National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement - Learning Languages 2016 Key Findings

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

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review


In 2016, the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) assessed student achievement at Year 4 and Year 8 in two areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC1) - learning languages and technology. This report presents the key findings for learning languages. It is supported by a report of technical information related to different components of the study.
The learning languages learning area in the NZC emphasises the connection between language, culture and identity building. Moreover, languages connect people across various contexts. The NZC describes learning languages as '… a means of communicating with people from another culture and exploring one's own personal world' (p. 24).

Unlike other learning areas where curriculum levels generally relate to years at school, this learning area is unique insofar as the levels describe learning progressions that can have as their starting point a 5-year-old student or a 13-year-old student.
Te reo Māori was given legal status nearly 30 years ago and is one of the three official languages of Aotearoa New Zealand, along with English and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). The achievement focus for this study was on te reo Māori as described in Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo Māori – Kura Auraki: Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools: Years 1-132.

There is no compulsion to teach te reo Māori to a particular level of proficiency and, according to the Royal Society of New Zealand (20133), the language receives uneven attention across the education system. Therefore the achievement focus for this study was on students' knowledge of te reo Māori, mainly within Level 1 of the curriculum guidelines.

During the writing of this report, there was ongoing public debate about whether teaching and learning te reo Māori should be made compulsory at school. Also during this time, the Education (Update) Amendment Act 20174 stated that the provision of opportunities for students to learn te reo Māori at school can be requested by parents, and a school board "must take all reasonable steps to provide instruction in tikanga Māori (Māori culture) and te reo Māori (the Māori language) for full-time students whose parents ask for it" (Schedule 6, Boards of Trustees).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Zealand
PublisherMinistry of Education New Zealand
Commissioning bodyMinistry of Education
Number of pages96
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-927286-35-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-927286-34-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement - Learning Languages 2016 Key Findings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this