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Good Teaching, Government Policy, League Tables, Mainstream Media Reports, Protest - Have a Voice, SOSNZ, Standardised Tests

National Standards Reporting – And So It Begins…

Hekia Parata and National, you should be totally ashamed.

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.

~Dianne SOSNZ

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"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


3 thoughts on “National Standards Reporting – And So It Begins…

  1. Shame on the Minister and the Govenment. This is a sad day for New Zealand.


    Posted by Megan Versalko | September 22, 2012, 8:36 am
  2. One teeny thing that always amuses me, girls trump boys across all the fields, but hello, they are not the bosses of the world yet so it seems these silly measuring tools are not predictors of success, they simply allow the worried middle class to fret over whether little johnny will be done over at the local school compared to one a drive away with richer parents.Very sad. divide and rule JK.


    Posted by Elizabeth | September 22, 2012, 6:42 pm
  3. It’s the subtleties that get me, and it’s probably not the journalists, it might be the subeditors who can’t afford to be subtle, seeking a headline to fit a certain character-space allowance, under deadline pressure.
    Just read the story “National standards shock: Big classes work”. Featured school with big classes – Bucklands Beach Primary – decile 10, class size 24, which isn’t bad compared to some I know of (28). I thought the feature “Why teachers are furious (and parents are curious)” did well in highlighting the frustrating fact that the playing field isn’t level. And! FINALLY! Someone got Dr John Hattie, king of data and whose research has been used to justify the push for large class sizes, to go on the record about it and express some reservations about the way data is being used. So that was positive, I guess. Just wish that had been the front page lead.
    But again, the subtleties: the intro read: “A comprehensive Herald on Sunday survey of primary schools has revealed wide discrepancies in our kids’ education.” But the discrepancies aren’t in the education – it’s in their access to food, to books, to parents’ time.

    Doesn’t it just feel like the Emperor’s New Clothes, waiting for the child with access to the spotlight to point out that politicians are in the nuddy, and to ask:

    We know kids aren’t succeeding – whose job is it to make sure all families have a secure future and that their children are fed? And why, globally, can’t we afford to do that any more, though we’ve been diligently paying our taxes? Ahem?

    Why don’t you make sure every child has the same small class size and the same level of resources, if it’s personally important for your own children to have that advantage?

    Why on earth are we spending precious tax dollars on a system that didn’t achieve the hoped-for sweeping changes in the UK, the USA, and Australia?

    And if kids aren’t writing… why on earth are you sticking a knife into any hope of catching kids’ interest in it by making it paint-by-numbers and a subject of high-stakes testing?

    Thanks again for your fire and determination… Edmund Burke had it right on two counts – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [or people] to do nothing”
    and “Education is the cheap defence of nations” (i.e. invest in your society).


    Posted by Lena | September 23, 2012, 9:15 am

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