Kei Tua o te Pae

Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars is a best-practice guide that will help teachers continue to improve the quality of their teaching.

The exemplars are a series of books that will help teachers to understand and strengthen children's learning. It also shows how children, parents and whānau can contribute to this assessment and ongoing learning.

We are making improvements to our Download-to-Print functionality, so if you want a printed copy there are PDF versions available at the bottom of the main cover page.

Protecting and enhancing the motivation to learn

Assessment for learning will protect and enhance children’s motivation to learn. In 2002, Terry Crooks, one of New Zealand’s leading commentators on assessment, set out some requirements for effective learning.

"First, people gain motivation and are most likely to be learning effectively when they experience success or progress on something that they regard as worthwhile and significantly challenging. At its best, learning under these conditions occurs in the state Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow”: single-minded concentration on the task, accompanied by confidence and determination that it will be completed successfully.

page 5

My second point about motivation is that personal desire to learn something is an incredibly powerful force, often able to carry learners through repeated disappointments and difficulties ...

page 6

My final point about motivation is the importance of how students interpret their success or failure. It matters whether they attribute successes to ability, effort, or good luck or attribute failures to lack of effort, lack of ability, or bad luck ... Effort attributions, whether for success or failure, tend to lead to improvement of performance, whereas ability attributions and chance attributions do not."

page 6

He cites Csikszentmihalyi:

"The chief impediments to learning are not cognitive. It is not that students cannot learn; it is that they do not wish to. If educators invested a fraction of the energy they now spend on trying to transmit information in trying to stimulate the students’ enjoyment in learning, we could achieve much better results."

Csikszentmihalyi (1990), page 115

Crooks makes three other points about learning. He emphasises the importance of encouraging meaningful, deep learning, collaboration between students, and partnership between teachers, learners, and their families.

Learning with and from peers, whether in planned or unplanned ways, tends to lead to deeper and more enjoyable learning as well as to the development of communication skills and important social skills and attitudes.

The best teachers foster a sense of partnership between themselves and their students. They also build partnerships with parents to maximise the extent to which students’ learning is guided and supported consistently by the students’ teachers, parents, and peers. True partnership, based on trust, respect, and high-quality communication can create a very powerful learning synergy.