National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement - English: Listening 2015 Key Findings

Educational Assessment Research Unit, New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Mustafa Asil

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review


In 2015, the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) assessed student achievement at Year 4 and Year 8 in three areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) – English: listening, English: viewing and the arts. This report provides key findings from the English: listening study.

The report is one of four that have been released in the first cycle of NMSSA related to the English learning area. English: writing was assessed in 2012 and English: reading in 2014. As noted, English: viewing was assessed along with English: listening in 2015. NMSSA is also collecting information about the use of literacy across the curriculum.

Listening in English
The English learning area within the NZC outlines achievement objectives that describe progression in listening along with reading and viewing as part of the 'making meaning of ideas or information they receive' strand. The objectives describe the knowledge and skills students should be able to demonstrate as they progress from one curriculum level to the next and become more effective oral, written and visual communicators.

As students process texts aurally, they use their cognitive resources to engage with meaning and examine texts critically. The process of hearing, recognising and interpreting spoken language is foundational to reading and to learning more generally.

Study features
NMSSA assessed achievement in English: listening using a group-administered assessment called the Knowledge and Application of Listening in English (KALE) assessment.

A nationally representative sample of about 2,200 students at each of Years 4 and 8 completed the assessment during the third term (July to September) of 2015. Performance on the KALE assessment was reported on a single scale covering both year levels. The scale was aligned to the levels of the NZC through a curriculum alignment process that defined minimum scale scores (cut-scores) associated with achieving, on balance, the objectives outlined at curriculum levels 2, 3 and 4.

Other data related to teachers' and principals' views of teaching and learning in English: listening were also collected via separate teacher and principal questionnaires.
Key findings
Overall achievement
At Year 4, 79 percent of students scored above the minimum score on the KALE scale associated with achieving curriculum level 2 objectives. At Year 8, 70 percent of students scored above the minimum score associated with achieving curriculum level 4 objectives. The curriculum expectation at Year 4 is that students will have, on balance, achieved level 2 objectives by the end of the school year. In Year 8 they will have, on balance, achieved level 4 objectives by the end of the school year.

Variation in achievement by student-level and school-level variables
Year 8 students scored, on average, 24 scale score units higher than Year 4 students. This difference is equivalent to an effect size of about 1.2 and indicates that, on average, New Zealand students make 6 scale score units of 'progress' per year between Year 4 and Year 8.

The average score for girls was 4 scale score units higher than the average score for boys at Year 4 and 2 scale score units higher at Year 8. This gender pattern was generally constant within student ethnicity and school decile groups.

Māori and Pasifika students, who were more likely than other students to attend mid and low decile schools, scored lower on average than non-Māori and non-Pasifika students, respectively, at both Year 4 and Year 8. These differences ranged between 9 and 18 scale score units.

Students from high decile schools (deciles 8, 9 and 10) scored higher, on average, than those who attended low decile schools (deciles 1, 2 and 3) by 21 scale score units at Year 4 and 24 scale score units at Year 8.

Students with special education needs scored lower, on average, than students with no special education needs by 10 scale score units at Year 4 and 13 scale score units at Year 8. The difference between the average scores at Year 4 and Year 8 for students with special education needs was 20 scale score units.

Contextual findings
About 80 percent of students at each of Year 4 and Year 8 reported that they 'always' spoke English at home. A regression analysis carried out by year level indicated that how often students spoke English at home was a statistically significant predictor of their scores on the KALE assessment, with those who reported always speaking English at home having higher KALE scores, on average, than those who reported that they hardly ever spoke English at home. This was true before and after decile band was taken into account.

About 65 percent of Year 4 students reported that they had attended one school since their fifth birthday.
A similar percentage of Year 8 students reported attending either one or two schools (many Year 8 students will have attended a contributing primary followed by an intermediate or secondary school). At Year 4, having attended fewer schools was generally associated with higher KALE scores. The pattern at Year 8 was less clear.

Principals were generally positive about the quality of teaching and learning programmes in English: listening in their schools. Overall, in relation to English: listening, they were less positive about the provision of quality professional learning and development (PLD), collection and use of assessment data, and provision of information for parents on progress and achievement.

Generally, teachers were very confident about their preparedness to teach English: listening and their knowledge of students' strengths and weaknesses in English: listening. Most teachers indicated that listening was a regular component of their English programmes.

About 45 percent of teachers reported either that they had never had any PLD in listening, or that the last time they had this PLD was more than six years ago.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Zealand
PublisherMinistry of Education New Zealand
Commissioning bodyMinistry of Education
Number of pages54
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-927286-24-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-927286-23-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement - English: Listening 2015 Key Findings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this