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Week 2: Questions about unit standards assessment

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Last updated by Breda Matthews

Hi everyone

  Last week there were several questions regarding assessments.


Debbie asked about possible formative tasks to prepare for assessment against unit standard 28068: Write a text for a practical purpose. Debbie’s summative assessment is a job application letter and she would like to know if a formative task could be a job application letter for a different job. Athlyn pointed out that there are many different types of practical texts and shared her formative process. Many thanks Athlyn. The key issue would seem to be the formative summative divide and how close the preparation task is to the final summative assessment.


Moniqa sought advice about assessment conditions, specifically students' resources that support completion of writing tasks for unit standards 27999 and 28068


This key issue here is that a writing task that relies on research and reading is effectively assessing more than just writing skills. Sarah and Galyene recommended choosing topics that allowed students to write from their own experience. 


However if teachers want to use other topics, perhaps those that support learning in other subjects they will have to balance a number of issues

  • making sure the assessment remains valid i.e. it assess writing rather than research and reading skills

  • maintaining authenticity of student writing - if the students are doing their own research is the text their own or are they copying from another source

  • If visual sources of information are provided they should avoid 

    • presenting lexical chunks that students could copy

    • presenting information already organised into logical order


In an email,  I was asked if the new NZQA rules around resubmission also apply to our Unit Standards in ESOL. The answer is - Yes they do. 


If you are not familiar with these, you can find out more information here and also on this page. This change will mean that it is important not to assess too soon and on the plus side,  it will ensure that students - especially those seeking Merit or Excellence - take the first submission seriously and is likely to reduce teacher workload.


Don’t forget that applications for TESSOL further study awards close today 14th May Find more information at TESSOL Further Study Awards information page. 


TESOLANZ are conducting a survey

If you are based in New Zealand (or have worked in TESOL in NZ in the past 18 months), please complete our survey on impacts related to Covid-19.

All responses are anonymous and any identifying information within the text responses will be removed. Results will be used to help inform our communications with the Government on the impact on our area of education. Complete the survey by clicking this link.



Language weeks

A number of upcoming  language weeks offer multiple opportunities to celebrate diversity in our schools. These include:


International Languages Week NB the dates on this TKI page are incorrect. The correct date for ILW is: International Languages Week: Term Two, Week 7 (14 - 18 June 2021) - thank you Manu for checking this out for us. 


Samoa Language Week Sunday 24 May – Saturday 30 May.



Registration for the 2021 NZLA Conference is now open. 


CLESOL - St Cuthbert’s, Auckland 08 - 09 October 2021. Many of you will be beginning to make plans to attend and finding the funding to do so. Teachers who are members of PPTA can access funding to attend CLESOL - NB TESOLANZ is listed as a subject association by PPTA. Find out more here.


WATESOL Expo will be on Thursday, June 17th at Wellington East Girls’ College, 4 – 7pm. The Expo will begin with a keynote address from Dr Corinne Seals speaking on the topic of Translanguaging followed by:

  • Workshops on teaching and learning

  • Short presentations on practical teaching ideas

  • Reports on research and best practice

The Expo will conclude with a keynote address from Dr Margaret Gleeson speaking on Managing Demanding Reading Texts: Resources and Teaching Strategies.


CANTESOL - Assessment Workshop (Christchurch)

When: Wednesday 19 May 2021, 4.30 – 6.00 pm. Refreshments provided from 4 pm

Where: Ara Institute of Canterbury, Room L202, follow signs from the main entrance

Presenter: Dr. Sara Cotterall, Adjunct Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington

Topic: Meaningful, personalized language assessment: Encouraging learners to measure their own progress.

Cost: TESOLANZ members, Free, non-members, $10


On other communities

English Online discussed the dreaded apostrophe and Judy provided a simple rule 


  • To singular nouns, add 's.  The boy's jacket.  (Even people's names, in

  • spite of the annoying modern trend of not adding the s).

  • To plural nouns, add ' after the s.  The girls' jackets.

  • To plural nouns that do not end in s (people, sheep etc), add 's.  The

  • children's jackets.


This community also discussed the impact of 1:1 devices on student handwriting and should handwriting be taught - what are your thoughts? 

Primary ESOL Online shared, Bryan Leilua’s excellent Rotuman Langauge Week resource. And Lynne Carlin shared this link for more information and ideas.

Breda Matthews

Facilitator: Secondary ESOL community 


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