National Standards and the ARBs
The Assessment Resource Banks (ARBs) is one of the assessment tools provided by the Ministry of Education. The resources consist of non-standardised tasks that can contribute to Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJ) about students.
The diagram below indicates that teachers should gather evidence from a number of different sources. The ARBs are best suited for use as part of normal classroom activities. They can provide evidence gained by Observation of Process and Learning Conversations - the top two boxes.
Diagram 1. Gathering, interpreting, and using assessment information
How ARB resources can support Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ)
- Providing evidence
Standardised tests can indicate possible strengths and weaknesses of students. The ARBs can be used to probe areas of interest in greater depth. Completing an appropriate ARB task may
- provide additional evidence that an aspect of a standard has been reached
- confirm that an aspect of a standard has not yet been mastered
- provide further information for focussing next teaching.
- Analysing students' responses and deciding next learning steps
Many ARB tasks include ways to explore why a student gives a particular response. Once it is understood what is going wrong for a student it is much easier to decide what to do next.
Extensive notes for teachers accompany each ARB task to help them analyse student responses. Suggestions are made for possible next learning steps.
- Student involvement in assessment
Students can be given the opportunity to discuss their responses with the teacher and/or other students. This promotes active involvement of students in the assessment process.
- Teacher-designed assessment
A significant amount of evidence for OTJ should come from students' normal classroom activities.
This judgment needs to be based on evidence collected over a period of time, much of it derived from daily classroom interactions and observations (p. 12).
ARB tasks provide good models for teachers to use as they develop their own assessment activities.
How to use the ARBs to support OTJ
The broader the focus of an assessment, the harder it gets to be sure about explicit claims we might want to make. An assessment task that is focussed on a specific area of interest provides more in-depth evidence to justify decisions about
- what the student can do now
- what their next learning needs might be.
ARB tasks are designed to probe what students are thinking as they complete the task. For example, a PAT test may indicate that a student or class is performing poorly with fractions. Working with ARB tasks on fractions during classroom time is likely to help pinpoint where students are having difficulties and what strategies they are using. Use the Teachers' Pages to assist with analysing students' responses. Suggested next steps will assist with making subsequent teaching and learning decisions.
The tasks may also be used as one piece of evidence of a student having reached an element of a standard.
One advantage of the ARBs is that teachers have control over how they use the tasks.
Ministry of Education (2009). Mathematics Standards for Years 1-8.
Wellington: Learning Media.
- An ARB task should never be used by itself to decide whether a student has met a particular standard. It provides one piece of evidence that the student is meeting the standard.
- ARB tasks provide in depth information about an aspect of a standard. They do not provide evidence of meeting all of the requirements of a standard for that year.
- ARB tasks rely on teachers analysing students' work. Moderation across classes, or between schools, ensures consistency of their judgements.
- Many ARB tasks have been assigned a difficulty band for each question. This provides an indication of how difficult the trial students found the task. It is not, however, relevant to the standard itself.
The Fact Sheets published on TKI provide a good overview of key information about National Standards: