What the level 1 literacy standards mean for English language learners (ELLs)

Show information and resources for planning and implementation

This page outlines the two new literacy pathways for level 1 NCEA.

In response to the alignment of standards with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), two pathways have been developed to assess students’ literacy for a Level 1 NCEA Certificate. These can both be used by English language learners (ELLs).

Currently students can meet the Level 1 NCEA Literacy requirement in three ways - through English, Te Reo or specified Communication Skills standards, through the specified, literacy-tagged achievement standards, or through new Literacy unit standards.  These Literacy unit standards are also available to students in tertiary study.  From 2012 onwards, students will only be able to meet the Level 1 NCEA Literacy requirement through the literacy-tagged achievement standards, or the new Literacy unit standards. 

For the interests of ELLs at school, the ESOL teacher should be involved in monitoring the collection of evidence for the Literacy unit standards as well as the ESOL unit standards. ELLs who have not reached the literacy expectations of their cohort should be encouraged to continue their study of ESOL so that they receive specific language tuition and support of their learning in other subject areas.  ESOL study will also help the students’ achievement in the Literacy unit standards and ESOL unit standards.

Pathway One

The Level 1 achievement standard literacy pathway will be measured by achievement in specified standards that are levelled at curriculum level 6. This pathway would be appropriate for school students who are learning at Stage 4 of The English Language Learning Progressions. ELLs should also be supported to continue to develop English language proficiency, particularly in academic English, in their mainstream classes. These students should be monitored to ensure that they do not “fall through the cracks”.

Pathway Two

School students who are at Stage 3 of The English Language Learning Progressions could collect naturally occurring evidence from a range of sources throughout the year, to be measured against three specific Literacy unit standards.  The ESOL unit standards can play an important part, as evidence gathered in the assessment of these standards can also be used for the required evidence for the Literacy unit standards.

Students learning at earlier stages of The English Language Learning Progressions will take longer to achieve Level 1 literacy and can collect evidence over more than one year.

Students at the Foundation Stage and Stage 1 of The English Language Learning Progressions are by definition unable to achieve the literacy requirement.

No matter what their stage of English language learning is, ELLs students  can be assessed against ESOL unit standards. This is in addition to any literacy standards that the students in the higher stages can also be assessed against. While the ESOL unit standards do not count towards meeting the Level 1 NCEA literacy requirement, they do count towards credits for NCEA Certificates. There is a relationship between the ESOL unit standards and the stages of The English Language Learning Progressions, so that, for example, students learning at Stage 3 could be assessed against Level 3 ESOL unit standards and students learning at English Language Learning Progressions Stage 1 could be assessed at Level 1 ESOL unit standards.

Literacy and ESOL unit standards have differences and similarities. The Literacy unit standards require ‘naturally occurring evidence’ which may be collected throughout the year.  The ESOL unit standards have more specific performance criteria related to focused teaching of language. Both Literacy and ESOL unit standards can assess learning in contexts related to students’ learning across the curriculum. In the Literacy unit standards, evidence can be collected from the ESOL and English classes, as well as from other subjects e.g. PE, Economics.  The evidence for ESOL unit standards can be collected as naturally occurring evidence, for example as a portfolio, or assessed through specific and specially-written assessment activities, provided the specific requirements of the standard are adhered to.

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