Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 14, Issue 2, Article 7 (Dec., 2013)

Assessing New Zealand high school science: Considerations for teachers’ assessment literacy

Previous Contents Next


Quality assessment is an integral part of good teaching practice and teachers need to know what to focus on in order to ensure their assessment of student learning is accurate and useful for the student’s ongoing learning and development. The identification of five focus areas for teachers to use when considering their assessment practice enables both technical and sociocultural aspects of assessment to be acknowledged and valued.

By focussing on teaching, science teachers in New Zealand are able to consider the content carefully, decide on how best to integrate this with the nature of science and with engaging contexts, so as to inspire and motivate students to learn. A focus on the students themselves allows teachers to tailor their programmes more appropriately and to plan assessment tasks that are more likely to intersect with the interests of their students. The evidence of learning needs to be a focus for science teachers in New Zealand, as this evidence is generated by their students in response to tasks they design. Matching students’ strengths to the design of tasks allows students to better show their learning. Consideration by teachers of the future decision-making made by teachers and students motivates a careful approach to assessment. Similarly a focus on the potential impacts that assessment can have on students helps teachers be more aware of the diversity in their classes and to be responsive to this.

When considering the complexity of teaching science to a wide range of students and then assessing their learning in meaningful and authentic ways, particularly in a system such as the one in New Zealand, having a framework to direct teachers’ focus is useful. The focus area approach helps teachers maintain a balance between formative and summative purposes for assessment, and it is hoped that their reflection on these areas will encourage the ongoing building of assessment literacy. 


Copyright (C) 2013 HKIEd APFSLT. Volume 14, Issue 2, Article 7 (Dec., 2013). All Rights Reserved.