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PAT: Punctuation and Grammar

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About PAT: Punctuation & Grammar

This test for Years 4-10 assesses student ability to recognise and use grammar and punctuation. It is a useful new addition to the NZCER suite of literacy assessments.

You can watch a short introduction video on PAT: Punctuation and Grammar. 


  • Designed for Year 4–10 students
  • Multiple-choice for easy, accurate marking
  • Questions are aligned with the Literacy Learning Progressions and
  • Fall into three categories: punctuation, grammar use, and grammar knowledge
  • Able to be reported using scale scores or stanines
  • Seven tests of varying difficulty, which can be administered simultaneously
  • Able to be hand-marked or marked in NZCER Assist
  • Able to track progress from year to year

Key feature: the teacher manual gives recommendations and information about reporting student results and about using the results for further teaching and learning.

It is based on the PAT-SPG test published by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and was modified by NZCER for New Zealand use.

Why is it important to assess punctuation and grammar?

Punctuation and grammar play vital roles in conveying the meaning of written text.  The New Zealand Curriculum places meaning at the heart of reading and writing. PAT: Punctuation and Grammar is not a return to prescriptive teaching – rather the emphasis is on the use of punctuation and grammar in context and as tools to communicate meaning. The questions assess the skills students need in order to make meaning as they read, to write meaningful texts, and to understand the patterns of standard New Zealand English.  The questions are aligned with the The Literacy Learning Progressions.

The results will help you assess whether your students are meeting the reading and writing demands of The New Zealand Curriculum. These results will help you determine how well your students are developing a body of knowledge about how language works.

Read more about PAT: Punctuation and Grammar

Test components

The teacher manual contains everything you need to know about the test: its purpose; its content (especially in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum and The Literacy Learning Progressions); instructions on administering and marking the tests; and useful recommendations such as how to report and use student results, and how to communicate these results to students and their whānau.

A technical section takes you through the development of the test and includes details on the construction of the PAT: Punctuation and Grammar scale.  

As in other PATs, Part C of the manual provides all the conversion tables, student reports and scale descriptions. Teachers will find the scale descriptions particularly useful for further teaching and learning, especially when used alongside the student reports.

The student test booklets contain the test questions.  Students do not write in these booklets, so they can be used multiple times.

Students use a printed answer sheet. Teachers can mark each test by hand and complete an Individual Student Report for each student. Alternatively, tests can be submitted through NZCER Assist. 

Ordering paper tests

Tests can only be purchased by schools, registered teachers, or parents/caregivers of homeschooled children with a current exemption certificate. 

If you can't shop for tests online you can download the order form and email to

Find out more information on pricing and testing online.

A presentation for teachers

Are you interested in running a session on the importance of teaching and assessing punctuation and grammar at your school? We've put together a presentation that you can download and present to your staff. It includes detailed talking points and optional activities (you can download below) to run in conjunction with the presentation.