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Criteria for choosing an assessment tool

Assessment tools in the tool selector are categorised by curriculum levels and sub-levels, and by year levels. Beyond this, there are a number of categories by which the tools are defined. The information in each of these categories is important in enabling you to judge the usefulness of the tool for your own purposes. The categories of information on each tool are detailed below.

Is it of NZ origin?

Assessment tools of New Zealand origin are likely to have been specifically-designed for New Zealand students and on the basis of the New Zealand curriculum. If the tool is standardised, the norms will have been calculated on New Zealand students.

Is it standardised?

In a standardised assessment, the content is set, the administration directions are prescribed and the scoring procedure is completely specified. There are norms against which we may compare the scores of the students being assessed. Standardised assessment tools enable the result for any student to be compared with the results for a normal sample of students. Information is provided for each tool on standardisation, and on the date of any norming where possible.

Is it designed to be administered with a group or an individual?

Most assessment tools that are designed to be administered with individual students will not be able to be easily used with a whole group at once.

What does it assess?

This details the specific assessment focus of each tool.

Purpose of the assessment?

Teachers need to know that an assessment tool is suitable for their particular purposes. Assessment purpose is often more comprehensive than just the assessment focus.

Is it a valid assessment?

Validity refers to the extent to which an assessment tool actually measures what it sets out to measure. Information is provided for each tool on whether the authors have considered issues of validity. To find out more about validity, visit the glossary or select "A Hitchhiker's Guide to Validity" at the top right of this page.

Is it a reliable assessment?

Reliability is the extent to which an assessment task is consistent in measuring what it sets out to measure; for example, the results from the same assessment can be repeated across time and situations, statistically expressed. Information is provided for each tool on whether the authors have considered issues of reliability. To find out more about reliability, visit the glossary or select "A Hitchhiker's Guide to Reliability" at the top right of this page.

What measures does it give?

Details are given on what measures are used to describe levels of achievement and progress, for example, curriculum levels, reading ages, standardised scores such as stanines or asTTle scale scores.

How long does it take to administer?

Where possible, there is information on how long a particular assessment takes for teachers and students. It is important that schools should be aware of this, as it affects the suitability of the tool, and the range of students with whom it can be administered.

How much training is needed?

Assessment tools are only as effective as the people using them. Proper training is essential, and some tools require more expertise than others.

Is it simple to score and analyse data?

Some assessments need time and training to score, particularly those involving the assessment of writing. Some tools produce analyses of data and reports once results have been entered into a data base, and others require data analysis by the teacher or the school.

Does it provide 'what next' strategies?

Some assessment tools provide resources, or access to resources, for teachers and students to use after they have determined gaps in learning from the assessment.

Is it available in te reo Maori?

There are a few tools available in te reo Maori.

Is there a cost?

The Ministry of Education provides some assessment tools free of charge, other tools are supplied by publishers at varying costs. Sample costs are provided here, as up to date as possible, but it is always advisable to check costs with the supplier.

Author, date of publication and publisher?

Details are given about the source of an assessment tool, and when it was published.

From where is it available?

For most tools, users are able to click straight into the website of the supplier.

Further information

Where applicable, detailed information is given about the administration and composition of the assessment itself.

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