How Do New Zealand Teachers Assess Children’s Oral Language and Literacy Skills at School Entry?

  • Tracy A. Cameron
  • Jane L. D. Carroll
  • Mele Taumoepeau
  • Elizabeth SchaughencyEmail author


Teachers of year 0/1 students in English-medium schools in New Zealand (1896 schools) were invited to participate in a survey focussed on assessment of new entrant children’s oral language and emergent literacy skills, with an estimated 21% response rate (N = 745). Teachers indicated using a variety of methods for assessing children’s skills at school entry, from standardised measures to informal teacher judgements. In response to open-ended questions several dominant themes were identified: (a) concerns regarding the skill development of many new entrants; (b) a desire for tools to assess oral language and phonological awareness; (c) preferences for tools that were current, efficient, user-friendly and appropriate for use with young children in New Zealand; (d) the need for more time outside the classroom for assessment and reflection on assessment results; and (e) interest in professional learning and development, and teaching resources to support oral language competencies.


Oral language Emergent literacy skills School entry Assessment 



This research was supported, in part, by University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship to the first author. The authors thank participating NZ new entrant teachers and other primary school personnel involved with new entrant screening for taking the time to complete our survey, and also thank NZ Primary School Principals and administrators who took the time to pass our survey link onto their new entrant teachers. Portions of these data have been presented at the postgraduate student poster session of the Literacy and Learning Research Symposium (2017).


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Copyright information

© New Zealand Association for Research in Education 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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