Education Minister Hekia Parata has raised the possibility of introducing a new level of assessment for children in their first two years of secondary schooling.
Years 9 and 10 are not covered by national standards in reading, writing and maths, nor by the NCEA.
Recent debates about assessment have included extending the national standards into years 9 and 10, getting rid of the first level of the NCEA, and reducing the assessment workload on secondary school teachers.
Ms Parata said she and the teaching profession were aware an assessment tool was needed for those two years.
"We don't have any information for years nine and 10 because there isn't an assessment tool, or range of assessment tools that have been agreed on in a way that would give us reliable national data," she said.
There were no plans for a national test but Ms Parata said wanted to hear what the sector believed would work best.
Secondary Principals Association president Tom Parsons said principals were not interested in introducing new levels of assessment for students in those years as there was a lot of assessment already.
"The question (which) comes down with our members is 'when are we going to teach - we're doing a whole lot of testing. When are we going to teach'?
"I don't think that there is any drive to assess kids at year 9 and year 10."
Schools kept a close eye on their year 9 and 10 students to ensure they were ready for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement when they reached year 11.