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Assessment and professional support

Assessment Online

  • This key community covers assessment in the classroom, effective use of evidence, and reporting to families and whānau. It offers news, assessment tools and resources, research, a glossary, FAQ, and related links.
  • The linked site Consider the evidence promotes 'evidence-driven decision making for secondary schools' and supports secondary educators in making best use of evidence to improve student achievement.
  • For a view of how assessment can best serve learning, see Directions for Assessment in New Zealand, a report by Michael Absolum, Lester Flockton, John Hattie, Rosemary Hipkins, and Ian Reid (also available as a Word or PDF file).

Education Review Office

In 2007, ERO published three reports on schools’ effectiveness in the collection and use of assessment:

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

  • Follow links to the National Qualifications Framework, NCEA, and subject achievement standards.
  • Further information on assessing with unit standards can be found on the NZQA website. Some assessment resources are also available.

Resourcing ideas

The following references will help you to plan teaching and learning activities for this subject.


Students can go to this website to find useful, accurate, online information. Librarians from all over New Zealand are available each weekday between 1 pm and 6 pm to help students search online. To use AnyQuestions, students must be attending a New Zealand primary, intermediate, or secondary school or being home schooled.

The National Library of New Zealand Curriculum Services

Curriculum services has ‘over a million resources that support teaching programmes’, including books and audiovisuals (videos/DVDs). Schools pay only return courier costs on borrowed items. Schools can also interloan music, books, and serials from the National Library’s general collections. A freephone advice service is offered on 0800 542 5463. See the website for contact details for the regional offices in Auckland, Palmerston North, and Christchurch.

Social Sciences Online

This site provides pages specific to the following senior subjects: business studies, classical studies, economics, geography, history, and senior social studies (see links under 'Senior secondary' on the landing page).

Social sciences online also provides PDFs of titles in the Ministry of Education series Building Conceptual Understandings in the Social Sciences (BCUSS). (These are listed in 'Featured content', right navigation.)

  • Approaches to building conceptual understandings
  • Approaches to social inquiry
  • Being part of a global community
  • Belonging and participating in society

Although the BCUSS series is designed to help teachers of levels 1–5, it is strongly recommended to senior social science teachers.

Te Kete Ipurangi

TKI hosts an Education for Sustainability website to support education for sustainability, which should be a starting point when looking for resources. See also the social sciences community. Teachers are also encouraged to visit other TKI communities, such as the ICT community and Software for Learning.

Ministry of Education websites

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008–12

Ka Hikitia is a five-year strategy that aims to transform and change the education sector, ensuring that Māori are able to enjoy education success as Māori.

Key Competencies Online

This companion site to the New Zealand Curriculum online website offers specific guidance to school leaders and teachers on integrating the key competencies into the daily activities of the school and its teaching and learning programmes.

The New Zealand Curriculum Online

As well as the HTML version of The New Zealand Curriculum, this interactive site offers a variety of support and strategies, news updates, digital stories of schools’ experiences, and archived material relating to development of the curriculum.

Pasifika education

This has been created to enable all of those involved with Pasifika education to find information quickly and easily, including policy, initiatives, publications, research results, and services and funding.

Secondary middle leaders

This site is designed to assist secondary middle managers to work with their departments to implement The New Zealand Curriculum. It explores various aspects of effective pedagogy.

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

This site includes an English translation of the main sections of the draft marautanga. Only learning levels 1, 4, and 6 have been translated in the learning areas.

Te Tere Auraki

This Ministry of Education professional development strategy focuses on improving outcomes for Māori students in English-medium schools. This strategy supports four main projects: Te Kotahitanga, Te Kauhua, Ako Panuku, and Te Mana Kōrero.

Other government agency websites

BES (Iterative best evidence synthesis) programme

BES is a collaborative knowledge-building strategy designed to strengthen the evidence base that informs education policy and practice in New Zealand. See in particular: Effective Pedagogy in Social Sciences/Tikanga ā Iwi Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration [BES] (2008).

Climate change information New Zealand

This site offers information about New Zealand’s emissions, emissions trading, projected impacts, international negotiations and obligations, and overall approach to climate change.

Department of Conservation

The department provides information and resources to support conservation education programmes in schools, including field trips and activities. Specific resources for level 2 have been developed, including one at Mt Cook Aoraki. This is targeted at geography but includes an assessment activity for AS90811. See also the Waitaki unit. This has a biology angle about endangered species.

Landcare Manaaki Whenua

This environmental research centre specialises in sustainable management of land resources optimising primary production, enhancing biodiversity, increasing the resource efficiency of businesses, and conserving and restoring the natural assets of our communities. The website includes a comprehensive education section.

Ministry for Primary Industries Manatū Ahu Matua

Ministry for the Environment Manatū mō te Taiao

The 2003 report Ecological Footprints of New Zealand and Its Regions calculates the 1997–98 ecological footprint of New Zealand and its regions. It assesses New Zealand’s sustainability performance against two criteria – the amount of land 'appropriated' by each person to support their consumption (ecological footprint per capita) and whether we’re living within the carrying capacity of the land we have available.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)

NIWA is New Zealand’s leading provider of atmospheric and aquatic science. The website includes research, educational material, publications, maps, FAQ, teachers’ and students’ sections, and links to the various NIWA national centres and information about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Statistics New Zealand

Search for sustainability or population or explore the schools corner.

Other websites

The following websites have been recommended as helpful by teachers. They have not been extensively reviewed or checked for quality.

New Zealand organisations

Environmental Monitoring and Action Project (EMAP)

EMAP combines the delivery of the National Waterways Project and the GLOBE programme. EMAP provides an overview of environmental monitoring activities throughout New Zealand and endeavours to bring schools, local authorities, research institutions, and others together to facilitate students monitoring their local region in an environmental education context. The project is funded through the Ministry of Education LEOTC (Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom) fund.

Enviroschools Foundation

The foundation is a charitable trust that provides support and strategic direction for a nationwide environmental education programme. The Foundation’s vision is to foster a generation of innovative and motivated young people who instinctively think and act sustainably.

Forest and Bird

Forest and Bird works to preserve New Zealand’s natural heritage and native species. They also co-ordinate hands-on restoration projects and educate people about environmental issues through their children’s club, Kiwi Conservation Club, publications, and public awareness campaigns.

Global Focus Aotearoa

Greenpeace New Zealand

Greenpeace has campaigned on many environmenatal issues over the years. This website is its New Zealand portal.


LEARNZ runs virtual field trips in May and October. This website includes background resources, student activities, teacher support, and curriculum ideas, and it prepares students for the field trips in the weeks leading up to the virtual field experience.

New Zealand Association for Environmental Education

NZAEE is a non-profit organisation working to promote and support environmental education, lifelong learning, and sustainable behaviour throughout New Zealand/Aotearoa. It provides information on a wide variety of environmental issues for individuals, schools, community groups, and businesses.

New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics (NZCEE)

NZCEE conducts research with Massey University and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research as collaborative partners and works closely with Market Economics Ltd. The aim of the research is to explore how the quality of the New Zealand environment can be maintained and enhanced while still allowing the economy and people of New Zealand to prosper.

Rural Source

This education programme for sustainable agriculture is run by the Agriculture Industry Training Organisation (ITO). It gives teachers and students access to books, websites, magazines, videos/DVDs, and online resources that support agriculture and horticulture curricula at secondary school level, including materials on sustainable agriculture and crop management.

Sir Peter Blake Trust

The trust aims to help New Zealanders make a positive difference to the planet through activities that encourage environmental awareness and action. In partnerships with the Ministry of Education and NIWA, it administers the Sir Peter Blake Environmental Educator Award, and the Sea and Learn hands-on science shipboard education programme, and also supports young New Zealanders to attend the United Nations Environment Programme International Children’s Conference on the Environment, which is held every two years.

Sustainable Living Trust

This national organisation provides resources for community education but has available teaching resources designed specifically for use in a level 2 NCEA classroom, which can be requested through the site.

Trade Aid

The Trade Aid home page links to such things as shop locations, educational resources, trading partners, food for thought, or details of how to get involved. A number of school resources are aimed at junior level, such as two units on environmental justice, but other material may be relevant for senior classes.

Transition Towns Aotearoa

This social networking site links the various groups and organisations around New Zealand transitioning toward a post-peak-oil future.

World Vision New Zealand

World Vision provides an educational experience for students about world issues. A variety of resources includes Internet connections, simulation games, posters, and NCEA internal assessments with teacher resource folders. Most of these are free to download, while others can be purchased online.

WWF New Zealand

WWF New Zealand promotes positive action to reduce the impacts of climate change, campaigns to stop dolphins and seabirds being caught by fishers, and educates the next generation about the importance of managing our precious environment more sustainably.


Change Agency Education and Training Institute

This agency is an independent activist education initiative working in the Australia-Pacific region to help people achieve social and environmental change. The resources include interesting readings, workshop tools, and key ideas for taking action that support development of key competencies. The agency’s byline is 'listen deeply, reflect critically, strategise effectively, make change happen'.

Club of Rome

This independent, not-for-profit organisation aims to act as a catalyst for global change.

Friends of the Earth

This website links to a large variety of downloadable resources, many of which bring together social justice and environmental issues.

Future scenarios

This site offers a variety of scenarios about possible responses to peak oil and climate change. There is a great deal of reading but also an illuminating photo gallery. The information is from the perspective of a highly committed 'green' – David Holmgren, co-originator of permaculture.


GreenChoices is about the choices we can make in our everyday lives to protect our environment, providing simple, direct information on green alternatives, which make a real, lasting difference.

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme

This site includes an excellent education section with resource books on climate change and a downloadable executive summary.

Stop Climate Chaos Coalition

This site provides information and offers challenges for climate change action.

Untouched World™ Charitable Trust

The Untouched World™ Charitable Trust’s activity is centred on education, environmental, social, cultural, and community issues aimed at providing young adults with a unique learning experience, developing life skills to maximise their potential, and inspiring them to lead the way in achieving a sustainable future.

Climate change

Breathing earth

This interactive site shows a map of the world and estimations of the impact of each country on climate change. The main limitation is that it uses population and carbon emission data sets from 2002 and 2005.


This site describes various events, organisations, and individuals meeting the carbon challenge. Through this programme, people can buy and sell carbon credits.

Climate change education

This site is supported by the American-based action group Focus the Nation and Climate Change Education.org, a group from the University of California, Berkeley. It is a portal site dedicated to education on climate change, offering a variety of K–12 resources, both interdisciplinary and subject specific, together with links to videos, experiments, and other sites of interest.

Gateway to the UN system’s work on climate change

News and reports from the UN.

Teaching Climate Change

This site has been compiled by teachers and university academics, who work in the field of climate change. It provides modules in a number of learning areas, for example, the social sciences and science. The modules, which are designed for students in years 9–11, aim to develop critical thinking skills about the issue of climate change.

Ecological footprints

Disposable Planet

A six-part BBC series on sustainable development.

Earth Day

This American site currently offers calculators for three countries - the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Greendex (National Geographic)

The Greendex is a quantitative consumer study of 17 000 consumers in a total of 17 countries (14 in 2008), who were asked about such behaviour as energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental issues.

Redefining Progress

This American-based public policy thinktank is dedicated to smart economics. They work to find solutions that ensure a sustainable and equitable world for future generations.

Food and gardening

Earthday Network

The Earthday Network works in partnership with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Clinton Foundation with the aim of greening all of America’s K–12 schools within a generation.

Garden Organic UK

This comprehensive site advocates for gardening in schools and provides a wealth of information on how to get started and the links that can be made to curriculum (UK) outcomes. This site includes stories from schools involved with the programme.

Kitchen Garden Foundation

This Australian site advocates for edible gardens in school but also provides resources for schools wanting to develop integrated programmes around food growing. The programmes develop numerous competencies among children and build understanding of the importance of food culturally as well as economically.

Organic Pathways

Part of the Organic Garden City Trust, this Christchurch group was set up in 1997 to support schools to set up an edible garden.


Population Growth over History

(The University of Michigan’s Global Change Curriculum)
This site includes an interactive map, which shows how rapidly population has grown in the past 200–300 years. The lecture paper covers the following topics: how fast the human population has grown , what the world’s population is likely to be in the future, the forces responsible for population, the 'demographic transition', and what we can learn from models of future population growth.

World Population Awareness

The goal of this website is to preserve the environment and its natural resources for the benefit of people today and future generations. It offers discussion papers and statistical information that focus on population growth and excessive consumption. This site could be a useful resource for students investigating population issues and wanting opinion pieces.

World Population Trends

This site offers a comprehensive selection of statistical data on every nation in the world, illustrated by wallcharts, graphs, and tables. Themes include mortality and migration, fertility and family planning, and population and development.

Urban sustainability


This website supports the book Carfree cities. This organisation aims to remove cars from central cities to make them safe and pleasant for pedestrians and to build communities where walking, cycling, and public transport predominate. See also Worldcarfree.net (below).

Megacities Project

This transnational, non-profit network of leaders from government, business, non-profit and grassroot groups, academia, and the media share innovative solutions to the problems they face in common.

SmartGrowth Online

This site outlines how cities can redevelop to outsmart sprawl. It is American based, but much of what is discussed is relevant to New Zealand.

Sustainable Cities

This small organisation, based in Canada, tackles the challenges of urban sustainability. Sustainable Cities is a think tank and active peer-learning network covering 38 cities in 14 countries. There are many useful links to research and actions that may be useful for the classroom.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme: UN-HABITAT

This international agency provides support for urban change – they have many projects on the go that cover such topics as cities and climate change, social inclusion, and water and sanitation.


Worldcarfree.net is a clearinghouse of information from around the world on how to revitalise our towns and cities and create a sustainable future. This site offers resources for teachers, students, and other engaged citizens.

Youth support and action


Good magazine

A New Zealand guide to sustainable living.

Green generation (Earth day network)

Just focus



This is the largest online community of youth interested in global issues and creating positive change.


This American-based site offers both subscription and free access, and provides searchable resources for students undertaking research.

Print publications

Crawford, J. H. (2002). Carfree cities. Utrecht: International Books.

Cubitt, S., Irvine, R., & Dow, A. (1999). Top tools for social science teachers. Auckland: Pearson Educational.

Sterling, S. (2001). Sustainable education: Re-visioning learning and change. Bristol: Schumacher.

Sweeney, L. B. (2001). When a butterfly sneezes: A guide for helping kids explore interconnections in our world through favorite stories. Waltham, MA: Pegasus Communications.

Suzuki, D. (2003). The David Suzuki reader: A lifetime of ideas. London: Allen and Unwin.

Tyler Miller, G. Jnr (2001). Living in the environment: Principles, connections, and solutions. Florence, KY: Brooks Cole.

Webster, K. (2004). Rethink, refuse, reduce … Education for sustainability in a changing world. Shrewsbury: FSC Publications.

Whitehead, D. (2004). Top tools for teaching thinking. Auckland: Pearson Educational.

Last updated October 30, 2013