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Achievement objectives

Understanding the English curriculum



This section of the guide aims to develop teachers’ understanding of what English at levels 6–8 looks like in action, and how students can progress from one level to the next.

Students working at levels 6–8 will already have a wide range of English skills, although they may be more proficient in one area than another.

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies two strands for English at levels 6, 7, and 8:

  • making meaning (listening, reading, and viewing)
  • creating meaning (speaking, writing, and presenting).

it is important that students see and make sense of the many connections within and across these strands.

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When making meaning, students receive information and ideas – they listen to, read, and view texts. When creating meaning, students produce information and ideas – they speak, write, and present texts. In practice, the two strands are interconnected, and students and teachers will move between them during teaching and learning.

For both the making meaning and creating meaning strands, students use a variety of processes and strategies. The processes and strategies can be seen as broad skills that underpin students’ knowledge, skills, and understandings. (In the curriculum document, this relationship is emphasised by the highlighting in purple of the processes and strategies section on the achievement objective pages.)

Students apply the processes and strategies as they make and create meaning around four aspects of English:

  • purposes and audiences
  • ideas
  • language features
  • structure.

The statement underneath each of the aspects describes the intended outcome after teaching and learning has taken place. Additionally, the curriculum provides indicators for what this learning looks like when students are working at a particular curriculum level.

Access a diagramatic version of Understanding the English curriculum.

Progression in English levels 6–8

As students progress from levels 6–8, they engage with increasingly sophisticated ideas and texts, using increasingly sophisticated skills.

'Increasingly sophisticated' may mean that students:

  • study more substantial and more complicated texts
  • choose texts with more mature themes and concepts
  • are more independent in their text choices
  • use more of their own experiences, ideas, and perceptions to create texts
  • make more connections within, across, and beyond texts
  • understand more subtle connections within a range of contexts
  • produce work that is longer, more intricate, more in-depth, and more crafted
  • use processes and strategies with increased confidence and sophistication to create texts.

At each level, key words and phrases identify the expected progression; for example, under ideas, in the making meaning strand:

  • at level 6, students will show a developed understanding
  • at level 7, this understanding needs to be discriminating
  • by level 8, this understanding needs to be discriminating and insightful.

A more extensive example of progression in the ideas aspect of the making meaning strand is also provided – progression in ideas.

In the creating meaning strand, there are more of these key words. For example, in the relation to the ideas aspect of this strand:

  • at level 6, students will communicate connected ideas
  • at level 7, these ideas need to be sustained
  • by level 8, these ideas need to be sustained and insightful.

To see the step-up/progressions across the three levels, look at the indicators under each of the four aspects and note the differences in the descriptions, which indicate how students will develop their knowledge and skills.

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View student work holistically. Look at how the four aspects (purposes and audiences, ideas, language features, and structure) work together. The examples of practices below can be used to help students to progress in their learning.

Last updated March 16, 2016