15 February 2005
Widen inquiry, teachers say
The inquiry into the NCEA scholarship exam doesn’t go far enough and should be widened to investigate exam variability at all levels of NCEA, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
She said PPTA welcomed the inquiry and was happy to contribute to solutions to the problems at scholarship level.
“Questions must be asked of NZQA about the way it has run the scholarship examinations.
“The agency failed to adequately respond to teachers’ concerns about the difficulty of the exam in some subjects and didn’t provide the level of resources teachers needed in order to know what would be required of students in the scholarship exams.
“Teachers weren’t given any examples of what would merit a pass, let alone an outstanding level of achievement, at scholarship level. They were flying blind.”
But Te Whaiti called for the inquiry to also look into variability in the difficulty of exams across all subjects and at all levels of NCEA.
“It is not good enough for NZQA to say that scaling masked these problems under the former norm-referenced system. NCEA is a new system and its robustness depends on its consistency and fairness.
“With standards-based assessment, examiners are now required to set an exam at the appropriate level of difficulty rather than relying on artificial scaling.
“NZQA needs to find a better way of ensuring that the level of difficulty of the exams is consistent from year to year and across subjects.”
Te Whaiti said most teachers, schools and parents still supported the NCEA but the Government urgently needed to engage with the profession to protect the interests of secondary students in 2005 and beyond.