Supplementary Conference Paper on NCEA
Note to Branches: Because of the late arrival of this paper in branches, a response sheet has been provided for use where regions have already held their pre-conference meetings. This response sheet should be sent to your Regional Secretary for circulation among your conference delegates, so that your views can still be represented at Annual Conference.
Seeking Consensus A Supplementary Conference Paper on the NCEA
Introduction As anticipated in the original paper ‘The NCEA. Result: Not Yet Achieved’, the ground is shifting in relation to NCEA Level 2 and 3. In the lead-up to Annual Conference, PPTA is maintaining a position which reflects the views of members as expressed in the ballot held at the end of June. The instruction to members to refuse to work towards the implementation of Level 2 in 2003 or Level 3 in 2004 has continued, and Level 2 training has been postponed indefinitely. However, some branches and individual members have begun to express a wish to trial or fully implement NCEA Level 2 next year. Whether these branches and individuals are confined to those who were already in the 23% of members who expressed a wish in June to proceed to Level 2 next year, or whether that group is increasing in size, is not clear. In addition, some Principals have publicly expressed a belief that their schools are ready to implement Level 2, though in some of these cases further investigation has revealed that Principals are not reflecting accurately the views of their staff. In late August, the Minister declared an intention to make implementation of Level 2 optional in 2003, with the alternative of Sixth Form Certificate available for schools or departments who chose not to opt in. Since then, there have been several meetings with the Minister and officials of NZQA and the Ministry to try to find a middle ground. This paper has taken their views into consideration but there are still major points of difference, particularly around whether there can be dual systems of assessment in 2004, i.e. Level 3 and Scholarship, and Bursary. The implementation problems described in the original paper remain. A series of meetings with Heads of Departments was held during August and September, and almost nothing came out of those meetings which was not already covered in PPTA’s Conference Paper. The Heads of Departments conveyed very clearly to the Ministry and NZQA that there were huge problems which the agencies needed to address if the qualification was to have credibility and be manageable for schools and teachers. They also expressed frustration that the problems had not been addressed already. PPTA has no confidence that these problems will be fully addressed in the immediate future. For that reason, we believe that most schools and departments would choose to defer implementing Level 2 until 2004, if the alternative of SFC was available, and Level 3 until 2005 if the alternative of Bursary was available.
A Professional Decision Despite these concerns,
it has to be accepted that a number of members in some
schools, especially those with extensive Unit Standard
experience, hold a sincere belief that if the Level 2
training is allowed to proceed in Term 4, they can be
sufficiently well-prepared to implement Level 2 next year.
National Office has recently received many messages from
Branches expressing this view, and many messages expressing
a contrary view too. With settlement of the Collective
Agreement, the Association’s policy position must be based
on members’ professional judgment rather than an industrial
response, which means that members must be enabled to make
their own judgment according to their own particular
situation and perspective on the issues. The recommendations
in this paper try to establish a position which will allow
all members to exercise the autonomy which is a key feature
of professionalism. However collegiality is also a feature
of professionalism, and because secondary teachers mostly
work in subject teams, conceding to the will of the majority
in one’s department or school may be necessary. A third
feature of professionalism, altruism (or client-focus), is
also significant here, and some teachers will perceive this
as requiring that their students be able to proceed with
Level 2 next year, while others will perceive their
students’ interests as being best served through SFC. The
paper also recognises that unity within the union would be
endangered by persisting with a position (e.g. continuation
of the complete ban on Level 2 implementation next year)
which a significant group of members have told us they would
find it very difficult, or impossible, to adhere to. It
would not be in the interests of the union for large groups
of members, even whole branches, to find that their
professional judgment was at variance with a union
directive. Nevertheless, PPTA recognises the potential for
conflict within schools under the policy position
established here, particularly in situations where
departments or schools are very split about whether to
proceed with implementation of Level 2 in 2003 or Level 3 in
2004. We are also conscious that members may feel
vulnerable to pressure by Heads of Departments or by
Principals and/or Boards of Trustees. Recommendation 4
provides for a secret ballot to be used in voting on when to
implement each level. Guidelines will be provided to assist
members in determining how to vote. (See Draft Guidelines
in Appendix A.) PPTA will work with principals to secure
their co-operation with the democratic process set out here.
Branches will need to monitor the voting in departments to
ensure that democratic processes are adhered to and to
ensure that the accuracy of the count can be attested to,
and provide collective support to members where this has not
happened. If conflict is unable to be resolved within the
school, further support will be available from PPTA Field
Officers. Implementation Timeline The agencies (Ministry and
NZQA) and the Minister are committed to implementation of
NCEA Level 3 in 2004 for a number of reasons: The tertiary
institutions are gearing up to recognise Level 3 Achievement
Standard results as entry qualifications for the 2005
academic year, and it is argued that they would not be happy
with two different qualifications operating. If Level 3 is
not implemented in 2004, there is a fear that alternative
qualifications such as the Cambridge exams will gain such a
foothold that NCEA Level 3 will never attain the status of
the major New Zealand qualification at Year 13. The agencies
have advised the Minister that it would be impossible for a
choice of qualification to operate at Level 3, because it
would not be practicable to run Bursary exams alongside
exams for NCEA Level 3 and the Scholarship standards.
3.2 For this reason, the Minister has shown a willingness to
offer the alternative of SFC at Level 2 for 2003 and 2004,
to enable teachers to implement Level 3 in 2004 and, if they
choose, not implement Level 2 until 2005, thus enabling
teachers to implement only one level a year. He has also
agreed that a limited implementation of Level 2 in 2003
would be closely monitored by the agencies to ensure that
problems were identified and addressed. (It would also, of
course, be closely monitored by PPTA.) 3.3 However, PPTA has
informed the Minister that it does not believe that a
consensus can be arrived at which involves full
implementation of Level 3 in 2004, and instead proposes the
timeline described in Recommendation 3, and shown in the
diagram below. In voting for this timeline, members need to
be aware that further conflict over whether Bursary will be
available as an alternative in 2004 is
2002 2003 2004 2005
L1 NCEA L1 NCEA L1 NCEA L1 NCEA
Limited L2 NCEA L2 NCEA L2 NCEA
Bursary Bursary Bursary
Limited L3 NCEA & Scholarship L3 NCEA & Scholarship
Unit Standards Unit Standards Unit Standards Unit Standards
3.4 Limited implementation of Level 2 in 2003 and Level 3 in 2004 would be opted into by departments which, after conducting the democratic vote referred to in Recommendations 4 and 5, decided that they were ready to do so. A suggested wording for that ballot is included in the Draft Guidelines (Appendix A). 3.5 Concerns about workload as implementation proceeds could be addressed in the following ways: Problems with Level 2 and Level 3 would be identified during limited monitored implementation by departments which chose to opt in, and addressed before full implementation began. Schools could choose to significantly reduce their assessment at Level 1 from 2003 onwards, recognising that although for most students Year 11 is the final year of compulsory education, few students actually leave school at the end of that year and require a qualification. Schools or departments could choose to offer only or mostly the externally assessed standards at one or more levels. Training 4.1 The Minister has expressed an intention to offer a day of generic NCEA training to all teachers early in Term 4. This will cover reviewing Level 1 and general training on development of standards-based assessment tasks, to assist those teachers who have requested assistance so that they can modify exemplars provided or develop their own tasks more suited to their programmes and students. PPTA does not oppose members attending such training. 4.2 Schools and departments which opted to implement Level 2 in 2003 would be offered one or possibly two days of training for Level 2 after seniors leave for final exams. Materials that have been prepared for the Level 2 training would, however, be made available early in Term 4 to assist teachers in making their decision on whether to implement Level 2 in 2003. Teachers will judge from the quality of these materials how well the officials have been listening to them. Independent Review 5.1 It is of serious concern that there is no research being conducted to establish whether the NCEA is achieving the objectives set for it, such as to improve students’ access to qualifications, to reduce the number of students who leave school without any qualifications, and to encourage excellence. Serious questions have been raised by some academics about the model of standards-based assessment being used in the NCEA, particularly in regard to questions of reliability and validity. It is essential that research be funded to do ongoing research as the initiative develops, as envisaged by Recommendation 6. No major change of this kind should happen without such research.
Recommendations N.B. The recommendations below replace those in the original paper. THAT the report be received. THAT PPTA continue to demand adequate resourcing for implementation of the NCEA at all levels. THAT full implementation of Level 2 NCEA be deferred until 2004, and Level 3 until 2005. THAT limited monitored implementation of Level 2 NCEA in 2003 and Level 3 NCEA in 2004 be allowed to proceed, subject to members requiring that a democratic vote be held in each department, by secret ballot, to determine whether the department opts into implementation or chooses to offer SFC and/or Bursary for a further year. THAT PPTA members use the Guidelines provided to assist them in making their decision on implementation of NCEA Level 2 and Level 3. THAT PPTA calls on the Ministry of Education to commission an ongoing independent review of the NCEA by assessment experts.
APPENDIX A – Draft Guidelines
Level 2 NCEA – Proceed With Caution
The following Guidelines have been prepared to assist and support PPTA members in making a professional decision as to whether to implement NCEA Level 2 in 2003 or Level 3 in 2004 in their subject department or to defer implementation to the following year.
The Guidelines reflect the Annual Conference decision “That limited monitored implementation of Level 2 NCEA in 2003 and Level 3 NCEA in 2004 be allowed to proceed, subject to members requiring that a democratic vote be held in each department, by secret ballot, to determine whether the department opts into implementation or chooses to offer SFC and/or Bursary for a further year”, and provide some criteria by which members might make that decision.
It is PPTA’s view that the default position for members should be the continuation of SFC in 2003 and Bursary in 2004. For those who are giving serious consideration to implementing Level 2 and/or Level 3 earlier, they should reassure themselves that requirements in the following areas have been met:
Professional development Provision of resources Time allowances Moderation systems Procedures for assessment and re-assessment Allocation of ancillary time Funding for photocopying Funding for relevant hardware and software School systems for recording of results and submission of entries
A checklist is provided for members to use in making their decision.
A suggested form of wording for use in department voting is provided on the next page. Its use is not mandatory, but it is provided for your assistance.
BALLOT ON INTRODUCTION OF LEVEL 2 [ SUBJECT ] IN 2003
After completing the Checklist provided, do you believe that [ subject ] should be offered as an NCEA Level 2 course by this department in 2003?
Abstain (Please abstain if you will definitely not be involved in teaching the indicated subject at Year 12 in 2003.)
Aspect Yes No
Professional development Is the training material and the number of training days offered for Level 2/3 adequate to enable you to implement the new level in a professional manner? (It needs to cover aspects such as development of suitable courses, making judgments against the standards and the development of quality assessment tasks.)
Provision of resources Are the assessment tasks available of adequate quality and variety for you to be able to use them without major amendment?
Time allowances Have you been given the compensatory time you need to introduce the new level in a professional manner, e.g. in the form of extra non-contact time in your timetable, late start or early closure of school once a week?
Moderation systems Have you developed systems for internal moderation which work effectively and do not create extra work? Is the external moderation system reliable and effective?
Procedures for assessment and re-assessment Have you found ways to manage assessment issues such as catch-ups for absentees and re-assessment in ways which do not create extra work?
Allocation of ancillary time Has your department been given extra ancillary staffing to meet the demands of delivering two or three levels of the NCEA?
Funding for photocopying Has your department been given increased funding to cover the increased photocopying that would be required for the delivery of two or three levels of the NCEA?
Funding for relevant hardware and software With each level of the NCEA that you implement, the demands for computer hardware and software increase. In addition, some subjects require equipment such as video cameras, sound recording equipment, etc. Is your department adequately equipped to deliver a second and then a third level of the NCEA?
School systems for recording of results and submission of entries There have been major problems in 2002 with Classroom Manager and other software used to record results and do student entries. Are your school’s systems able to cope with the extra demands that would be imposed by a second and then a third level of the NCEA?
PPTA recommends that unless you can tick ‘Yes’ for all the requirements, you should not vote to implement Level 2 in 2003 or Level 3 in 2004.
Response Sheet on Supplementary NCEA Paper
(To be used if your branch has not been able to meet to discuss this paper before your region’s pre-conference meeting.)
No. Recommendation For Against
2 That PPTA continue to demand adequate resourcing for implementation of the NCEA at all levels.
3 That full implementation of Level 2 NCEA be deferred until 2004, and Level 3 until 2005.
4 That limited monitored implementation of Level 2 NCEA in 2003 and Level 3 NCEA in 2004 be allowed to proceed, subject to members requiring that a democratic vote be held in each department, by secret ballot, to determine whether the department opts into implementation or chooses to offer SFC and/or Bursary for a further year.
5 That PPTA members use the Guidelines provided to assist them in making their decision on implementation of NCEA Level 2 and Level 3.
6 That PPTA calls on the Ministry of Education to commission an ongoing independent review of the NCEA by assessment experts.
Signed:______________________________ (Branch Officer)