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Teachers Council Press Release: NZ Education is High Performing

Thursday, 7 June 2012, 2:39 pm
Press Release: NZ Teachers Council

Media Release:

Public can be assured New Zealand education system is high performing

“New Zealand parents should be assured that our education system is high performing”, according to Dr Peter Lind, the Director of the New Zealand Teachers Council.

The latest OECD Report (2012): OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education: New Zealand has confirmed this view.

Emeritus Professor Warwick Elley was reported recently as saying, “the reason it should provide us assurance is because the authors of this report are top experts from other OECD countries… Using a set of rich data, they are able to provide an independent, comparative perspective and are ideally placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the New Zealand education system”.

This view is confirmed by our rankings on The Programme for International Student Assessment(PISA). It is a worldwide study by the OECD of 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading. New Zealand consistently scores in the top half dozen OECD countries, even though, according to the evidence gathered by the OECD, we spend far less per student than nearly all of the other 34 OECD nations.

The great majority of our students are repeatedly up with the best in the world. In the latest survey, New Zealand students were ranked fourth in reading literacy, fourth in scientific literacy and seventh in mathematical literacy.

“It is not easy to maintain these rankings and New Zealand has consistently maintained its overall ranking on these measures since they were first introduced in 2000,” said Dr Lind.

Three examples illustrate the significance of New Zealand’s achievement. Australia has recorded a significant decline since 2000 on all the skills measured. England has slipped from seventh in 2000 to 25th in reading, eighth to 28th in maths and fourth to 16th in science. The United States only rates around the average of all OECD countries.

“This reflects very favourably on the quality of New Zealand teachers.”

However, it is true that the latest PISA survey still shows a wide dispersion of scores among New Zealand students.

“Lifting the performance of those New Zealand students that are underachieving must be a priority for our education system, but without allowing the slippage in our overall rankings as has recently occurred in Australia.

“To achieve this requires a strong commitment from the teaching profession and the Government in partnership. There are no silver bullets and a focus on a single variable will not achieve the goal intended. It will require dialogue and detailed consideration of any initiatives proposed,” said Dr Lind.


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