The power of e-asTTle in a classroom

Issue: Volume 101, Number 14

Posted: 1 November 2022
Reference #: 1HAXav

Te Waotu School talk to Education Gazette about their Assessment for Learning and e-asTTle journey.

Me hoe tahi i runga i te whakaaro kotahi | Let us work together as one.  

Ākonga in the Junior Room at Te Waotu School.

Ākonga in the Junior Room at Te Waotu School.

Across the broad spectrum of education, using professional tools to support practice is an investment in continued improvement. When it comes to teaching, using assessment tools to support improved pedagogy is no different.   

Ryves Hunt, principal of Te Waotu School in rural South Waikato, describes how the school embarked on their Assessment for Learning (AfL) professional development seven and a half years ago. 

“I’ll be honest, I’d dabbled with the e-asTTle previously, but I had viewed it as a summative tool – it wasn’t until
Te Waotu School that the potential and the value of e-asTTle became apparent to me.

“When we got the whole school on board with Assessment for Learning, we decided to introduce e-asTTle in alignment with student agency, in our efforts to create assessment-literate learners. The tool helped support our teachers with their judgements and next steps –
and became an important part of the creation of individual, class-wide, and schoolwide goals.” 

Te Waotu School kaiako have conversations about data.

Te Waotu School kaiako have conversations about data.

What is e-asTTle? 

The electronic assessment Tool for Teaching and learning (e-asTTle) is an online assessment tool developed to assess students’ achievement and progress in reading, mathematics, writing, and in pānui, pāngarau, and tuhituhi.  

The reading and mathematics assessments have been developed primarily for ākonga in Years 5–10, but because they test curriculum levels 2–6 they can be used for ākonga in lower and higher year levels. The e-asTTle writing tool can be used as one of the assessment sources for ākonga in Years 1–10. 

The tool is designed to provide reliable and valid assessment information for teachers and students which can be used to enhance and support teaching and learning. 

A major role in e-asTTle for teachers is to maximise students’ motivation to engage keenly with assessment. If any student is less than fully engaged in the test, the results for that student may be less reliable.  

For e-asTTle to be reliable, assessment needs to be a collaborative endeavour between the teacher and the student, where both want to determine what the student knows, and what might be learnt next. 

Students who are involved in their learning can be thought of as assessment-capable (or active learners), central to the theory of Assessment for Learning (AfL). 

What makes Te Waotu School successful? 

Ryves believes Te Waotu School staff have worked hard in the last five years to implement Assessment for Learning pedagogy schoolwide.

He says e-asTTle was an instrumental part in helping teachers identify and target needs, confirm their overall teacher judgements, and create assessment-literate students.

The biggest impact, he adds, is students being more active in their learning process – and that sharing the responsibility for learning develops students who can articulate their personal progress, and know what being successful with learning looks like. 

“In creating active learners, we shifted the focus of assessment control from solely teacher-ownership, towards involving students. That provided a common language about what learning should look like. 

“As they grew motivated to understand and use their own assessment information, students would routinely reflect on where they’re at. These days, learners will ask about their assessment and discuss, so they can see their own progress. Nearly every child at Te Waotu School can tell you what they are learning, and why they are learning it.” 

e-asTTle and teaching 

The e-asTTle tool is part of a whole range of mechanisms teachers need to notice, recognise and respond to students’ learning. It can support teachers to understand the impact they are having, offer clarity about what is learnt/taught, and facilitate data discussions to help share understanding and improve teacher practice.  

“e-asTTle has helped our school target needs, and we’ve come to rely on the tool as part of supporting decisions around teaching and achievement,” says Ryves. 

“We’ve used the data to strengthen our school and target teaching/learning at the individual, class and school level.

“Effective use of the tool has come from having conversations to achieve clarity around administration excellence and consistency, ensuring adequate time between assessments, and shared moderation of results. This in turn has allowed us to have assessment-literate teachers who can support students to routinely reflect about their progress and achievement.” 

Now confident in their position, Te Waotu School has become an example of success, often showcasing their learning walls, learning or modelling books, and their use of e-asTTle – parts of a whole combination of supports to create learner’s agency. 

The learning wall at Te Waotu School.

The learning wall at Te Waotu School.

e-asTTle at home  

Over the past few years, the ongoing disruption by Covid-19 across Aotearoa included challenges for the professional learning and development (PLD) support for e-asTTle. 

Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education has worked closely with Evaluation Associates, their e-asTTle PLD provider, to provide resources to support schools, teachers and whānau with the adjustment for students to learn from home.  

Resources include a printable PDF booklet, a slideshow, and a webinar (which was made publicly available on the Ministry’s website).

The content also has advice, considerations for testing, practical support, and guidance on how the data should be used and interpreted.

To access the resource, visit link)

Looking ahead 

Assessment should be valid, fair, and suited to the purpose. It should measure student progression, not just achievement.  

The Ministry of Education is working to strengthen e-asTTle in teaching, learning and assessment for progressions, and to align with the refresh of The New Zealand Curriculum, and the Literacy & Communication and Maths Strategy. 

For more information on e-asTTle and mana-enhancing assessment for ākonga and whānau, visit link). 

For more information on PLD opportunities, visit link).


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 1:53 pm, 1 November 2022

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