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Ensuring effective use of the literacy and numeracy assessment tool

Ensuring effective use of the literacy and numeracy assessment tool

Last updated 27 February 2017
Last updated 27 February 2017

We shared Assessment Tool usage data last year and had subsequent conversations with tertiary education organisations (TEOs). This showed that while most TEOs are using the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool as part of good teaching practice, there is still room for improvement across the sector.

Our focus for 2017 will be on ensuring the Assessment Tool is being used effectively, increasing progress assessment rates across the sector and ensuring greater use of the online adaptive Assessment Tool. 

"We need some tertiary education organisations (TEOs) to increase their use of the Assessment Tool, in particular progress assessments,” says Kathryn Hazlewood, our Principal Advisor Literacy and Numeracy (Acting).

“Progress assessments allow tutors, learners, TEOs and us to see learner and cohort progress made over time. This information is very important if we are to better understand learner outcomes and the impact we are having.”

David Do, our Literacy and Numeracy Advisor, adds, “For a small number of TEOs, we also need to see greater use of online adaptive Assessment Tool assessments as these are more accurate, adaptive to the learner's skill level, and provide immediate results for tutors and learners.” 

Below we outline what we are doing this year to ensure more effective use of the Assessment Tool, including:

  • updating the guidance and methodologies for calculating usage in the different funds
  • revising our expectations of the capabilities of foundation-level tutors
  • reviewing our approach to lifting sector literacy and numeracy teaching capability.

We will also be working with those TEOs who need to increase their use of the Assessment Tool and the online assessments. 

We have updated the Assessment Tool guidelines and usage methodologies

We have updated our Assessment Tool guidelines to support the effective use of the tool as part of good teaching practice. We have also updated how we calculate Assessment Tool usage. This update includes removing the exclusion of ESOL in how we calculate usage to reflect the availability of the online Starting Points options of the Assessment Tool. 

For SAC-funded provision, qualifications taught predominantly in Te Reo Māori are excluded from the Assessment Tool usage calculation. We will use qualification NZSCED 91502 to identify learners enrolled in these qualifications.  

We are planning to release usage data again for the 2016 Assessment Tool to TEOs in the next few months.  

Visit the Assessment Tool login page for more information and resources. The Assessment Tool Service Desk is also available by email at or phone: 04 381 4576. 

Our expectations for TEOs' literacy and numeracy teaching capability

In tandem with updating our Assessment Tool guidance to reflect new requirements in the 2017 funding mechanisms, we have revised our expectations of tutors' capability to embed literacy and numeracy in foundation-level provision.

We expect all TEOs to invest in the continual up-skilling and professional development of their workforce and to ensure their tutors:

  • have the base-level skills and knowledge required for a professional adult and tertiary teaching practitioner
  • hold appropriate qualifications relevant to the education they deliver, and
  • can demonstrate competency in embedding literacy and numeracy.

We are reviewing our approach to lifting sector literacy and numeracy teaching capability

We are reviewing our approach to supporting the sector to build its literacy and numeracy teaching capability. It is timely to re-assess our approach because:

  • the literacy and numeracy educational and policy context has evolved significantly since 2009, as have the needs of educators and TEOs
  • our approach needs to be strategic, sustainable and align to our Investment Approach work.

Our review will include sector feedback and some of you may be asked to participate. We will report key findings to the sector later in the year.

During the review period support for the sector will continue to be provided by:

The National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Symposium will not be held this year because of the review.

We are exploring other opportunities to communicate with the sector on literacy and numeracy topics and to help the sector share good practice. We will communicate these opportunities as they arise.