This study is a collaboration between NZCER and the Educational Assessment Research Unit (EARU) of the University of Otago, on contract to the Ministry of Education. A team of NZCER people is involved, with the project leaders listed above. You can find out more, and read the latest reports from this study, on the NMSSA website.
The aim of NMSSA is to assess and understand student achievement. It shows what New Zealand students know, think, and can do, what they aspire to, and how they are realising their goals. It provides timely information and analysis to the Ministry of Education, the sector and the public on how well the educational system is delivering important educational outcomes.
NMSSA monitors nationally representative samples of students in Years 4 and 8 in English-medium schools, using a combination of group-administered tasks (involving 2000-4000 students) and individual tasks (600-800 students). These assessments will cover all learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum over a four year cycle, and address aspects of the key competencies.
The NMSSA study builds on the strengths of the previous National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP). What makes this study innovative and different from NEMP is that alongside the in-depth individual assessment tasks, there will be, for some of the learning areas, paper-and-pencil assessment of a greater sample of students through the group-administered tasks. The collection of contextual information to enhance our understanding of student achievement is another feature. Specific attention will be given to how Māori and Pasifika students are succeeding in English-medium schools and research will be conducted to better understand achievements among students with special learning needs.
While NZCER contributes to many aspects of the project, our main area of responsibility is the group-administered tasks.
In 2012 science and writing were the two learning areas assessed, followed by mathematics and health and physical education in 2013, and reading and social studies in 2014.