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Ministry of Education.
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Summary and Research Finding: Stage One

The initial stage of the research, largely explorative in nature, ran from November 2007 to the end of January 2009. The initial focus of Stage One was to ensure all research teachers had the opportunity to develop a shared understanding of the five components of the two new strands of the revised technology curriculum – Technological Knowledge (TK) and Nature of Technology (NoT).

First, teachers met together in Wellington. Next, they were individually supported to develop and trial learning experiences across a range of contexts.

As per Ministry of Education guidance for 2008-2009, all teachers concentrated on providing technology programmes focussed on the Technological Practice strand. Thus, in most cases the introduction of a learning focus from the Technological Knowledge or Nature of Technology strand was linked to supporting learning in Technological Practice.

Reviewing and refining the draft Indicators of Progression previously developed for the components of TK and NoT was the key focus of Stage One. An evaluation of their usefulness as a tool for mediating the achievement objectives into classroom programmes was also undertaken to determine whether the draft Indicators of Progression:

  • helped teachers develop a shared understanding of each component
  • provided valid descriptions of progression
  • supported formative interactions between teachers and students
  • allowed for clear judgements on students pre and post-teaching understandings.

Student data was collected primarily through researcher interviews for each component. In most cases the interviews were held during the final stage of the unit or just after it had been completed. Where appropriate, students were interviewed about more than one component.

A total of 359 interviews were completed, analysed, and used as a basis for reviewing the draft indicators for TK and NoT. Where additional data was available from student portfolio work, this was also taken into account. The number of interviews undertaken for each component is presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Interviews per Component

Characteristics of Technology (CoT) Characteristics of Technological Outcomes(CoTO) Technological Modelling (TM) Technological Products (TP) Technological Systems (TS)
81 55 78 92 53

The refined indicators were then used to make judgments on the level of achievement each student exhibited. The results of this are presented in Tables 2 to 6. Those students categorised as emergent showed what was originally referred to as misconceptions or partial understandings and were judged as indicative of pre-level 1 or 0 understandings. Emergent, as a sub-level 1 category, was added to the indicators for each component.

Table 2: Level Distribution for Characteristics of Technology

Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
number of Students 19 43 16 2 1 0 0 0 0

percentage of Students


23% 53% 19.7% 2.5% 1.2% 0 0 0 0

Table 3: Level Distribution for Characteristics of Technological Outcomes

Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
number of Students 8 24 21 2 0 0 0 0 0

percentage of Students


14.5% 43% 38% 3.5% 0 0 0 0 0

Table 4: Level Distribution for Technological Modelling

Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
number of Students 0 39 22 7 1 0 0 0 0

percentage of Students


11.5% 50% 28.2% 9.0% 1.3% 0 0 0 0

Table 5: Level Distribution for Technological Products

Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
number of Students 6 48 37 1 0 0 0 0 0
percentage of Students
6.5% 52.2% 40.2% 1.1% 0 0 0 0 0

Table 6: Level Distribution for Technological Systems

Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
number of Students 17 23 10 2 1 0 0 0 0

percentage of Students


32% 43% 19% 4% 2% 0 0 0 0

The majority of students were categorised as reflective of level 1 or 2 understandings. For Characteristics of Technology (CoT), however, there was a more even split between emergent and levels 1 and 2.

Technological Modelling (TM) showed a slightly higher percentage of students showing level 3 understandings although this was still only 9%.

Only three examples of level 4 understandings were found, one in each of the components CoT, TM, and Technological Systems (TS).

This stage of the research found that while the initial draft versions of the Technological Knowledge (TK) and Nature of Technology (NoT) indicators provided a useful starting point for discussions with teachers regarding what each component was about, they did not seem to reflect clear progressions. Therefore, they were less useful in making formative or summative assessments.

Many of the indicators provided in the initial draft appeared to indicate levels of understanding above or below the level they had been positioned. An analysis of the student data allowed for a significant revisiting of how each component progressed, and indicators at each level were revised accordingly.

The data collected also provided additional insight into what student achievement might look like at levels 1-3 and the sorts of formative interactions that might result in shifting student understanding. The revised version of the TK and NoT Indicators of Progression were published in April 2009.

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