PLD supported trial of the early learning practice and progress tools (Kōwhiti Whakapae) Publications
This page contains reports about the trial of draft tools to support formative assessment in early learning (Kōwhiti Whakapae). Four of these reports are authored by the University of Waikato and report on the evaluation of the trial. The fifth report is authored by CORE Education and focuses on the PLD component of the trial.
Author(s): Amanda Bateman, Melissa Derby, Hoana McMillan, Raella Kahuroa, Linda Mitchell, and Bronwen Cowie, Wilf Malcolm Institute, University of Waikato
Date Published: August 2022
The Ministry of Education began work in 2020 to develop a suite of resources to support formative assessment and intentional teaching in early learning. The draft resource is called Kōwhiti Whakapae and is intended to help kaiako to notice and recognise patterns in children’s progress and to respond through effective teacher practices that support children to grow and expand their capabilities (progress). The overall framing and first draft tool (in social emotional learning) were trialled between October 2021 – June 2022.
The evaluation of the trial found that Kōwhiti Whakapae has potential to support significant shifts in kaiako practice, including the use of new teaching strategies and engaging in enriched conversations about learning with colleagues and with children’s whānau. Many kaiako found Kōwhiti Whakapae helped them to reflect on their teaching and identify areas of their practice they may need to strengthen and adjust to better support children’s continued progress. However, kaiako also raised a range of concerns about the tools, including the potential for misuse (e.g., used as checklists), and perceptions that the progressions are overly linear with a focus on development that seems to conflict with sociocultural theory. Kaiako found the structure of the four books and some of the content was overly complex and, while some used the information gained from Kōwhiti Whakapae to enrich their narrative assessments, many kaiako viewed the tools as providing ‘stand-alone’ assessments. The evaluators considered that participants’ wide range of qualifications and prior experience is likely to have contributed to the diversity of views reported. Feedback from the PLD component of the trial suggests that greater focus on what learning and progression entails is also needed.
Please note that the draft Kōwhiti Whakapae is not publicly available. This is because substantial PLD support was needed to unpack the draft content. This PLD support was provided as part of the trial, which is now completed.
Where to from here?
Findings from the trial are informing further development of Kōwhiti Whakapae. Following the trial, the Ministry considers that changes are needed to the structure, content and language to help kaiako at all levels:
- better understand progress in terms of specific capabilites that grow and expand within broader learning aligned to Te Whāriki,
- use information about children’s growing capabilites to enrich formative assessment, and
- understand how formative assessment connects to and informs local curriculum design.
To achieve these changes, the Ministry intends to revise the content and language, and shift to an online approach that illustrates:
- more explicit alignment of Kōwhiti Whakapae to the language and theoretical underpinnings of Te Whāriki
- progress as expanding (breadth and depth) as well as forward.
- relationship between growing capabilities in specific areas and broader holistic learning and development.
- how contextualised information from the tools can be used to inform formative assessments.
- key concepts such as intentional teaching and local curriculum design, and how these can be supported by Kōwhiti Whakapae.
- better integration of practice and progress elements (including the culture, language and identify practices).
- links to related resources and examples.
Further engagement with the sector
Now that this first trial is completed, the Ministry intends to establish further avenues for engagement with the sector to progress this work. Information about opportunities for stakeholder engagement will be shared through the Early Learning Bulletin and the Ministry’s Facebook page.
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