New Zealand Assessment Institute established

Issue: Volume 97, Number 4

Posted: 12 March 2018
Reference #: 1H9hqZ

A new organisation aims to bridge communication gaps across the sector.

Student learning and assessment is about to be enhanced through shared expertise and partnerships across the education sector.

The New Zealand Assessment Institute (NZAI), initiated by Dr Jenny Poskitt (Massey University) and Michael Absolum (Director of Evaluation Associates), seeks to facilitate closer links and shared understanding between:

  • policy makers (Minister and Ministry of Education)
  • those who might influence policy (researchers, professional development providers, consultants and the like)
  • schools. 

Drawing on her experience as a primary school teacher, parent, researcher, university lecturer and member of numerous national advisory groups, Jenny was prompted to set up a mechanism for strengthening productive relationships across the education sector.

She aimed to enhance assessment capability and develop more relevant assessment.

Jenny partnered with another assessment advocate, Michael Absolum, a highly regarded professional development provider in educational assessment and author of influential assessment publications for teachers, to form NZAI.

The purpose of NZAI is to support students and classroom teachers by building productive partnerships and quality assessment across the education system. It is a member-led organisation that fosters collaborative sharing amongst educators, leaders, professional development providers, researchers and policy makers interested in and responsible for assessment practice, policy or research.

Members share experiences and ideas, discuss and debate assessment matters, and develop and/or extend expertise related to assessment. Stronger connections between research, policy and practice will enhance system understanding and capability in educational assessment.

Why now? Internationally and nationally, we have new opportunities in assessment. There is growing interest, internationally, in assessing progress in student learning as well as finding ways to measure contemporary skills and knowledge required for life and employment. The current review of NCEA and schools no longer being required to report National Standards results to parents and the Ministry, create opportunities for new conversations, thinking and assessment processes.

We need to value what works from the past and develop new ways of understanding the impact of curriculum and other influences on learning. Collectively we plan to work together to broaden and deepen understandings, and develop innovative assessment approaches to inform learning and teaching programmes, and ascertain impact.   

NZAI is committed to:

  • Tiriti o Waitangi partnership
  • learning and wellbeing throughout the education system
  • promoting accurate, high quality and usable assessment information
  • promoting equity.

A website is under development and periodic regional seminars are planned. The first of the seminars will take place in April 2018 in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. These informative and interactive seminars are open to all teachers and other educationalists with interests in assessment.

There will be thought-provoking presentations from emerging and well-known experts in New Zealand assessment, along with interactive workshops by local school personnel sharing effective practices in assessment. Opportunities will be provided to network with other teachers, schools and representatives across the education sector.  

More information about NZAI and the April 2018 seminars(external link)

More information about assessment(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 12 March 2018

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