2019 Maths Innovation Trial

This Innovation Trial developed prototype items for an NCEA Maths digital exam (Level 1 Mathematics, AS 91028; investigate relationships between tables, equations and graphs) which teachers trialled with their students. It used free software (Desmos) which is relatively common in schools. The focus was on algebra and formulae and featured visual and animation elements.

The trial aimed to give us a better understanding of how the digital platform could improve student accessibility to a maths assessment.

Students from four schools responded to a survey on their trial experience. The digital features they liked included how the visual and animation aspects helped explain the scenario. They liked the graphing and seeing the graph changes when their input changed. 

Their views were mixed as to whether it was easy and intuitive to use; it often depended on their familiarity with the software. Writing formulae using digital tools like the Desmos mathematics editor, rather than a stylus on a touchscreen was a challenge for some students.

Though teachers were mainly positive about the experience, some students and teachers said the questions required higher than normal literacy and the formatting of the questions could have been improved. This should be read in the context the questions developed were prototypes of possible questions and not subject to the usual quality assurance processes.   

This Innovation Trial is part of NZQA’s wider commitment to exploring how digital assessment, and new ways of eliciting what a student understands and can show, could support equitable NCEA outcomes for Māori and Pacific students.   

NZQA completed two further Maths Innovation Trials in 2020 to test other requirements for digital platforms including calculus and statistics (See Digital Statistics and Maths (Calculus) on this page).

Accessibility and usabilityDigital firstAdaptability 

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