The 1998 Year 12 English Study Design Trial: A Standards-Based Alternative to Unit Standards

  • Terry Locke
  • Cedric Hall


This paper provides an outline of the development and trialling during 1998 of the English Study Design (ESD), a standards-based programme in Year 12 English adopted by 13 secondary schools in Auckland, Christchurch and Otago-Southland. The programme was developed as an alternative to the unit standard system which the design team considered to be flawed on both pedagogical and administrative grounds. This paper reports on the structure and organisation of the ESD programme, its design philosophy, the assessment procedures employed, the results of the evaluation, and the implications of all of these for the Government’s Achievement 2001 initiative. The results of the evaluation show a high level of support for the programme by teachers, but variation between schools in student satisfaction ratings. Of particular significance to the Ministry’s Qualifications Development Group are the highly favourable ratings (100% satisfaction) in respect of teacher workloads and administrative manageability. The writers conclude by cautioning against the view that a simple modification of unit standards is all that is needed in order to overcome the shortcomings of the existing system.


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Author Biographies

Terry Locke
Cedric Hall
How to Cite
LOCKE, Terry; HALL, Cedric. The 1998 Year 12 English Study Design Trial: A Standards-Based Alternative to Unit Standards. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 8, feb. 1998. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2020. doi:


Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability