Newspaper editors, you should be just as ashamed.
Publishing shonky data and interpreting it badly does nothing to help our children or improve education for anyone. The vast majority of teachers know exactly where their students are at and where they need to go next. Nothing about this data collection exercise will inform them or their practice. It won’t help principals plan where to focus their limited resources. It won’t inform children about their skills and goals.
What it will do is panic parents. They will pore over newspaper articles and try to make sense of it all, with no real understanding of what they mean, how the data was collected, and what it does or doesn’t say about their children’s schools.
Newspapers will, of course, be sensationalist in their interpretation and reporting, because that’s what makes good headlines. Never mind who it worries or panics, and never mind how accurate or responsible their reporting is. The Herald have already started it all with this shabby journalism that chooses to focus on the lowest of the three collected figures (figures that I reiterate are not even reliable) and make totally unstartling non-revelations that the English language changes and moves over time and that this affects how people write. Quelle Surprise.
And is it really news that students with English as a second language are playing catch-up? I wonder how many journalists or National Party MPs would do well in a writing test in Urdu or Dutch or Spanish?
This is why the data is so ridiculous. Without looking at an individual student’s circumstances, it’s all sound bites and spin, and it means nothing much to anyone.
John Key says “National Standards in education are a critical part of the National-led plan for securing a brighter future for New Zealand children”. How, Mr Key? Tell us how shonky data, poorly reported helps us towards a brighter future. Or is the term ‘brighter future’ just a euphemism for the equally shonky charter schools you are planning to foist on NZ?
“There is a unanimous expert opinion – even among those
championing the potential of the National Standards – that
it would be very foolish indeed to make judgments about any school
on the basis of their results.” (Stuff)
Journalists publishing poor, sensationalist reports on National Standards, and National Party for using them to promote a faulty educational ideology, shame on you all.