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.

Embedding literacy and numeracy: What’s your plan?

Here’a another one from the Literacy Numeracy Pro infinite content generation engine…

Image 12-06-13 at 2.40 PM

It’s important to have a plan. If you are a trades trainer or vocational tutor you need to have a plan on how you’re going to deal with the literacy and numeracy needs of your learners.

Why? Well… because the same stuff that they struggled with at school is going to be the same stuff they struggle with in your training. You know… when their eyes glaze over when you start talking…

This means reading and mathematics.

The best way to get a plan is to get your head fully around your own context first of all. And that means more than just the industry context that you already know so well. I’m talking about your regional and national context… including reasons why your learners are the way they are. Why they can’t read or write as well as they should. Why they can’t do the math like you think that ought.

I mean… have you really thought about why your learners struggle with things like reading and mathematics?

Perhaps you have. I don’t know. What I do know is that you have a huge advantage over those in the school sector and over the so-called literacy and numeracy “experts”.

You might not see it this way. But the huge advantage that you have is as follows.


And to take advantage of your advantage you need to have a plan. And the best plans distill both context and content knowledge as you carry out these steps:

  1. Map the demands of your training: This simply means working out where the pain points are for the particular literacy and numeracy demands of your course, training, or work. Examples might include specialised or technical vocabulary. Or particular calculations or measurements specific to your trade.
  2. Administer diagnostic tests: Based on your mapping and using what you already know about your learners you need to design and administer some quick and dirty diagnostic tests. These short tests should have a go at working out what your learners do and don’t know about very specific areas of literacy and numeracy. Just pick micro skill area at a time and design a quick, appropriate assessment. Think of this as a pretest. Analyse the results.
  3. Embed the literacy and numeracy: Then you need to write and deliver some very specific and targeted teaching. This teaching (and learning) needs to be an attempt to deliberately and explicitly deal with the literacy or numeracy skill that you identified in your mapping and diagnostic testing. Think of this as a literacy (or numeracy) teaching intervention. I also call this an #MVP or Minimum Viable Pedagogy. It is, after all, the least you should be doing for your learners to help them engage with and comprehend your teaching and training.
  4. Assess your learners’ progress: After this you need to check to see whether your intervention made any difference. The simplest way to do this is to recycle your pretest. You might need to create a “Version B” of your pretest. But for our purposes you could probably just re-administer the pretest as a posttest without making an changes.

That’s it really…

Oh. One more thing. Now you’ve got data. You can compare the differences between your pre and post tests and workout whether it made any difference or not. If it did, you probably just did something that would make a useful change to your future programmes and training. If it didn’t then you just eliminated something that you might not want to repeat. This is called evaluation.

And then what…? Repeat. And then repeat again. And again. And again. Pretty much forever.