National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki

National Standards are being replaced.

The Ministry of Education is working with the Government on its policy to replace National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori with a new system that better acknowledges your child’s progress, and focuses more on developing their key competencies.

We will keep you informed about these changes as they progress. Your school will continue to report to you on your child’s progress and achievement.

What are National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki?

National Standards are going to be replaced

National Standards (for English medium schools) are the benchmark that primary and intermediate students are expected to be able to achieve in reading, writing and maths in Years 1-8.

Maori medium schools (where teaching is in at least 50 % Maori) use Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki to benchmark achievements in pānui (reading), kōrero (oral language), tuhituhi (writing) and pāngarau (mathematics).

National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki are sign-posts to show where a child is at in their learning and what they have to do next to progress.

Your child will start out working early at their year level with the goal being that they meet that year's standard by the end of the year.

Mid way through the year your child's school will report to you on how your child is doing. They will tell you if they are early in the year level, able to achieve parts of the standard, are on track to achieve the standard by the end of the year, and even if they've achieved that year's standard by mid year.

The end of year report will tell you where in the year level they are, whether they are close to or at the standard, or if they are working to the standard a year or even more above their year level.

Meeting the standards in years 1 to 8 means your child will have the reading, writing and maths skills to help them do well in secondary school and beyond.

What about subjects other than reading, writing and maths?

National Standards focus on reading, writing and maths as does Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki with the addition of oral language. Doing well in these subjects gives children the skills they need to do well in all other learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum. They also help children develop skills for living and for life-long learning.

These subjects are not taught in isolation but across the curriculum learning areas. For example, your child’s written summary of an arts project could form part of the teacher’s assessment of their writing skills.

The other learning areas are also taught in order to give your child a rounded education and prepare them for an interesting and successful life. 

What are National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki used for?

To help children to

  • focus on what they need to learn to reach a required skill level in reading, writing and maths
  • know what level they are at and know what they need to do next to progress.

To help parents to

  • understand clearly what reading, writing and maths skills are expected at each stage of their child’s education
  • know how well their child is doing and what they need to work on next
  • understand what the school is doing to help their child progress and what they can do at home
  • ask questions and have discussions with teachers that will help your child’s learning
  • improve their understanding of and confidence in the school and the wider education system.

To help schools and teachers to

  • plan and teach your child what they need to learn in reading, writing and maths to do well in all the areas of the curriculum
  • work out where your child is at, what their next learning steps are and set goals to achieve them
  • identify children falling behind and ensure they get support to improve
  • report clearly at least twice a year to you about your child’s progress and achievement in relation to the standards
  • see more clearly what national expectations are as they review their students’ progress and achievement.

To help the Government to

  • form a clear picture of overall literacy and numeracy achievement – from individual school level to regional and national level, and use this to help raise achievement for all learners
  • use data to support more powerful and focused working relationships between learners, parents, schools and teachers, and the Ministry of Education
  • target valuable support and learning resources to where they are most needed.

Do all schools have the same standards?

Yes. The same national standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki will be used by all New Zealand schools and kura with children in Years 1 to 8. Each school and kura must make sure standards are assessed and reported consistently across the whole school or kura. The Education Review Office (ERO) checks that each school and kura has systems in place that provide national consistency.

How will the teacher work out where my child is at?

There is not one set test to assess children. The teacher will track your child’s progress and achievement in reading, writing and maths (and oral language under Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki) throughout the school year, and across other areas of the curriculum. They already assess your child's progress in a variety of ways, such as:

  • using a range of formal tests and assessments
  • watching your child working in the classroom
  • talking with them about their learning
  • having children assess their own and each other’s work.

and use these to assess your child's reading, writing and maths against National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki.

Some children will need more time and support to work towards the expected standard. The teacher will work with you and your child to help your child achieve their learning goals.

How will I know how my child is doing?

Schools and kura are required to report in writing at least twice a year to students and their parents, families and whānau. They will report on your child’s progress and achievement in relation to the whole curriculum, and National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics or Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki in pānui (reading), kōrero (oral language), tuhituhi (writing) and pāngarau (mathematics). Schools and kura may choose to report these together or separately. How this is done is up to the school and will differ. 

The reports should help you understand if your child is working at the expected level for their age, what steps the school is taking, and what you can do to support your child's education. You can talk with your school or kura if you want to know more about their approach to reporting. You can also talk to the school or kura about what you would like to be included in school reports, as they are for parents and should provide you with the information you need to understand how your child is doing and how you can help.

What if my child needs extra help? Will they be assessed with everyone else?

If your child is new to learning English

The school may decide it would be more useful to report to you using The English Language Learning Progressions for the first 2 or 3 years. The Progressions describe reading, writing, and the speaking and listening expectations for children who are new to learning English. They also help your child’s teacher provide an appropriate teaching and learning programme so your child can make fast progress in these areas.

As your child’s achievement in reading and writing gets closer to the other children in their class, the school will report progress in reading and writing in relation to the National Standards.

The school will use the Mathematics Standards to report on your child’s maths progress and achievement. 

If your child has special education needs

National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki have been developed for all students in years 1 to 8, including those with special education needs. Children with very significant learning disabilities are also supported through an individual education plan. These plans are agreed in consultation with parents, families and whānau, teachers and the Ministry of Education.

For children with special education needs, the focus will be as much on the child’s progress, as on their achievement, in relation to the standards.

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