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Education, National Standards, New Zealand, Research on Education, Testing

Waikato University research reveals National Standards damage to schools

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.

Prof Martin ThruppIn “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.

About Save Our Schools NZ

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


2 thoughts on “Waikato University research reveals National Standards damage to schools

  1. This article is relevant to the debate on national standards – specifically NCEA.


    Posted by Brent Silby | November 28, 2013, 10:17 am
  2. Thank you for sharing that link, Brent – very interesting indeed to read both sides of the debate so clearly laid out. I was particularly struck by this section:

    “Hume and Colb observed that, “Many decisions to do with classroom practice were effectively taken out of the individual teachers’ hands – instead judgments were made collectively at departmental level for accountability reasons” (2009). They noted that, in these classrooms, “the student-experienced curriculum appeared to be focused on a narrow view of scientific inquiry” (2009). Aitken and Sinnema point out that a narrow curriculum will alienate some students: “Activities that are interesting build and sustain motivation for learning. Learners are not however motivated in the same way, and their interests do not necessarily coincide with those of the teacher. For this reason, stimulating interest involves deliberate design that is sensitive to different learner motivations and responses” (2008).”

    I shall re-read and ponder further.
    Thanks again. Dianne


    Posted by Dianne - SaveOurSchoolsNZ | November 28, 2013, 10:24 am

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