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Principals: No Overhaul Of NCEA Needed

Principals: No Overhaul Of NCEA Needed

The PPTA Principals’ Council has rejected claims by National Party leader Don Brash that the NCEA needs to be completely overhauled.

Chairperson and principal of Mt Hutt College Don McLeod said it was wrong to use the scholarship problems to undermine confidence in the entire NCEA qualification system for political end.

“It is fair to say that valid points have been raised about the scholarship exam and also about apparent variability in the exams at Levels 1, 2 and 3,” Mr McLeod said. “People rightly want answers about why scholarship went wrong and what will stop the same thing happening again.

“But it is not in students’ best interests for either politicians or principals to jump on the bandwagon and imply that the system is inherently flawed because of some rough edges.”

Principals Council is a PPTA advisory body made up of principals from throughout New Zealand. It has been meeting in Wellington over the past two days to consider issues surrounding the NCEA. Mr McLeod said Council members believed the NCEA was a sound, if under-resourced, qualification.

He said the NCEA had presented a huge change to the secondary school qualification and assessment structures. However, despite increased workload and administrative burdens, schools had managed to implement the system with very few problems.

“No change of this magnitude could be perfectly implemented, and we don’t pretend that there are not some concerns to be dealt with,” Mr McLeod said. “But it is easy to forget the limitations of School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate and Bursary, especially the widespread student failure and lack of motivation they created.

“The NCEA in contrast is providing opportunities that weren’t there before: a far wider subject choice for our students, more opportunities for teachers to develop new and exciting programmes that meet student needs, and the chance to assess students’ performance across a whole subject. “Instead of reinventing the whole NCEA system, let’s focus on the issues that need to be addressed, and support schools and teachers in getting it right.”

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