PaCT pilot launched

Issue: Volume 93, Number 20

Posted: 10 November 2014
Reference #: 1H9csJ

The Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) has been launched in schools this term with a pilot of the mathematics version.

The pilot is the final step in user-testing the tool to identify areas that need fine-tuning and ensure the support materials and resources meet the needs of school leaders, teachers, and administrators.

The PaCT is designed to support teacher judgements on student progress and achievement in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum’s National Standards.

Its frameworks break down and illustrate aspects of mathematics, reading, and writing. Its ‘engine’ captures judgements on the aspects and recommends an overall judgement that a teacher can confirm or review.

The mathematics, reading, and writing versions of the tool will be available in 2015 and schools that are interested in using the tool can contact for information.

Development of the PaCT has been underway for several years. It started in 2011 as a Ministry of Education-led initiative to improve the consistency of teacher judgements in relation to National Standards.

Teachers, school leaders, and research, technical, and curriculum experts have worked on the project. New Zealand curriculum experts developed the frameworks and illustrations, using The New Zealand Curriculum, the National Standards, the Literacy Learning Progressions, and the Numeracy Project.

The result of all this work is a tool that has a wider application than improving the dependability of teacher judgments, says Associate Deputy Secretary Lesley Hoskin.

“The frameworks and illustrations are a useful resource for teachers in their own right and they will help to inform student-centred assessment for learning.

“The frameworks are a principal feature of the PaCT. They break down mathematics, reading, and writing into different aspects and illustrate the steps of learning in each area. The frameworks give teachers a clearer picture of these areas of The New Zealand Curriculum and prompt teachers to consider what students know and can do across the breadth of these areas.

“The frameworks support moderation discussions with colleagues, by providing common tools for those discussions.

“They will also help teachers give specific and constructive feedback on student progress and achievement. For example, a teacher will be able to show student progress in aspects of mathematics, reading and writing, whether that student is below, at or above the standard, and point to aspects where a student is progressing well or needs more support.”

Lesley says that one of the most exciting aspects of the PaCT is the illustrations.

“The steps of learning are linked to sets of illustrations.

There are over 400 illustrations of New Zealand students in New Zealand schools working on reading, writing and mathematics tasks, showing how learning progresses through reading, writing and mathematics. They are fantastic.”

“They support teachers in making dependable judgements about where children are at in their learning, and show examples of where their learning should take them to next. They help to give teachers confidence that judgements based on professional knowledge and a range of classroom activities, including standardised tests, are valid.

“The online ‘engine’ of the PaCT is a psychometric calibration that helps teachers with the dilemma many face when making overall judgements on students who achieve highly in some aspects of mathematics, reading and writing but not in others.”

Over time, the PaCT will help teachers track student and class progress and make decisions about how to improve students’ learning. School leaders and boards of trustees will have more consistent and dependable information to base decisions to track progress and plan for the future.

Lesley says that to get the best from the PaCT, the Ministry recommends that schools plan and prepare for implementation and allow time to get to know the tool.

“Pilot schools were given access to a training version of the PaCT last term so that teachers could practice making judgements and familiarise themselves with the system. Online training for school administrators was available in the last week of the holidays and the first week of term.”

She suggested that schools interested in using the tool talk with, or meet with, representatives from the Ministry. The PaCT director, Rose Cole, is getting out and talking to as many people as possible.

“Rose has a background in early childhood education, and her roles at the Ministry have included implementing key funding and regulatory policies in early childhood education, working as private secretary for Ministers of Education, and most recently, working as IT product manager and change manager on the Early Learning Information (ELI) system project development and deployment.

“She is looking forward to getting out and showing the PaCT to school leaders, teachers and Boards of trustees, so they can see the opportunities that PaCT provides.”

If you would like more information about the PaCT contact the PaCT programme or visit the PaCT pages on the TKI website(external link)

A guide to the PaCT

The PaCT has two parts:

Frameworks that break down and illustrate aspects of maths, reading and writing.
An online tool that captures teachers’ judgements on aspects of mathematics, reading, and writing and recommends an overall teacher judgement, which a teacher can change or confirm.

The PaCT frameworks are divided into a number of aspects with each aspect focused on a different part of reading, writing, and mathematics. There are seven to eight aspects in each learning area and each aspect is represented by four to eight sets of illustrations. Student learning is not linear and neither are the progressions depicted by the sets of illustrations.

The illustrations describe students working on a range of problems and tasks in a variety of contexts. Each set of illustrations has been selected to represent a stage of progress and achievement. Teachers select the set of illustrations for each aspect that best resemble or represent a student’s level of achievement.

The engine of the tool is a psychometric calibration that translates judgements on the aspects of each area into a PaCT score range, and links that to a recommended overall judgment. A teacher can confirm or review the recommended overall judgement.
The PaCT will show individual and class reports. The class reports allow teachers to reflect on a rage of judgements they have made about their students.

What the PaCT isn't

The PaCT doesn’t make judgements. Teachers make judgements on student achievement, using their professional knowledge and information gathered through a range of assessment activities. The PaCT supports teachers to draw multiple judgements together to form an overall judgement across the breadth of learning and achievement indicated by the curriculum standards.

The illustrations in the tool are not designed to be used as tests. They show examples of
New Zealand students in New Zealand schools working on reading, writing, and mathematics tasks. They prompt teachers to consider a range of aspects in reading, writing, and mathematics, and the evidence they have as they make judgements about a student’s learning and achievement.

The tool can’t measure teacher performance; it is designed to support teachers as they make their professional judgements about their students’ learning and achievement.
The PaCT is not mandatory. Use of the PaCT is voluntary. There will be a data use agreement between the school and the Ministry. This is likely to be similar to the agreement for e-asTTLe.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:49 pm, 10 November 2014

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts