Managing National Assessment Report. Hamilton Christian School

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1 Managing National Assessment Report 2014 Hamilton Christian School

2 Managing National Assessment Report Hamilton Christian School Introduction The purpose of the Managing National Assessment (MNA) external review is: to help schools achieve valid, fair, accurate and consistent internal assessment according to the requirements of the Assessment (including Examination) Rules for Schools with Consent to Assess 2014 (Assessment Rules); and in combination with the most recent Education Review Office report, to ensure that schools are meeting the requirements of the Consent to Assess Against Standards on the Directory of Assessment Standards Rules 2011 and its Guidelines (CAAS Guidelines) in order to maintain their consent to assess. This process is a partnership between schools and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to ensure that assessment systems remain effective and internal assessment decisions are valid. The MNA review has two components: 1. The annual external moderation of assessment materials for an NZQA-selected sample of internally assessed standards across the curriculum and teacher grade judgements on the student work identified by the school s randomselection process. 2. An external review of each school s assessment systems at least once every four years. This report summarises NZQA s evaluation of how effectively: senior management has addressed issues identified during the previous MNA review on 29 September 2011 the school manages assessment for national qualifications the school manages internal and external moderation the school manages and makes use of assessment-related data the school maintains the currency of assessment policy and procedures, and communicates them to staff, students and families. In preparing this report, the School Relationship Manager (SRM) met with the Principal s Nominee (PN) and teachers of English, History, Music and Science. The PN provided pre-review information and assessment procedure documents along with course assessment statements and pre-review information from the teachers interviewed. A covering letter from the Principal contained his views on the management of national assessment at the school. There was a report-back session with the Principal and the PN at the end of the visit to highlight strengths and weaknesses, with suggested strategies for good practice and to agree on recommended actions. 2

3 2011 Managing National Assessment Report (CAAS Guidelines 3v) Evidence was sought that action items in the previous MNA report have been effectively addressed. While all of the items in the 2011 report have been actioned, one requires further attention. Assessment Practice (CAAS Guidelines 2.5v-vii, 2.6, 3v) How does the school s assessment practice allow for the effective management of assessment for national qualifications? Assessment procedures From discussions with staff and their written comments provided for the visit it is evident that the school s procedures for managing national assessment are well understood and are being consistently applied across subjects. These include further assessment, resubmission and missed and late assessments. However, during one interview it was clarified with the teacher that Not Achieved is the result for a student who has been given a reasonable opportunity for assessment and then avoids, or does not submit work for this. The PN mentors staff new to the school, including beginning teachers, and is readily available to all staff for advice about assessment procedures, which are also topics of discussion in the regularly held secondary team meetings. Gathering evidence of achievement Formal discrete assessment events are the main strategy used by teachers to gather valid evidence of achievement. Wider evidence gathering techniques shared included the annotation of draft student work and using tasks that require crafting of evidence over time to identify and authenticate valid evidence of achievement during the teaching and learning process. One teacher shared how a student s Drama presentation was adapted and used as evidence of assessment for an English achievement standard. Teachers interviewed discussed appropriate ways to manage authenticity in their different subject areas and how they build an understanding of the capabilities of their students. The coaching of students in Years 9 and 10 equips them with strategies for presenting authentic work when they start being assessed for national qualifications. Meeting students assessment needs Students are encouraged and supported in their progress toward qualifications and awards, through courses in and beyond the classroom. Examples of this include: dual enrolment with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu and use of outside providers for students to access areas of learning not available at the school increasing subject availability through combined classes in some areas monitoring student achievement so that there is conferencing and individual education plans to mentor those at risk of not achieving their potential a programme for identified students to gain NCEA Level 2 over two years courses which reflect the school s special character, including the development and assessment of the leadership skills of senior students in the context of their work with students in the junior school additional tutoring offered at lunch times or after school. 3

4 The PN intends to investigate the value of accessing additional teaching and learning programmes through a distance learning network. It is evident that the school provides its senior students with a variety of opportunities in which to learn and demonstrate achievement. Special assessment conditions The PN manages applications for students eligible for entitlement to special assessment conditions. There are two applicants for 2014 and teachers of these students are well informed so that any conditions approved for external examinations will be available for internal assessments. Derived grades For the 2013 external assessment, the school submitted one derived grade application. The school s administration of this application and the procedure to derive the grade submitted were audited and found to meet NZQA requirements. The school expects that all subjects use quality assured assessments and that a sample of grades are verified. It was agreed that a quality assurance procedure is needed for the school to be confident that all grades available for derived grade applications or as emergency grades, are valid. Examination centre The external examinations are well managed with quality assistance provided by the PN and staff. Procedures are in place to ensure the delivery of special assessment conditions, to accommodate late entries or candidates from other schools and to monitor candidate absence. Numeracy and literacy In 2013, all Year 11 students met the requirements for NCEA Level 1 numeracy and literacy through the achievement standard pathway. If needed, the school is aware of the value of assessing students against the Work and Study Skills unit standards and is well placed for portfolio evidence to be gathered across subjects or from student work and assessment prior to Year 11. Identified action NZQA and senior management agree on the following action to improve the management of assessment for national qualifications. Senior management undertakes to: implement a quality assurance procedure to ensure that grades available for derived grade applications and as emergency grades, are valid. Moderation (CAAS Guidelines 2.6, 3v) How effectively does school internal and external moderation assure assessment quality? Internal moderation processes The school s expectations and procedures for teachers to engage in sound internal moderation practice are well-established and it was evident from interviews that teachers comply with this process. Their practice is well-documented using an Internal Moderation Cover Sheet and is underpinned by the effective collaborative support of colleagues, including meetings to plan and review assessments and to share exemplars of student work. Grades are recorded in markbooks as interim until grade verification is complete. In those areas where another subject expert is not available in the school, teachers have established links with colleagues in other schools. Teachers spoke of the importance of continuing to seek professional assistance outside the school to develop confidence in assessing those levels or standards with which they are less 4

5 familiar. Teachers shared that management supports them to engage in professional development and this includes their attendance at Best Practice Workshops. Audit of internal moderation processes Teachers submit a completed copy of an Internal Moderation Cover Sheet to the PN for each internally assessed standard. This allows the PN to check and monitor their practice and ensures that results reported to NZQA are credible and represent the work of more than one person. A Moderation Check Sheet is an effective tool used by the PN through the year to track this process and to record the teacher in charge and the verifier for each standard assessed. External moderation procedures On the return of materials from external moderation, teachers are required to complete a Response to External Moderation report. The follow-up procedure is well documented and effective, with the PN identifying, discussing and assisting in resolving issues that arise from moderation. This ensures that improvement in teacher practice is on-going and, where a verifier is a subject expert from outside the school, the PN intends to encourage that the outcomes of external moderation are also communicated to them. External moderation The most recent moderation round was November 2013 and 18 standards were selected. Work for all standards assessed was submitted as required and the majority of the assessment tasks were approved for future use and did not require modification. This, and the high rate of agreement between moderator and assessors decisions, is evidence that the school s internal moderation practice is robust and effective. Random selection Student work for external moderation is randomly selected in accordance with NZQA s requirements. The head of each learning area is responsible for the storage of student work to ensure that it is available should it be required for external moderation. Identified action No action was identified to improve the school s internal and external moderation to assure assessment quality. Data (CAAS Guidelines 2.6, 2.7) How effectively does the school manage and make use of assessment-related data? Accuracy of assessment-related data The school has processes to check that the results they submit to NZQA are correct. Areas identified for improvement are to ensure that all courses intended for endorsement are created in the school s student management system, and that entries for which there is no result reported are limited to unexpected circumstances. Management is confident that their review of entries and results procedures and the expertise of a newly appointed data manager will ensure the accuracy of this data. Use of assessment-related data Subject reports are compiled each term on student progress, results, expectations and goals for management and the Board of Trustees. Teachers are asked to summarise and comment on their subject results each year and to review their courses and the Education Committee analyses and discusses these to inform self-review. While this is a thorough process, it was agreed that for more effective review, a structured format for reporting will give consistency to the information provided between subjects each year and over time. Management 5

6 recognised how this would also contribute meaningfully to the school s staff performance appraisal process. Learner s login This facility assists students to track their progress and can provide an additional check for the school about the timeliness and accuracy of results reported. Senior students are coached in the use of their login and almost all register for, and use their Learner login. Privacy and password security The school has effectively engaged with the Education Sector Authentication and Authorisation process so that teachers have ongoing access to the range of NZQA generated data and statistical reports that are available through the school s NZQA website login. Identified action NZQA and senior management agree on the following action to improve the management and use of assessment-related data. Senior management undertakes to: ensure that all courses intended for endorsement are created limit entries for which there is no result reported to unexpected circumstances develop a structured format for subject reports to management. Communication (CAAS Guidelines 2.4i, 2.6, 3v) How effectively does the school maintain the currency of assessment policy and procedures, and communicate them to staff, students and families? Communication of policies and procedures to staff, students and their families The following documents were provided for this visit: Hamilton Christian School Assessment Policy HCS Staff Handbook 2014 Parent Handbook 2014 Expectations - student handout Assessment statements for four subject areas. The School s assessment policy is reviewed bi-annually and the PN is responsible for its implementation. The documents for staff and for parents are clearly formatted and in general give thorough and accurate guidance. Students obtain information from the Parent Handbook, supplementary hand outs and in discussion with teachers and the PN. It was agreed that some information that is fundamental to assessment for national qualifications is yet to be published in both documents. These include the circumstances for reporting Not Achieved, the provisions of the Privacy Act regarding the privacy of results, and derived grades, which has replaced compassionate consideration. Also agreed, was that all information for students should be available to them in one setting. Suggestions and a checklist were provided at the time of the visit to assist the school to review the placement, accuracy and completeness of information provided in their documentation. The PN communicates regularly with staff about assessment practice as appropriate through the year. Staff spoken to feel that they are being clearly informed, directed and assisted through communication, staff and team meetings and the day-to- 6

7 day availability of the PN. This allows any issues that arise to be clarified or addressed in a timely manner. There are a range of methods of communication with parents including designated documents, newsletters, , phone calls and report meetings. Management expects that pending improvements to the school s website and intranet facility will enhance the school s capacity for effective communication. Student progress toward qualifications is well tracked and supported and their achievement is formally acknowledged by the school. The school is intending to provide an avenue for student feedback about their teaching, learning and assessment programmes and ways to implement this were discussed during the visit. Assessment statements Each subject has adopted the use of a common template for assessment statements to publish the required information about standards to be assessed. These documents provide students with clear and full information about their assessment programmes. Identified action NZQA and senior management agree on the following action to maintain the currency of assessment policy and procedures, and communicate them to staff, students and families. Senior management undertakes to: review the placement, accuracy and completeness of assessment procedure information. 7

8 Summary Hamilton Christian School is commended for the way assessment practice is managed and for the capacity it has established to conduct and maintain credible assessment for national qualifications. The school is responsive in working with NZQA and provides clear guidance and support for teachers to carry out their professional responsibilities for conducting internal assessment. Teachers respond positively to this so that internally assessed results are only reported to NZQA once internal moderation is completed and any changes required by NZQA moderators are put in place. Teachers develop a useful understanding of the capabilities of their students and the school seeks to provide opportunities and programmes that meet their needs and for them to be successful in gaining national qualifications. Results data is used effectively to identify those students in need of further guidance, and for teachers to review their courses. Reflective practice is purposefully undertaken by staff for ongoing improvement and the actions items in this report will assist this process. The PN is experienced in the role, leads teachers with confidence and works proactively to ensure that procedures for managing national assessment are wellunderstood and consistently applied. She is fully supported by the Principal. The 2013 Managing National Assessment review identified no significant issues that prevent the school from meeting the requirements of the Consent to Assess Against Standards on the Directory of Assessment Standards Rules 2011 and its Guidelines. Based on the outcome of this assessment systems check, it is anticipated that the next Managing National Assessment review will be conducted within three years. Ian Munro Manager School Quality Assurance and Liaison 12 May

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