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Upcoming changes to assessments at NZCER

Over the past year at Rangahau Mātauranga o Aotearoa | New Zealand Council for Educational Research, we have established a roadmap for PAT assessment refreshment and NZCER Assist enhancements.

In late 2021 we began a significant refresh of our PAT Mathematics and Reading Comprehension assessments. This is a project a long time coming, that sits firmly in line with our current strategic priorities:  

  • Improving equity for ākonga and equity in education 
  • Decolonising education 
  • Upholding mana Māori, whakamana Māori  
  • Influencing the future of education  

As this mahi progresses we are excited to reveal more detail about some of these refreshed assessments, a timeline for 2023, and a preview of what lies further ahead.  

Progressive Assessment Tests (PAT) refresh  

PAT Mathematics launching Term 1, 2023 

As the administrators of PATs and strong proponents of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, NZCER has a responsibility to ensure these assessments evolve and reflect all ākonga in Aotearoa. Currently, we are refreshing all PATs to ensure they do this – in particular, so that our tamariki Māori recognise their identity, places and culture in the design and content.  

We are doing this in a stepped process, beginning with PAT Mathematics. Some schools around Aotearoa are currently using a pilot of these materials, and we will introduce the online version of the new assessment to all schools for the beginning of term one next year. We anticipate offering the new PAT Mathematics assessments in paper-based format in late 2023. 

Previous versions of PAT Mathematics will remain supported for 2023, with a view to only the refreshed assessment being available from 2024 onwards in both online and paper-based format.  

This project has been generously supported by the Williams Foundation, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to them for committing to such important mahi.  


Te Reo Māori assessment tool expansion 

More stages, support and usability for secondary schools and non-schools

Our online assessment tool, Te Reo Māori, has seen significant (and increasing) use in schools and kura over the past few years. Aligned (but not analogous) to the New Zealand Curriculum, it is an adaptive assessment that can provide clear pathways for development of te reo Māori capability in a primary school setting.  

To date, this tool has been appropriate for use at approximately years 4 through to 9, but our refresh of Te Reo Māori will expand this greatly. We are adding new stages to the assessment, increasing its usability for secondary schools, while also improving supporting resources to enable non-educational organisations to make use of the tool.  

We are also excited to support growing interest in our te reo assessment with teacher training providers, and as an option for te reo professional development courses for educators across the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. 

These are big changes, but ones NZCER is incredibly proud to be introducing. We are enhancing schools’ capability to assess, report and grow te reo Māori use, while also ensuring all ākonga see themselves reflected in an assessment environment. 

NZCER Assist – our new platform for assessments, surveys, and reporting 

Many schools who previously used NZCER Marking to administer and report on their assessments and surveys will be familiar with this change, while for some this will be a new development. We have shifted to a new platform, NZCER Assist, with enhanced capabilities in terms of both delivery of and reporting on assessment and survey data.  

While this platform is intended as part of a digital-first approach to assessments, paper tests will continue to be available. We are looking at new ways to offer both online and paper-based assessment to support schools and ākonga. Over the last 12 months we have migrated historic PAT data from NZCER Marking to NZCER Assist for subscribed schools. This enables schools to access historic data as part of progress reporting for their PAT activity. 

For those schools and kura who have not used the NZCER Assist platform (but may or may not have used NZCER Marking), our Assessment Services team are on hand to support your continued or first-time use of this platform.  

Timelines and further updates 

We will provide more detail of these assessments – along with opportunities for schools to gain a deeper understanding of the PAT Mathematics refresh – throughout Term 4, 2022. In the meantime, please contact for any questions or concerns.