6 May 2005
SSC report hard-hitting but fair
PPTA is welcoming a hard-hitting report from the State Services Commission (SSC) designed to improve the operation of the Scholarship exams.
PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said the SSC report didn’t mince words and reflected the Association’s view that inadequacies in NZQA administration and a lack of genuine consultation with the profession had contributed to the Scholarship exam problems.
“There was a lack of risk management with regard to Scholarship. NZQA didn’t engage with the profession over possible inter-subject variability and clearly the agency’s expectations differed from those of the public and profession in that they did not see this variability of results as a significant risk to the qualification’s credibility.”
Te Whaiti believed teachers would welcome recommendations for two professional development days in 2005 and 2006, and the development of exemplar resources for Scholarship. PPTA research Teachers talk about NCEA clearly showed teachers felt under supported in both those areas for the NCEA as a whole, including for Scholarship.
“The agency 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.
“The two professional development days are a good start but we hope the Minister will look at offering further opportunities for teachers at all levels of the NCEA to improve their practice, as the Ministry provided from 2001-2004 with NCEA jumbo days.”
Te Whaiti also praised a recommendation to develop consistent guidance to marking panels of different subjects on how to award Scholarships.
“Though we can’t completely eliminate inter-subject variability, at the very least we should ensure that examinations are at similar levels of difficulty, consistent with the generic description of Scholarship, and are marked in ways which reflect the Scholarship standards.”
She said PPTA welcomed recommendations that NZQA develop a comprehensive implementation plan for scholarship in 2005 and beyond and that it set up a dedicated implementation team for 2005.
The Association was also pleased that both NZQA and the Ministry of Education were being encouraged to improve interagency coordination, as PPTA’s submission had highlighted a lack of clarity about the roles and responsibilities of the two government agencies.
“Ultimately the division of responsibilities between NZQA and the Ministry has not worked well for the profession or for the success of the qualification.”