Frequently asked questions

Online Assessment of Literacy and Numeracy Unit Standards 2016 trial and 2017 pilot: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These questions and answers have been developed in response to queries from schools, and will be frequently updated. If you have a query please email future.state@nzqa.govt.nz.

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Available standards

Q. What standards are available for the online Literacy and Numeracy trial and pilot assessments?

A. The standards being trialled in 2016 and piloted in 2017 for online assessment are:

  1. Unit Standard 26623: Use number to solve problems
  2. Unit Standards 26624: Read texts with understanding.

There are no achievement standards involved in the online trial or pilot.

Online assessment dates

Q. When are expressions of interest to participate in the online assessments due?

A. Expressions of interest (for both the 2016 trial and the 2017 pilot) for organisations to participate in either or both online assessments are due to NZQA by Friday, 23 September 2016.

Please email your Expression of Interest (PDF, 95KB) to future.state@nzqa.govt.nz

Q. When is the literacy and numeracy online assessment trial?

A. The literacy and numeracy online assessment trial will be held between 10-24 October 2016.

Q. When is the literacy and numeracy online assessment pilot?

A. The literacy and numeracy online assessment pilot will be held between 23 March - 13 April 2017.

During the online assessments

Q. How long will the online assessments take to complete?

A. Students will have up to 45 minutes to complete each assessment.  

The time it takes to complete an assessment also depends on the Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) function (see General Information).

Q. Can students take the assessment at different times?

A. We recommend that the assessments are taken by a cohort of students simultaneously as they will require adequate supervision. Organisations may, however, have whole groups/classes of students take the assessment at different times during the trial and pilot period if they wish.

Q. Will all of my students sit the same tasks?

A. Not exactly. The assessment platform draws on an item bank (containing approximately 100 items for each of the literacy and the numeracy item banks) to create the student’s assessment. Learnings from the 2016 trial assessments will inform the item bank for the 2017 pilot assessments.

Students will receive a number of items during the assessment, some of which may be the same and some of which may differ from other students.

General information

Q. How will the online assessment of standards be assessed?

A. The platform being used for the online literacy and numeracy assessments includes Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) capability. This means that the assessment will adapt to the ability level of the student completing it, and assess them accordingly against the approved benchmarking programmed within the platform.

For example, out of a total of 40 questions that may be presented to the student during their assessment, if the student answers ‘X’ amount of questions incorrectly, the platform can identify the student as being “below” the benchmark and the assessment will end.

The results from the assessments will still be provided to teachers (in a marking capacity) who will decide whether the student has “achieved” or “not achieved” the standard.

Q. What is the difference between trials and pilots?

A. A “trial” is considered to be a practice assessment that does not count towards a student’s NCEA. In this case it is used to calibrate the assessment items. A “pilot” is considered to be an assessment where a student can gain credits towards their NCEA.

Q. The unit standards for both the literacy and numeracy assessments do not currently allow for a one-off assessment. How can we use the online assessment and still meet the requirements of the standard?

A. Unit standards 26623 and 26624 will be amended to include a condition enabling assessment using this online assessment tool.

Organisations will be able to choose between using the online assessment tool as well as the collection of naturally occurring evidence to best suit them.

Opting in and out

Q. Who can participate in this trial and/or pilot?

A. Any education organisation that has consent to assess against the standards being included in the trial and pilot can participate.

Q. Does our organisation have to do both the literacy and the numeracy standard to participate in the trial and/or pilot?

A. No. You can choose to do either or both standards. This applies to the 2016 trial and the 2017 pilot.

Q. Do all of the students in my class need to be involved in the trial and/or pilot?

A. No. You can choose to assess some students using the online assessment and others via the current process of collecting naturally occurring evidence if you prefer.

NZQA encourages you to include as many students as possible in the trial and/or pilot assessments though, particularly for the trial assessment.

The more students involved in the trial assessment, the better we can calibrate the assessment items which will inform the 2017 pilot assessment item banks. These findings will also help to develop the benchmarking for the 2017 pilot assessments.

Q. Is there a minimum or maximum number of students who can participate in the trial and/or pilot?

A. There is no minimum or maximum number of students who can participate in the trial and/or the pilot.

Approximately 1500 students are required to trial each of the literacy and numeracy assessments in order to be able to calibrate the assessment items which will inform the 2017 pilot assessment item banks. These findings will also help to develop the benchmarking for the 2017 pilot assessments.

It is preferred that a minimum of 15 students per organisation participate in the trial if available, however we will still include organisations that want to participate in the trial with fewer students.

The maximum number of students is only dependent on your organisation’s resources and capacity.

Q. Do the same group of students have to participate in both the online trial and pilot assessments?

A. No. We recommend you have your year 10 students participate in the 2016 trial assessment, as they will then have experienced an online assessment and can be better prepared to participate in the 2017 pilot assessment, from which they can gain credits towards their NCEA.

Q. How does a student and/or education organisation opt out of either the trial or the pilot?

A. Please email FutureState@nzqa.govt.nz with the changes to numbers or your opting out request.

Post-online assessments

Q. As NZQA is developing an online assessment for the literacy and numeracy unit standards (26623 & 26624), can education organisations now develop their own one-off assessments?

A. No. The online assessment is intended to provide teachers/tutors with robust evidence on which to base an overall decision on whether to award the standard.

The online assessment items will be psychometrically tested prior to including them in the 2016 trial assessment to ensure they are at the level of the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy required to achieve the unit standard.

Preparation for online assessments

Q. Are there ways we can prepare students for the assessment, in particular ESOL students who require a known context?

A. We recommend you have your year 10 students participate in the 2016 trial assessment, as they will then have experienced an online assessment and can be better prepared to participate in the 2017 pilot assessment, from which they can gain credits towards their NCEA.

We cannot provide information on the contexts the assessments will cover. The contexts, however, are designed to appeal to the target audience these particular standards currently assess.

Please note that the literacy (reading) assessment requires students to have a reading vocabulary as defined at step/koru 4 of the “Read with Understanding” strand of the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.

With regard to ESOL students, there is currently no additional preparation required or provided for the online assessments.

Technical requirements

Q. What browsers can be used for the assessments?

While the assessments should perform in any browser, for optimal usability please use the latest versions of Chrome or Safari.

Q. What devices can be used for the assessment?

The minimum device specification is:

  • 7.9" iPad mini (1024x768px) +
  • 8" Android tablet (1024x768px) +
  • Chrome book (1366x768px) +

The recommended device is a larger tablet (larger than 768px)

  • 10" iPad
  • 10" Android tablet
  • Surface (1366x768px) + - noting that Explorer browser is not optimal for the IT platform tool.
  • Laptop or Desktop
 
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