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Another pointless and costly National Standards exercise

national standardsThe publication of unreliable National Standards data by region today is an expensive distraction that risks creating an unhealthy competition between regions but will do nothing to help lift the educational achievement of students.

NZEI Immediate Past President Ian Leckie is questioning why the Government is releasing such poor quality and unreliable data.

“It appears the Government is trying to create some kind of regional competition around students’ results, but it’s particularly pointless because there is no mechanism for addressing student achievement or school effectiveness at a regional government level.”

Mr Leckie says the Government’s ongoing obsession with shonky National Standards has been an extremely frustrating exercise for teachers.

“More than $40 million of public money is being wasted on producing National Standards data. But teachers and schools already know which students are under-achieving. The big problem is a lack of funding to share effective teaching strategies and provide specialist support so that every child gets the education they need.”

He says the regional break-down shows variation between regions that are within the margin of error in most cases. 

“Even if the data is to be believed, all it tells us is that in regions with the highest rates of child poverty, student achievement is lower.  This tells us nothing new.”

Mr Leckie says while the regional data is uninformative and meaningless, he fears that the impending publication of school-by-school data will be very damaging.

“The publication of detailed school data by children at every year level later this month will unfairly label some schools as failing  – and risks identifying and labelling children as “failing” when they are making normal progress for their age.  

“The Minister’s own advice is that the Standards, which were never trialled or tested, need to be reviewed and adjusted. We advise parents not to place any importance on this information but to talk to their children’s teacher if they want a true picture of their child’s progress and success at school.”

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