Learning Progression Frameworks and the ARBs

Chris Joyce, Jonathan Fisher 2018
The Assessment Resource Banks (ARBs) are one of a number of assessment tools provided by the Ministry of Education to support classroom assessment. The assessment resources are non-standardised tasks that can contribute to Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJ) about students' learning.
Learning Progression Frameworks
The Learning Progression Frameworks have been created to illustrate the significant learning steps that learners take as they develop their expertise in reading, writing, and mathematics from years 1 to 10. Teachers can use these frameworks to identify students’ learning in reading, writing, and mathematics.
How ARB resources can support Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ)

The broader the focus of a particular assessment, the harder it gets to be sure about explicit claims we might want to make. An assessment task that is focussed on a specific area of interest provides more in-depth evidence to justify decisions about

  • what the student can do now
  • what their next learning needs might be.

ARB tasks are designed to probe what students are thinking as they complete the task. For example, a PAT test may indicate that a student or class is performing poorly with fractions. Working with ARB tasks on fractions during classroom time is likely to help pinpoint where students are having difficulties and what strategies they are using. Use the resource’s teacher notes (e.g., Working with students) to assist with analysing students' responses. Suggested Next steps can assist with making subsequent teaching and learning decisions. The tasks may also be used as one piece of evidence of a student having reached an element of a progression step. One advantage of the ARBs is that teachers have control over how they use the tasks.

Providing evidence
Standardised tests can indicate possible strengths and weaknesses of students’ learning. The ARBs can be used to probe areas of interest in greater depth.
Completing an appropriate ARB task may
  • provide additional evidence that an aspect of a progression step has been reached
  • confirm that an aspect of a progression step has not yet been understood/mastered
  • provide further information for focussing next teaching.
Analysing students' responses and deciding next learning steps
Many ARB tasks include ways to explore why a student gives a particular response. Once it is understood what is going wrong for a student, it is much easier to decide what to do next.
Extensive notes for teachers accompany many ARB tasks to help analyse and understand student responses. Suggestions are made for possible next learning steps.
Student involvement in assessment
Students can be given the opportunity to discuss their responses with the teacher and/or other students. This promotes active involvement of students in the assessment process.
Teacher-designed assessment
A significant amount of evidence for OTJ should come from students' normal classroom activities.This judgment needs to be based on evidence collected over a period of time, much of it derived from daily classroom interactions and observations. ARB tasks provide good models for teachers to use as they develop their own assessment activities.
Some cautions
  • An ARB task should never be used by itself to decide whether a student has met a particular step on a progression. It provides one piece of evidence that the student is at the step.
  • ARB tasks provide in depth information about an aspect of a progression step. They do not provide evidence of meeting all of the requirements of a particular step.
  • ARB tasks rely on teachers analysing students' work. Moderation across classes, or between schools, ensures consistency of their judgements.
  • Many ARB tasks have been assigned a difficulty band for each question. This provides an indication of how difficult the trial students found the task. It is not, however, relevant to the step on the progression itself.