He Whakaaro: What can the NMSSA tell us about student progress and achievement?

Publication Details

This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper highlights findings across the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) from the first cycle of the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA).

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: December 2018


By looking at the difference in achievement between students at Year 4 and those at Year 8, we can estimate the amount of progress that occurs between those year levels. The findings are useful for distinguishing how achievement and progress towards meeting curriculum expectations differ across the curriculum learning areas.

Key Findings

Progress is too slow between Year 4 and Year 8: The results indicate that in most learning areas a greater proportion of Year 4 students than Year 8 students achieve at expected curriculum levels, which suggests not enough progress is made between Year 4 and Year 8 to meet the demands of level 4 of the curriculum by the end of Year 8.

Better progress is being made in some learning areas: For example, while most students (85%) were at expected curriculum levels in Science at Year 4, only 19% were by Year 8. In contrast, almost the same proportion of Year 4 and Year 8 students were at the expected level in English: Reading (58% and 59%).

Satisfactory progress can still result in unsatisfactory achievement: Even where progress from Year 4 to Year 8 matches the pace expected by the curriculum, if students were not meeting the expected level in Year 4, they will often still not be meeting the expected level in Year 8. They would need to progress faster than the pace of the curriculum to catch up.

Achievement and progress are both important
measures of success for students in school.

Contact Us

Education Data Requests
If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
Email:      Requests EDK
Phone:    +64 4 463 8065