Teach Better Now – Where’s the new content for Assessment 5 of the NZCALNE on literacy and numeracy diagnostic?


Kia ora ano and welcome to the next exciting instalment

If you’re reading this it’s likely that you’re up to Assessment 5 in the new and improved NZCALNE (Voc). Well done you…!

Like the other content, it will be live on Pathways Awarua as soon as possible. But as always, you can find it on Graeme’s blog in the meantime.

If you do stop by the blog, make sure you leave a comment if you find something helpful. It’s a useful way of letting us know what’s working for you and what’s not. Your comments help us make the content better for everyone.

The new Assessment 5 has the best of what was in the old qualification as well as some new material. The focus is on diagnostic assessment and all the things that should be in place before you deliver your embedded literacy and numeracy teaching.

Here’s an overview of the four sections:

5.1 What are the tools and processes?

5.2 Just do it: Using diagnostic assessment?

5.3 What does it all mean?

5.4 Using learning plans

There’s a lot of content included in this Collection. And if you already know something or you’re already doing something that’s discussed, then feel free to skip ahead to the next relevant section. You can always come back to it later.

Also, we recommend that you download the assessment template early in the process. This is so that you know what the task involves. That way you can start working on the different sections as soon as you are ready.

What’s Assessment 5 all about?

The idea with this Collection and the assessment task is to make sure that you understand what assessment is and how you can use it in the context of adult literacy and numeracy education.

We need to make sure that you understand some of the different kinds of assessment, including diagnostic assessment. And you need to have a go at using some different tools and processes.

Once you’ve tried some of these different kinds of assessments with your learners, you’ll need to tells us what your results mean. And as part of that, we’ll also have a look at learning plans and how to use them for literacy and numeracy learning.

Follow the links below

Like we said before, it’s a good idea to start with the assessment template. You can always come back and dip into these resources as you need to. Email us if you don’t already have the template and checklist.

Otherwise, here’s the new and revised content for Assessment 5.

5.1 What are the tools and processes?

In this module, we look at the kinds of assessment tools and processes appropriate to your learners. This includes a look at different kinds of assessments including diagnostic. We also talk about how to how to create a more positive environment for assessing your learners.

A brief review of Collections 1 to 4 and an overview of Collection 5

What are our tools and processes?

How do I deal with learners’ stress and anxieties about assessment?

5.2 Just do it: Using diagnostic assessment?

This is where the rubber starts to hit the road. We’ll set you up for this, but you’ll need to conduct literacy and numeracy diagnostic assessment of your learners.

We’ll look at a range of different tools you can use and adapt. Chances are you’ll already know some of this. And you won’t need all of the examples. So just pick and choose the parts that are relevant to helping you complete the assessment.

Things you need to know

The Assessment Tool

Self Assessment

Developing your own contextualised literacy diagnostics

Examples of literacy diagnostic assessments

Developing your own contextualised numeracy assessments

Examples of numeracy diagnostics

5.3 What does it all mean?

In this module, we cover what you need to do to make sense of your learners’ literacy and numeracy diagnostic assessment results. This includes mapping your learners and working out any implications for teaching. You’ll also need to review some aspects of how you administered the assessments to your learners.

5.4 Using learning plans

You’ll learn how to write up learning plans showing goals, strengths, and needs.

If you’re stuck, please get in touch with us by email here: assess@alec.ac.nz or by texting or calling Graeme on 021-857-786.

What does a literacy and numeracy-focused learning plan look like?


What does a good learning plan look like?

You’ll need to complete two learning plans for your NZCALNE (Voc). One for each of the two learners that you’re tracking through this project work.

Happily, we have an easy-to-use format for learning plans. And we’ve built this into the template for Assessment 5.

If you’re ready to write up the learning plans you can do this directly in the template for Assessment 5. If you’re not ready, you have a look at the format below. Or 5.4MASTERLearningPlanTemplate.

Individual Learning Plan



Class or group:  


Literacy Focus

What specific literacy goal did you set?

  • The main literacy goal is to …

Which specific literacy progression are you focusing on?

  • We’re targeting the following literacy progression:

How will they know when they’ve achieved the goal?

  • We’ll both know when we’ve achieved this because …

What strategies are you going to use? How are they going to achieve the goal?

  • One strategy that we will use is …
  • Another strategy we might try is …

What’s the timeframe for this?

  • We’re going to try and complete this by …

What changes do they need to make in order to succeed?

  • One change they will need to make is …
  • Another possible change is …

Numeracy Focus

What specific numeracy goal did you set?

  • The main literacy goal is to …

Which specific numeracy progression are you focusing on?

  • We’re targeting the following numeracy progression:

How will they know when they’ve achieved the goal?

  • We’ll both know when we’ve achieved this because …

What strategies are you going to use? How are they going to achieve the goal?

  • One strategy that we will use is …
  • Another strategy we might try is …

What’s the timeframe for this?

  • We’re going to try and complete this by …

What changes do they need to make in order to succeed?

  • One change they will need to make is …
  • Another possible change is …


BEFORE: How do you write learning plans with a focus on literacy and numeracy?


Good work… One final short module and we will have covered everything that you need for Collection 5.

The last thing here is how to write learning plans that focus on literacy and numeracy. Specifically, we want you to use the data that you’re getting from your diagnostic assessments and use it in a constructive way.

Here’s what you need to do next:

  • Write up learning plans showing learner goals, strengths, and needs.
  • Discuss these with your learners as appropriate

You may already have learning plans in place for your learners that focus on the unit standards that they need to achieve or other milestones in your programme.

What we’re after now relates to the next steps for your learners in terms of their literacy and numeracy development.

Why do I have to make learning plans for my learners?

We think that it’s important to do something sensible with the rich information that you’re now getting from the diagnostic questions that you ask. One simple action here is to create literacy and numeracy-focused learning plans for your learners.

You may already have learning plans in place for your learners. If that’s the case, you might want to just add the relevant literacy and numeracy step that your learners need to focus on.

Using learning plans are good practice for any kind of teaching. Here are some guidelines for developing learning plans. You should

Do it together

Develop and negotiate them together with your learners if you can. Not all learners will have the capacity to think about their learning. But it’s a goal you should be working towards.

Set specific goals

These goals need to be SMART. This means that the goals need to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic; and have a sensible
  • Timeframe

Be explicit

We need you to be explicit about which particular progression (or progressions) you are focusing on. For example, “We’re targeting the vocabulary and reading comprehension progressions”.

Begin with the end in mind

Your learner needs to know when they’ve achieved the goal. If it’s too broad they’ll never achieve it. Likewise, if they can’t see a clear end or some way of knowing that they’ve achieved the goal they will lose motivation.

Describe the strategies you’ll use

You need strategies in place if you want to see real gains. You’ve had plenty of time to think about how you’re going to work on this. Say what the strategies are that you intend to use.

Set a clear time frame

This is part of SMART goal setting. Your goals should be specific enough that they are achievable within a relatively short timeframe. For example, three months or less.

The more pushed for time you are, the narrower, and more specific you should be about everything.

Identify changes needed

The specific gains that you want are not going to happen in the timeframe you’ve set without effort. Learning can be fun, but it does require effort from your learner. Identify the changes that your learner will need to make if they want to achieve the goal.

If you think back to the idea that our definitions for literacy and numeracy include observable behaviours then you can highlight some of the behaviours that you expect to see.

How to write your own learning outcomes for embedding number

Strategies (21).jpg

For Number

You can do this yourself or download the worksheet here.


  1. Choose one item from each box and then add your own context.
  2. Write out a final draft of the learning outcome below.
  3. If you need to, make any changes to ensure your learning outcome is specific to the number skills you want to teach and assess.





Demonstrate how to use

strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems

strategies to multiplication and division problems

strategies to solve problems involving fractions, decimals and percentages

strategies to solve problems involving proportions, ratios, and rates

number sequence knowledge

place value knowledge

number facts knowledge

in the context of…

What are learning outcomes?

Strategies (15).jpg

Now we need to shift our gaze from the broad, high-level strategies you’ve been working on for your whole programme. Your broad strategies for embedding are the “big picture”.

Now, imagine you’re switching from wide angle lens to zoom on a camera. Your next three assessments require you to do some assessing and some teaching. To do this well, we need to zoom in much closer.

You’re going to zoom in by developing some very specific learning outcomes to guide your planning, assessing and teaching.

But before we launch into writing learning outcomes, here’s a quick heads up of what’s left to finish your training.

After this assessment, you’ll learn to do the following:

  1. BEFORE you teach: Use diagnostic assessment including the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool
  2. TEACHING: Plan and facilitate the kind of embedded activities that your learners need for your training.
  3. AFTER you teach: Measure learner progress

Each of these stages in the embedding process needs to be highly focused. The way we focus here is through writing very specific learning outcomes.

Each stage, whether it’s a diagnostic assessment, your teaching activities, or some kind of progress assessment is guided by your learning outcomes. These are your road map. They keep you on track and ensure that you focus on the things that you’ve identified as important.

But first:

  • What is a learning outcome?

The term learning outcome is shortened from intended learning outcome. A learning outcome is a short statement that says:

  • What you expect learners to be able to do at the end of the learning.

You already wrote a short statement that summed up your broad strategy for embedding literacy and numeracy. With your strategies, you’re looking at the whole of your programme.

With learning outcomes, you’re looking at teaching and assessing some specific aspect of literacy and numeracy.

Demands: Understanding what the numeracy progressions are…

Knowing the demands (11)

What are the big picture numeracy demands?

By identifying the most important literacy progressions for your own teaching situation, you’ve started to map the big picture demands. Now we need to do the same thing for numeracy.

By the end of this module, you should have some ideas about:

  • Which numeracy strands are relevant for your teaching.
  • Which progressions from these strands are relevant.

As with literacy, not everything here is going to be relevant. And as with literacy, we need to make sure that you:

  1. Understand what each numeracy progression is in plain English.
  2. Can eliminate any progressions that are not relevant.
  3. Identify which numeracy progressions are important for your teaching and programme and know why.

And just like with the literacy demands, we have a task for you to work on that will help you focus on the key numeracy demands for your programme.

Understanding what the numeracy progressions are

The numeracy progressions don’t repeat themselves like the literacy progressions. Instead, there is a distinct set of progressions for each numeracy strand.

You can probably guess many of them, but here are some plain English explanations.

Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems

Additive Strategies

  • Using + and – to solve problems

Multiplicative Strategies

  • Using x and ÷ to solve problems

Proportional Reasoning

  • Using fractions, decimals, %, proportions, ratios, rates to solve problems

Number Sequence

  • Knowing the sequence of numbers forwards and backwards. Includes integers, fractions, decimals, %

Place Value

  • Knowing the place and value of numbers. Includes tens, hundreds, thousands, fractions and decimals adding up to 1. Ordering and converting between fractions, decimals, %.

Number Facts

  • Knowing +, -, x and ÷ facts from memory. Also knowing fraction, decimal, and % facts.

Reason Statistically

Preparing Data

  • Sorting, organising, and representing data for analysis.

Analysing Data

  • Describing and comparing data for interpretation.

Interpreting Data

  • Interpreting and discussing data to predict and conclude


  • Knowing about chance, likelihood, and possible outcomes.

Measure and interpret shape and space

Shapes & Transformations

  • Describing and working with shapes. Includes shapes of two or three dimensions.


  • Working with movement, distance, direction, bearings, grid references, maps, scales.


  • Comparing, ordering and measuring things. Includes using the right tools, systems, formulas, estimates and conversions.

What’s under the hood? Frameworks for teaching better


As well as knowing what we mean when we use words like embedding and literacy or numeracy, we also need to know what kind of thinking sits behind these concepts.

Getting to this is like popping the bonnet or hood of your car and having a look at what’s underneath. You can drive a car without knowing much about the engine. But it helps if you know a little bit.

In fact, there are at least a couple of times when you do want to know a bit more about how things work. Every car needs a service from time to time. The more you know about how your car works, the more likely you’ll be able to keep things running smoothly. And that brings us to the second thing.

Sometimes, you need to change things. This might be to make things run better or to stop things from breaking down. Either way, teaching better means looking at how things run beneath the surface.

This means your personal approach at the end of the day. More on that in the next module. But first, we need to dig into the different kinds of thinking that underpin our ideas about literacy and numeracy.

These different ways of thinking about teaching and about literacy or numeracy are called frameworks. And we’re going to look at five of them.

  • The Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy
  • The Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy
  • Te Whare Tapawha
  • Fonofale Pan Pasifika
  • ESOL Starting Points