As part of NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) students take part in a mixture of external assessment (end of year exams) and internal assessments which are projects, practical work and other assessments across the whole year of learning.
The internal assessments go through a process of moderation. This means a teacher shares the work of their students along with the teacher’s assessment of the work with another teacher of the subject to get their feedback. The process helps to ensure consistency with the expectation of the assessment and that the assessment marks given are a fair reflection of the work presented by the student. For the Cook Islands we set up a system where, because in our smaller schools there may only be one teacher of a subject, this work is shared across schools,” a Ministry of Education spokesperson said.
“This sees teachers from Ararua College sharing work and feedback with teachers from Mangaia for example, or straight swaps between schools on Rarotonga. This work is very important to make sure all teachers maintain a high level of understanding on the standard expected and leads to many relevant and in-depth professional conversations to develop that shared understanding.
“After moderation, there is a process of external verification. This is organized by the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) and sees work being sent to New Zealand and the same process of checking the student work and teacher assessment against the standard happens again then. “
In the 2016 external verification, the following feedback was received for the Mathematics with Statistics work from Tereora College: “You will find the maths and stats moderation for this college is now complete with four standards moderated as Highly Confident with 8/8.” The feedback continued, “not many schools show evidence of a good understanding of the standard, but this school did”.
Cook Islands Maori received similar compliments from NZQA.
“In this subject area, many of our teachers are involved as the Cook Islands plays a leading role for NZQA in the programmes offered by New Zealand schools in Cook Islands Maori as well.”
The assessment facilitator at NZQA congratulated the teachers and ministry staff involved, saying: “Please pass on my congratulations to the teams who worked together to write the exams. The quality of the exams was a huge step up from previous years, and I did appreciate that everyone worked hard to submit them on time. Clearly the training and the collaborative work to produce common assessments has paid off, so thank you to all at the Ministry for setting that in place.”
The Ministry of Education was pleased to see teachers recognised by an international educational assessment agency, the spokesperson said.
“Not only does it give positive feedback to our teachers for all their efforts, but also builds on our aim of ensuring parents enjoy confidence in the quality of their child’s education”.