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Monitoring learning progress

Assessment for the purpose of improving student learning is best understood as an ongoing process that arises out of the interaction between teaching and learning. It involves the focused and timely gathering, analysis, interpretation, and use of information that can provide evidence of student progress.

The New Zealand Curriculum, page 38

Monitoring enables:

  • the teacher to understand what it is that a student is actually learning
  • the student to receive feedback that can enhance their learning
  • the teacher to address gaps in understanding and plan further learning.

To be able to monitor progress, teachers and students should be able to answer these questions:

What is the important learning?

Home economics:

  • We are creating a recipe flyer to accompany food parcels from the local food bank. As we do this, we are learning to write recipes that meet the needs of the recipients, taking into consideration their reading skills, cooking skills, nutritional needs, and physical and financial resources.

Physical education:

  • Through adventure-based learning (ABL) activities we are developing the interpersonal skills that our group will need to achieve its goals.

Health education:

  • We are analysing a music video. We are learning how to use a critical thinking process to recognise messages about gender roles and sexuality.

Why is the learning relevant or meaningful?

Within-subject relevance

Learning can be relevant because of how it links to previous and future learning.


Home economics:

  • We need to learn about the interconnections between determinants of health and societal well-being so that we can make sense of the modern food landscape in year 13. We are building on the learning we did in year 11 about factors that influence food choices. 

Physical education:

  • The knowledge we are developing about teamwork and leadership builds on our earlier learning about interpersonal skills, and will help us as we work towards taking action. 

Health education:

  • Our learning about gender roles will help us in future when we explore social justice and power imbalances in relationships that impact on peoples’ well-being.

Beyond-subject relevance

Learning can be relevant because it is useful in other subjects or life outside school.


Home economics:

  • Learning about the interrelationships between food choices and the determinants of health will help us ensure our own future well-being and contribute to that of peers, family, and community.

Physical education:

  • By learning about leadership in physical education, we will better understand the concept in subjects like history or English. Also, we can transfer our knowledge and understanding across to our participation in sport teams, social activities, the workplace – in fact, to all areas of life.

Health education:

  • Learning about critical thinking will help us understand situations from different perspectives, enabling us to make informed decisions.

An identified learning need

Learning can be relevant because it addresses an identified knowledge/skills gap.


Home economics:

  • After critically evaluating controversial nutrition information (for example, use of vitamin supplements) students will see the need to understand and apply accepted nutrition principles.

Physical education:

  • Following analysis of a volleyball serve, students recognise that to improve performance they need to learn about and apply bio-mechanical principles.

Health education:

  • Students looking for one right answer (to health issues) recognise that they need to use the critical thinking process to identify multiple perspectives and solutions.

What performance and understanding is required?

With appropriate training and modelling, students can use formal criteria, rubrics, or exemplars to assess their own work or peer assess each other’s work.

Consider indicators such as these:

  • The student is able to respond to teacher or peer questioning and challenge.
  • The student seeks peer feedback and submits draft work for interim assessment and feedback.
  • The student successfully applies the skills and knowledge they are learning in different situations (for example, in assignments, test situations, real life).
  • The student recognises quality understanding and performance, and self-corrects errors.
  • The student can explain or teach what they have learned to another person.

What do effective learning strategies look like?

These are the strategies that effective learners use when they don’t know what to do.

Effective learners:

  • identify what is working and what is not, describe what they know and where they are stuck (for example, by using success criteria)
  • refer to models, success criteria, and/or notes to try and solve issues independently
  • read journal articles, reliable internet sources, media reports, research, and text books; talk to experts, canvas different people for their perspectives
  • seek and use feedback from teacher or peers.


Physical education:

  • Realising that their performance in badminton is hampered by a lack of variation in their serve, a student finds a model on You Tube and watches a game in a higher grade. After practising new techniques they ask for feedback from a more-skilled peer or seek coaching from the teacher.

Health education:

  • Realising that they are confused about the difference between economic and political determinants of health, the student discusses their understanding with peers and their teacher, engages in self-directed research, and reflects their understanding back to the teacher for feedback.

Home economics:

  • When considering teenage alcohol use from a socio-ecological perspective, a student realises they need to further clarify the influences at work on young people. They re-read articles that were made available in class and then check their understanding with a peer or their teacher.

Last updated October 15, 2020