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National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA)

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New study coming in 2023

A new curriculum insights and progress study is getting underway in 2023. It will build on NMSSA and will be an important part of our uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand system for understanding how learners are progressing and achieving across primary schooling in relation to the refreshed New Zealand Curriculum. The NMSSA website will be updated throughout 2023 with information about the new study.


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. 

You can find out more, and read all of the reports from this study, on the NMSSA website.

The aim of NMSSA is to assess and understand student achievement. It shows what New Zealand primary school 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, for some of the learning areas, there will be, 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.

 NMSSA reports released

  • 2018 Mathematics and Statistics and Social Studies
  • 2012 Science and Writing
  • 2017 Health, PE and Science
  • 2014 Reading and Social Studies in 2014 2013 Mathematics and Health and Physical Education


National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) project publications: