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NEMP study shows primary students making progress

NEMP study shows primary students making progress

Making steady progress may sound like a report writer’s cliché, but latest National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) assessment results in science, visual arts and graphs, tables and maps show students are doing exactly this as they move from the middle to the upper levels of primary school.

NEMP is undertaken for the Ministry of Education by the Educational Assessment Research Unit at Otago University. In 2003 it involved the assessment of more than 2,800 Year 4 (ages 8-9) and Year 8 (ages 12-13) students from 254 schools.

Senior manager of Learning Policy Frameworks, Steve Benson says NEMP provides the Ministry and schools with system-wide information on student achievement across all the learning areas in primary education. It informs teaching practice and policy such as the revision of the New Zealand curriculum statements which is currently underway.

“Overall, the results are positive and are evidence of the hard work that is going on in schools. However NEMP has again indicated that although students are improving their ability to do similar tasks as they progress from Year 4 to Year 8 they are not doing so well at tasks with more intellectual challenge, such as analysis,” said Mr Benson.

“The latest science results show children displaying a greater ability to do hands-on experimentation tasks. However, students did not perform as well in planning experimental work.

“Across all three curriculum areas assessed, NEMP found the most challenging tasks were those which asked students to justify and fully explain their answers,” said Mr Benson.

It also found that between Year 4 and Year 8:

students’ ability to interpret, construct and complete graphs, tables and maps increases substantially. Students in both Year 4 and Year 8 were least successful in providing titles and appropriate labels for axes and values, seeming to believe that it was sufficient to display the data. the mean scores for all making and responding to art tasks show an overall improvement. However, students were much stronger on creating art than critically responding to works of art.

Over time NEMP has found:

little change in overall science performance and students’ ability to make art between 1995 and 2003 a decline in year 4 students’ ability to critically respond to art between 1999 and 2003 little change in overall performance on graphs, tables and maps tasks, at either year level from 1995 to 2003.

The NEMP reports are prepared by the Educational Assessment Research Unit, University of Otago, under the direction of Lester Flockton and Professor Terry Crooks, under contract to the Ministry of Education.

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