A study of the use of School Entry Assessment (SEA) in schools

Publication Details

School Entry Assessment (SEA) is a tool designed to provide teachers with information about some of the knowledge and skills children have when they first begin school. SEA has been available for use in schools since 1997. In August 2001 a survey was undertaken to obtain an up-to-date picture of the extent to which new entrant teachers were using SEA, whether they were using the whole resource or only one or two of the three components, and whether they considered changes needed to be made to the SEA kit to improve its validity and usefulness. The report details the results from this survey.

Author(s): Sharon Dewar and Maree Telford, Research, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: 2003

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School Entry Assessment (SEA) is an assessment package which assesses some of the literacy and numeracy skills new entrant children have when they first begin school. It was first introduced in New Zealand schools in 1997.

In August 2001, a sample of schools was surveyed to determine the extent of SEA usage in schools and to obtain information which would inform any decision on whether changes may need to be made to one or more components of the SEA kit.

Questionnaires were completed by over 80 percent of the schools and 64 percent of the new entrant teachers surveyed.

Results showed that:

  • SEA was used in well over half (59%) of primary schools during 2001.
  • Twenty-eight percent of schools were not using SEA in 2001.
  • Only a third (31%) of schools were sending in SEA summary data to the Ministry of Education for analysis.
  • The majority (86%) of teachers using SEA in 2001 'always' used Concepts about Print when they assessed a child compared with just 46 percent who 'always' used Tell Me.
  • Teachers were more positive about using Concepts about Print than they were about using the other two SEA components.
  • The Tell Me component was generally considered to be time-consuming and difficult to administer.
  • As well as identifying positive aspects about SEA, two-thirds (67%) of new entrant teachers using SEA in 2001 felt that SEA needed to be updated or modified.
  • Teachers most often commented on ways in which Tell Me could be updated or modified.

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