A Day in the Life of a National Assessment Facilitator

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We often get asked what an average day is like for a National Assessment Facilitator, to which the only answer is – there is no such thing as an average day!

So, to give you an insight into the role, our current National Assessment Facilitators describe a “day in the life of…….”

Eng Lim Lawrey-Photo

Eng Lim Lawrey:

My day started with a stand-up meeting with the Digital Trials and Pilots Project Team. The daily stand-up meetings enable team members to catch up on where each person's work is at for the week, and take stock on what is urgent, as well as longer term planning. Later that morning, I talked to various National Assessment Facilitators and Editors to progress work on the Digital Trials.

This was followed by planning for an initial meeting with the examination developers for the following year's examination in the subject I have direct responsibility for. The examination developers are practising teachers. Meetings with teachers enable me to keep in touch with current school practices, and have the professional discussions to improve assessment outcomes for candidates.

In the afternoon, I assisted with training new examination developers at the Wellington Airport Conference Centre.

Alan Newall-Photo

Alan Newall:

A good part of my day was spent at the Wellington Airport Conference Centre, training new Panel Leaders. It was invigorating to work with others who want to get the assessments fair and valid for the candidates.

Once I got back to the office in the latter part of the afternoon, I checked the documentation describing the procedures and functions for markers to enter the results of marking on the web at the end of the year. I also answered queries emailed to NZQA from students and teachers, and planning for next year’s examinations with some of my colleagues.

Lyall Prestidge:

My day was really busy! Overnight we released the online assessment schedule for a level 1 Common Assessment Task. A great many teachers have phoned and emailed to ask where it can be found, and what its password is (it has none). Many have also contacted me for specific advice on the marking, but I forwarded these queries to the relevant subject expert.

Meanwhile, I was in contact with exam setting contractors for another subject, arranging the details of an early planning meeting for next year’s exam. Several exam markers emailed me asking for pre-approval to claim for travel to this year’s marking panels. I also signed off an exam paper to be sent for printing. This is a key moment, as no further editing is possible, and the paper must be in the best possible shape. We can sometimes be working on two years’ exam papers at the same time.

Kevin Hoar-Photo

Kevin Hoar:

I looked over each of the standards that I am responsible for to check that all markers have been given an appropriate allocation of examinations booklets to assess.

I discussed changes made to a Scholarship examination paper with the Editor and looked at the feasibility of placing the paper onto the electronic shared workspace so the Materials Critique could give feedback to the Examiner.

I worked with an assessment expert from a Pacific nation who we are hosting at NZQA.  We discussed how power point material for examination setting could be adapted to meet the needs of the Pacific nation’s contractors.

Finally, I had discussions with an Operations Officer about contractor flights and accommodation for the end of year marking round.

 Nehi Tukapua-Photo

 Nehi Tukapua:

“Ko te Amorangi ki mua ko te hāpai ō ki muri”

An early start in the office has me in numerous “spaces” and “places”.

I utilise this time to contact contractors for many queries; this could be, trying to organise dates for a meeting, or to discuss exam papers.

Being responsible for Te Reo Rangatira, Education for Sustainability and Latin subjects, I spend a lot of time communicating with contractors organising meetings, finalising contractors and trying to meet timelines that suite all involved.

As a team, this includes our Editors who are important to my day in the office.  

Their communication process, with contractors is to ensure these exam papers are fit for purpose. This may require me to have discussions with examiners where queries have been raised, or to sign off exam papers for print.

Finally, translations and Interpreters are my responsibility. This process is reviewed every year, by my team, based on feedback from Interpreters and Panel Leaders; always looking for improvement.

Naumai piki mai ki tōku paepae!

 Gill McLean-Photo

Gill McLean:

My day, as usual, was varied even though I was at my desk for most of it.

We started with a helpful professional development session run by colleagues to clarify the exam marking processes coming up soon, followed by good coffee with the team at a local café.

Through the day I was in touch with a variety of people, which is an enjoyable part of the job.

I contacted language verifiers to thank them for their work and to organise returning papers and grades to schools, publishing exemplars on the NZQA website, and reviewing next year’s Assessment Specifications. I answered queries from students and exam managers about the Scholarship Drama process, arranged travel to visit this year’s marking panels, and reviewed some suggestions from next year’s exam developers. I’m looking forward to meeting teachers involved in marking as well as supporting Panel Leaders in their work.

 Karen Scott-Photo

Karen Scott:

I started my day with an early flight to attend a meeting with exam developers in one of my subject areas, to plan for next year’s exam.  Later that afternoon I phoned a Panel Leader to finalise details of the marking timeline and allocation of scripts to the markers on the panel. I enjoy working with the subject specialists and the collaborative approach involved in both the exam setting and marking processes.  

I had quite a few emails to attend to, which I could do on my phone whilst out of the office.  I finished the day by reviewing a proposal from a specialist discussion group on possible alternatives for assessment of one standard in the future.



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