Updated February 2021