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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

National Standards and English language learners

The progress of all students need to be tracked in relation to  The New Zealand Curriculum document.

NZC Literacy National Standards and English language learners

Progress and achievement for English language learners (ELLs) in reading and writing will be reported to parents against National Standards. It is recommended that schools also assess and report the progress and achievement of ELLs in relation to the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP), as the Progressions provide a guide to typical language learning pathways for students learning English as an additional language. International students also need to be reported on in relation to National Standards.

For years 1–4 students

Students working within foundation stage and stage 1 of ELLP should be tracked and monitored, and have their progress reported to parents and students using the ELLP as well as in relation to the National Standards.

For years 5–8 students

Students working within foundation stage, stage 1, or stage 2 of ELLP should be tracked and monitored, and have their progress reported to parents and students using the ELLP as well as in relation to the National Standards.

As many English language learners will initially be below the expectations of National Standards, assessing progress in relation to the English Language Learning Progressions will help parents see that their child is making progress towards meeting the reading and writing standards. Teachers will be better able to support students' language learning and therefore English language learners will be more likely to make accelerated progress towards meeting the expectations of the National Standards.

Schools and teachers will need to decide whether to report each English language learner's progress and achievement using ELLP as well as in relation to the National Standards.

Further support

NZC Mathematics National Standards and ELLs

English language learners’ progress and achievement in mathematics will be reported in relation to the NZC mathematics standards for years 1–8.

Students learn mathematics through language and, to a great extent, display their knowledge and understanding of mathematics through language. Teachers need to be aware of their English language learners’ levels of English language proficiency and of the implications of this for how their students display their knowledge and understanding of mathematics.

Further advice can be found in:

Further National Standards ELLs advice

New Zealand Curriculum Online: National Standards

Tracking progress

English language learning progressions (ELLP) and National Standards

Schools that choose to use the English Language Learning Progressions as part of the National Standards tracking and reporting process will need to report students progress in all four language modes: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

For all English language learners in years 1–8 it is critical that the National Standards, which are signposts for age-appropriate achievement, are kept in view, and that the ELLP are viewed as a pathway towards meeting the expectations of the National Standards. It is crucial that English language learners are provided with the language learning support needed to enable them to access curriculum content at year-appropriate levels as soon as possible. To do this, they need to make more than one year’s progress every year in order to reach the changing levels of their native-speaking peer cohort.

See:  National Standards and ELLs fact sheet

Overall teacher judgments

Teachers draw on a variety of information from a range of sources, including assessment tools, learning conversations, and observations to place a student on the appropriate stages of  The English Language Learning Progressions matrices. Placing students on the ELLP matrices requires taking a best fit approach and making an overall teacher judgment (OTJ). The process of making an OTJ is similar for all students, but there are some important points of difference for ELLs.

When assessment tools that have been norm referenced for students whose first language is English are used with an ELL, the results may lead their teacher to make inappropriate judgments about aspects of the student’s ability, for example:

  • the student may be able to make inferences and draw conclusions from reading, but the unfamiliar vocabulary or context may prevent them from displaying this skill
  • the student’s performance in some tests might result in them being placed in lower levels or groups when they have the potential to work at a more advanced level.

Moderation of OTJs

In the process of moderation, teachers are sharing their understandings to improve the consistency of their decisions about student progress and achievement. In many schools, a classroom teacher and an ESOL teacher can work together to moderate their overall teacher judgments in relation to the ELLP stages. This is a valuable process as each professional brings different knowledge of and perspectives on a student.

Additional help for teachers

The  ELLP professional support modules support teachers to make OTJs using the ELLP matrices.

Other useful resources

Reporting progress and achievement

In addition to reporting in relation to National Standards it is recommended that teachers also report in relation to the ELLP stages (oral language, reading, and writing) for English language learners who have not yet achieved the standard. Using ELLP stages will show the student’s progress in learning the English language. Teachers should also report the learning areas and key competencies.

The ELLP matrices help teachers to determine an ELL’s current stage in learning English. Teachers may find it useful to use the ELLP matrices or exemplars as a source for specific comments and “next learning steps”.

Consider the following:

  • the student’s strengths
  • the student’s current learning goals
  • the student’s achievement and progress in relation to the reading and writing standards and the ELLP stages
  • the student’s achievements across the learning areas and evidence of developing key competencies
  • what the school will do to support the student’s learning
  • what parents, family, and whānau can do to support the student’s learning
  • other aspects of school involvement or service.

Reporting to parents – key messages

  • Schools must report to parents and whānau in plain language, in writing, at least twice a year.
  • Schools should carefully consider how they give information to the parents and families of English language learners.
  • The  ELLP nautilus shell diagram illustrates the relationships between the progress of ELLs in acquiring proficiency in English and the levels in the learning areas of the curriculum. It can be used for explaining the relationship to parents.
  • In some cases, you may need to get written or oral translations of reports so that parents are able to fully understand the information.
  • It may also be appropriate to provide an interpreter for parent conferences to ensure the parent can understand and respond to the information and/or participate in the conference. It is helpful if guardians can pass information on to the families of international students.
  • In order to ensure the school’s reporting processes are understood and acceptable, schools need to recognise the diversity of their family and whānau communities and engage in discussion with relevant groups. 
  • Schools may have groups of parents who would benefit from having important educational messages translated into their home languages.
  • Parents should always have opportunities to discuss and ask questions about their children’s learning. 

Translated materials for parents to support understanding of the National Standards

Further information for schools and teachers

Reporting National Standards ELLP data to the Ministry of Education

These documents will help schools report their school wide data to the Ministry of Education for English language learners when their progress and achievement is be reported using ELLP and National Standards.  

  • Planning and reporting guidance for schools using National Standards  
    Download the Charters, Analysis of Variance and Reporting Guidelines for Schools using National Standards. It provides suggestions and examples for how your school or kura can develop its charter, set targets, develop and report your analysis of variance, and report student progress and achievement information in relation to National Standards. The report includes advice for English language learners.
  • The English Language Learning Progressions reporting template can be used by your school to report further information about English language learner progress in relation to the English Language Learning Progressions for reading, writing, speaking or listening. The English Language Learning Progressions reporting template can be downloaded from the linked page.

Published on: 03 Jun 2015




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