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 informally:
- Observe the students as they work on different communicative tasks and activities, individually, in pairs, or in groups, and assess their performance. Are they spontaneously using te reo Māori in real-life contexts? Are they using the correct adjectives to describe things? Are they using the indefinite article “he” at the beginning of descriptive phrases and sentences? Do they have correct intonation and pronunciation when they are communicating about celebrations? What degree of fluency do they have? Do they have the necessary vocabulary to communicate meaningfully about celebrations? Is the language that they are using accurate? Can they ask others about their age, birthday, and birthplace? Can they act on your instructions? Can they work with classmates to negotiate a communicative task? Can they convey a negative, for example, about their dislikes? Do they initiate kōrero in te reo Māori?
- 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, for example, celebrating events.
Using tasks to assess learning
You and your students could use any of the communicative language tasks described in the Tasks and activities section, to assess learning. For example, the students could:
- rewrite a story such as the one in the Ngā Kete Kōrero book Te Rā o Māmā (text innovation)
- participate with a partner in a same-different task, where each student in a pair has a picture of a celebration with similar, but not identical, elements and they use te reo Māori to work out the differences
- engage in an information transfer task where the students have to, for example, transpose a visual representation of a celebration into written text, or vice versa
- complete a cloze task by filling in the missing words in a description of a celebration (the aim being to consolidate specific language structures and increase accuracy)
- listen to a dictocomp, where you read a passage about a celebration (twice) and the students take notes in te reo Māori or English (or both) to help them reproduce the main ideas (orally or in writing)
- role-play a celebration using a script
- participate in a true-false-make it right task where they listen carefully and then state whether your statements about, for example, a picture of the night sky are true (“kei te tika”) or false (“kei te hē” or “kāore i te tika”); for example, you might make a statement about Matariki such as:
|E whitu ngā whetū.||(There are) seven stars.|
and ask the students to correct any erroneous statements you make.
In addition, students could:
- participate in a 4–3–2 task where you give the students four, then three, and then two minutes (or other appropriate amounts of time) to talk about a picture of a birthday party (There are pictures of birthday parties in Everyday Words in Māori, First Hundred Words in Māori, and First Thousand Words in Māori.)
- use descriptive terms to describe small birthday gifts in a pēke whāwhā (feely bag), saying such things as:
|he mea ngohengohe||a soft thing|
|he mea porowhita||a round thing|
|he mea roa||a long thing|
|he mea iti||a small thing|
|he mea tapawhā||a square thing|
Note that in te reo Māori, adjectives follow nouns.