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Reflections from the 2021 Teacher Assessors

The Teacher Assessors of 2021 were a fantastic team. They joined us in Wellington for a week of training, then travelled from school to school, working with students to collect achievement information.

When they had finished working with us, we asked them to reflect. We asked about their experiences of training week and their work in schools. They were overwhelmingly positive. Many mentioned how interesting it was to work so closely with a range of students. They also described what they had learnt about assessment, and the insights they were taking back to their schools.

Here’s some of the things they said.

Abi Huston

Year 7-8 Teacher, Christchurch

"I found it so interesting that children are the same no matter the school. Some struggled and some flew. It was very similar in most schools. …. Most of the children were so excited to be part of this ‘special group’ that they worked so well. The activities were super engaging so it wasn’t a hard sell for me.

The programme was so great. I really learned a lot and identified lots of gaps in my own school programme that I’m going to try hard to fill. I really enjoyed the binary numbers task as did the children doing it. The year 4’s loved the bee-bot and I was really impressed with the way the children who hadn’t done it before picked up the skills.

This has been such a fantastic experience for me. I’ve loved going into different schools and seeing how they operate. You can pick the culture of a school up in the first five minutes! I’ve loved working with a huge group of different children and personalities. There’s never a dull moment and I really enjoyed the busyness of the job."

Deb Ferrier-Kerr

Year 3-4 Teacher, Wellington

"I feel that these tasks have been beautifully constructed to get the children thinking and not only showing what they know but also sharing their ideas and giving an opinion about the different subjects. This was also a comment from the students themselves – they enjoyed having a voice and being heard. This is something I will take back to my own classroom.

Having worked on creating some of the music tasks I have been impressed by the architecture of tasks – how the NMSSA staff have taken our ideas and constructed the tasks. I feel that they allow the children to share in the assessment rather than having it ‘done to them’. They are empowering activities. As a teacher these examples are useful when considering the different aspects of the curriculum and how you can structure assessment to help children build on and share their ideas.

It is great to spend one on one time with students and really explore their thinking. I am always surprised by what comes out the minute I assume something. Often a student might have a poor view of what they could achieve and watching the reactions as they found out that they knew more than they thought was great."

Kat Dale

Relief teacher, Hamilton

"Being part of this programme has been valuable PD for me. It has deepened my understanding in all three learning areas and exposed me to different types of rich learning tasks which I can, in turn, apply to a range of concepts. It has also shown me how easy it would be to integrate aspects of these learning areas into other parts of my own learning programme. It’s an example of when you know good practice in theory but in the busyness of chalkface reality, you just don’t have the capacity to do it credit - now I think I can. 

The programme is well structured and engaging, with a range of thoughtfully designed tasks that appeal to students. Feedback was always positive and I even had students intercepting me in the playground to find out if they could get called up again in the next block! I think they particularly enjoyed the one-on-one interviews and felt “lucky” to have been chosen."

Rachel McKay

Relief teacher, Bay of Plenty

"The best experience was us all being together at the same venue [for Training Week], where all food was provided and able to discuss what we were learning and learn about each others teaching experiences. The positives were seeing us all learning together, an excellent group of Trainees willing to take on the challenge.

At every school I have been to so far before lockdown hit, the kids have all absolutely loved the programme! They enjoyed all the tasks, and especially watching the video clips. The Robot dog was a popular one!

The feedback from the children has all been positive. The tasks really got them thinking well and really trying hard to answer all the questions...not one moan! It has shown me the importance of really giving children exciting and relevant video clips and hands-on activities where they have had to give an opinion and what they think and say, really matters. They weren’t being judged, just doing something fun and important in a non-threatening situation.

What have I learnt? Being organised, being patient, be flexible,  learn from your mistakes and enjoy the whole experience of going into lots of different schools, meeting lots of different kids and teachers."

Mary Brady

Specialist Teacher of Art, Dunedin

"My professional takeaways?

  • A reminder of the need to have good understanding and be covering all strands in the curriculum areas.
  • The need for quality professional development in the Arts Curriculum.
  • Keep explicitly teaching the elements and principles of Visual Art and continue to ensure coverage of the strands. 

Delightful moments

  • It’s in all the small interactions with students: children greeting you in the playground each day and pleased to see you.  
  • Kids wanting to come back again.  Kids desperate to help you move your suitcases around the school and to your car. 
  • The hilarious responses to tasks and moments of connection."
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