NMSSA 2019 English: Multimodal texts and critical literacy Publications
This report is designed to support the teaching of English in primary and intermediate classrooms. It draws on insights generated from the assessment of the English learning area by the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) in 2019. The report focuses on critical literacy and working with multimodal texts within the making meaning strand of the English learning area.
This report is organised into two parts.
- Part 1 briefly introduces NMSSA and the NMSSA assessment of the making meaning strand.
- Part 2 presents insights about teaching and learning associated with critical literacy across reading, writing and viewing in English.
Author(s): Educational Assessment Research Unit and New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
Date Published: June 2021
This Insight report focuses on making meaning of multimodal texts and on critical literacy in the English learning area.
Why focus on multimodal texts?
According to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) (Ministry of Education, 2007):
English is the study, use and enjoyment of the English language and its literature, communicated orally, visually and in writing for a range of purposes and audiences in a variety of text forms (p. 18).
It also states that, through the English learning area:
Students appreciate and enjoy texts in all their forms (p. 18).
In previous years, reading, listening and viewing as part of NMSSA were assessed separately. However, most texts in today’s world are multimodal. To use these texts, students need the capacity to not only make meaning of words, images and sound, but to interpret how these modalities and their different elements are combined for certain purposes. It is therefore important that we assess for these capacities. The NMSSA English assessment enables us to do this, and so to report on students’ capacity to make meaning of multimodal texts.
Why focus on critical literacy?
The NZC states that in the English learning area students will 'learn to deconstruct and critically analyse text' (p. 18) and show an understanding of 'how texts are shaped for different purposes and audiences' (NZC fold-out charts). In previous years, NMSSA assessments of reading, listening, and viewing included a focus on critical thinking but did not have an explicit focus on critical literacy. In the 2019 NMSSA English assessment, we have developed a small number of new items to address this gap. The second insight in this report presents our findings about students’ capacity to critically analyse text.
Making meaning in English involves using information from different modailities.
Making meaning in English involves critically analysing text - not just taking it at face value.
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