To improve student learning in te reo Māori, assessment is best seen as an ongoing process that arises out of the relationship between teaching and learning – where the gathering and analysis of evidence, much of it of the moment, provides useful information on your students’ acquisition of te reo Māori. Through the gathering of such evidence, you will gain insights that will shape your practice, and your students will gain insights that will shape their learning.
In the curriculum guidelines, Te Aho Arataki, there are suggestions for possible learning and assessment activities for curriculum levels 1–2 and curriculum levels 3–4. In addition, there is helpful material collected online in Te Whakaipurangi Rauemi. This collection elaborates on some of the communicative tasks outlined in Tasks and activities, including cloze tasks, dycomm tasks, information transfer tasks, multi-choice tasks, strip stories, same-different tasks, dictocomps, listen-and-draw tasks, true-false-make it right tasks, and 4–3–2 tasks.
Ways to monitor progress, both informally and formally:
- Observe your students as they work on different communicative tasks and activities, individually, in pairs, or in groups, and assess their performance. Do they have the necessary vocabulary to communicate about number meaningfully? Is the language that they are using accurate? Can they formulate number-related questions? Can they work with classmates to communicate about number? Are they using language “chunks”, going beyond individual words to create meaning? (For more information about lexical chunks, see M. Lewis (2002), The Lexical Approach.) Do they transfer what they have learned into other areas? Do you apply your knowledge of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori to different areas of the curriculum, as a model for your students?
- Factor in to your Māori language programme formal assessment opportunities so that the students’ performance is measured by their doing tasks that are framed in authentic language learning contexts.
Using tasks to assess learning
You and your students could use any of the suggestions described in the Tasks and activities section to assess learning. Alternatively, the students could participate in a 4–3–2 task, where you give them four, then three, and then two minutes (or other appropriate amounts of time) to talk about a picture containing different numbers of objects and people.