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A number of NZCER staff contribute to our blogs and we link to and draw on external expertise. We hope it is a useful source of information, ideas and support about NZCER's work and wider educational and assessment issues. We welcome your questions and comments.

Please refer to the NZCER community guidelines for participation on NZCER blog posts.

When people want to emphasise how important it is to succeed, or to get something right, they say “Failure is not an option”. Avoiding failure seems like a good idea because it’s so often a horrible experience - for us and sometimes also for anyone depending on our success. But in some fields of work, and in certain situations, failure actually is an option. 

Date posted: 8 December 2015

People in different fields of work – like GPs, carpenters, engineering technicians, and health and community support workers - have different relationships with the idea of failure and the making of mistakes. This has really struck me when doing research on learning in workplaces.

Date posted: 4 December 2015

Are you a "game-curious" teacher?

In October we convened our first games for learning project meet-and-greet with around a dozen game-curious primary, intermediate, and secondary teachers in Wellington.

Date posted: 4 November 2015

At this time of year I’m remembering the questions we used to have in our school about the PATs - ‘Term 4 is coming up  - what week shall we do the PATs  in?’  ‘Have we got enough Test 3s for the Year 5s?’  ‘When’s the BOT report due - we need to have it sorted by then?’.  You know those conversations I’m sure.

Date posted: 25 September 2015

Improving learning means improving teaching - how can you use the data you gather for a teaching inquiry to improve teaching?  After all, even though you may have a lot of teaching going on in your school, education is about learning and if there is no learning going on then there is no education.

Read rest of post: What improves learning?
Date posted: 10 September 2015

Meet the research team...

Welcome to the first update blog for NZCER's games for learning project. We're well into the scoping  phase of the project and here's what we've been working on:


Date posted: 7 September 2015

As Term 3 starts, you are probably getting ready to start gathering student achievement data. Not only will you want to use this data to measure the impact of the changes to teaching and learning you’ve made this year, but you may also want it to become the basis for your next focused inquiry.  

Date posted: 28 July 2015

When I was a principal I confess we only ever assessed using the recommended test for each year group and we measured progress by the stanine. We had no idea the tests were designed to give teachers rich, descriptive information about the level of the curriculum each student is working in, and, what their next steps should be.

Date posted: 18 November 2014

I was working with a school recently and left them feeling good about using STAR because they had found out about a whole lot of new ways to use the data. As one teacher said, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’.  They suggested I get this information out there, so here goes.

Question #1: Did you know you can choose any test for any child?

Date posted: 6 November 2014

The PAT scale score is very useful when describing achievement and progress.

Read rest of post: More about scale scores
Date posted: 4 June 2014