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NCEA A Beginners Guide Chris Archer, National Facilitator - Secondary Music Some material adapted from Kay Hawk’s keynote address given at the National Secondary Schools Qualifications Conference at Massey University, 19/20 July 2004.
NCEA is: • Our national schools’ qualification • Standards-based assessment • Fully implemented • Not yet fully reviewed and revised • One part of the national assessment strategy
Why the Change to NCEA? • Dual assessment system • Little cohesion between Yrs 11 - 13 • Ranked percentage marks did not describe full scope of student performance • Built in failure - norm referenced • Small pool of national assessors • Low levels of student engagement in assessment dialogue • Formal examinations place students in unfamiliar assessment environments
Why the Change to NCEA? • More detailed information needed by employers • National curriculum statements not reflected in examination prescriptions or qualifications • Need for flexible course design and delivery to meet needs of students • Recognise and value teachers’ professionalism - planning and assessing • Unit standards - perceived lack of credibility
Summary: Need for a unified qualification system for secondary schools - • eliminate divide between examination awards and NQF qualifications • ensure both externally and internally assessed achievements are reported Need to: • cater for increasing diversity of community/economy needs in terms of qualifications • ensure as many students as possible have access to credible, usable qualifications
What are the mechanics of NCEA? • Standards based assessment • Three levels • Achievement and Unit Standards • New exchange system - credits from internal and external assessment • 80 credits per level gains certificate - 60 credits at level of certificate • Maximum 24 credits available per subject per level • Each student receives ROL in Jan
The Structure of a Standard Subject Reference Music 1.1 Title Perform contrasting music as a featured soloist Level 1 Credits 6 Assessment Internal Subfield Music Domain Making Music Registration Date 7 Nov 2003 This achievement standard involves the performance of contrasting music by a featured soloist. The performer may be an unaccompanied or accompanied soloist, or in a small group. Achievement Criteria Explanatory Notes . . . Quality Assurance . . .
Internal vs External Internal Assessment • 20% of internal standards in each subject area are externally moderated • Schools have internal moderation systems in place - quality assurance • A range of evidence can be gathered • Students can be re-assessed • Teachers create assessment activities or adapt MOE activities • Teachers as assessors
Internal vs External External Assessment • Variety of assessment procedures - portfolio submissions - end of year written examinations • Assessed by external markers NB: L1 and 2 Vis Arts have external verification system • rigorous process in place for development of external exams
MOE vs NZQA MOE responsible for: • The achievement standards • Teacher PD • Resource development • Standards review NZQA responsible for: • Registration of standards on NQF • External assessment • External moderation • Quality assurance
Assessment practices underpinning NCEA: • Assessment of learning (summative) and • Assessment for learning (formative)
Assessment of Learning Methods must be: • Appropriate • Fair • Integrated with work or learning • Manageable
Assessment for Learning Is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where they need to go and how best to get there.
Assessment for Learning Is assessment practice that sets students up with the tools they need to succeed rather than trying to catch them out on what they don’t know.
Assessment for Learning Includes: • Providing planning and assessment information early • Having clear learning outcomes • Making the relevance of these clear • Ensuring the assessment tasks are appropriate • Providing students with choices about content, context and how achievement is demonstrated
Assessment for Learning Includes: • Having full and clear criteria students can understand • Using exemplars with the criteria • Teaching students to self-assess • Encouraging peer discussion (using criteria) but not evaluation
Some issues are not new e.g. • Some students will take two years to achieve Level One (School Certificate) • The invalid use of league tables to compare schools • The abuse by some schools of national systems and of students • Problems with some exam papers
NCEA has challenged: • Curriculum experts to decide what standards and what constitutes them • Reference to the curriculum levels • What evidence schools need to keep
Endorsement of NCEA: • The PPTA Principals’ Council • SPANZ • The Universities • ATOL facilitators in secondary schools • ERO (onsite: N=25 schools; surveys: N=125 schools) • NZCER “Learning Curves” second report (2004)
Critics of NCEA: • Individual writers/journalists • Metro • North and South • Some boys’ schools • Some independent and high decile schools • Warwick Elley
Critics have strong feelings: abysmal totalitarian cut-throat backstabbing bizarre smashed brain death disaster devastated counterfeit faddish theory nightmare
Some criticisms are: • Inaccurate • Misleading • Possible in theory but not a reality • Based on concepts of learning that have little support • Irrelevant to assessment • Apply to all types of assessment
Problems that can be fixed: • We are over-assessing • Some schools are not using the flexibility this system allows • The number of credits has been overemphasised • Parents and many contributing school teachers are not well informed • We need to know what employers really think • Some moderation issues • The perceived inequality of unit and achievement standards
Observations in the field: • Student achievement data are being used to inform decisions • An increase in confidence to make professional judgements • There is some shift towards a wider range of assessment tasks • Poor practice is being shown up • Students can see progress more easily • Some students are having achievement acknowledged for the first time
Observations in the field: • There is more clarity about learning outcomes • Students are better informed about assessments and feel more ownership of the process • Formative assessment practices have increased • Programmes designed to meet student needs, interest and motivation • Consideration given to student pathways - learning for life!
Observations in the field: • Clearer learning outcomes for Yr 9 and 10 and focused planning • Effective networking and peer support • Dissemination of information is greatly improved
NCEA (more than any other initiative) has: • Brought secondary assessment practice closer to that of the contributing schools • Ensured all teachers are refreshed in their curriculum knowledge and assessment practice • Provided detailed data for each subject area to make informed teaching decisions • Resulted in more formative practice and less ‘testing’
NCEA (more than any other initiative) has: • Involved students activity in their own learning and assessment • Resulted in teachers working together more and in departments/ faculties being more organised • Forced schools to set up sound systems and monitor them • Provided for different student learning styles and needs
The NCEA is not: internationally recognised and respected for its ability to equally recognise and value all learning, whether leading toward vocational or tertiary focused pathways or a combination of both. now has a bi-culturally developed national qualifications system, where indigenous knowledge and skills, te reo Maori, & Maori learning contexts hold equal validity and value to all other learning and learning contexts. Many nations are understandably envious of such an outcome.