Primary education in New Zealand has already been damaged by National Standards and inequality is set to grow.
Those are two key findings of a three year research project released today by Waikato University into the effect of National Standards on schools and student learning.
In “Final Report: National Standards and the Damage Done”, Professor Martin Thrupp has found that despite the best efforts of teachers and principals, National Standards have already started to impact on children by narrowing the school curriculum.
NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski says this is exactly what has happened overseas and exactly what education professionals have predicted would happen here.
“Assessing and measuring National Standards is absorbing more time and energy at the expense of individualised learning and a richer curriculum.
“Professor Thrupp’s research shows how National Standards threatens to increase inequality by leading to a “two-tier curriculum” where children in more disadvantaged areas will be forced into a less rewarding and interesting education.
“The sad irony is that those who will miss out will be the very children that the Minister of Education Hekia Parata claims to want to see achieve.
“We would urge the government to take this study seriously and either abandon the flawed policy or adopt Professor Thrupp’s recommendations to remove or reduce the damage that National Standards are causing. “
NZEI commissioned the Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (RAINS) Project, the only independent qualitative research on National Standards, in 2010.