2 December 2005
NCEA report card shows promise
The Learning Curves report released yesterday paints an encouraging picture of the direction NCEA is heading, but there is plenty of room for improvement, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti says.
She said the report reflected the huge amount of work schools were doing to maximise the potential of NCEA for their students.
“The three-year research project has provided valuable information about the impact of NCEA on schools, teachers and students, and pointers to how the system is evolving.
“It is encouraging to hear that most students give NCEA the thumbs up. NCEA has given schools the opportunity to offer courses that meet their students’ needs and students the flexibility to choose the combination of subjects that best suits them.
“Many students see the NCEA as motivating and relevant, and many are striving for merit and excellence levels as a way to produce, as the report says, ‘a point of difference in the qualification they achieved’.”
On the downside, Te Whaiti said it was disappointing that some students still viewed collection of credits as more important than actual learning gains. “The obvious question for any qualification system is, how can it support students to focus on the learning and not just credit accumulation?”
She said Learning Curves also highlighted concerns about the growing divide between academic and vocational courses – something NCEA was supposed to eliminate.
“It appears that there is more rather than less streaming of students and that the students choosing non-traditional courses are more likely to make poor strategic decisions.”
Interestingly, the report highlighted teachers’ belief that externally gained credits were more valuable than internal credits.
“The report suggests teachers have ongoing concerns about moderation and consistency of assessment between schools,” Te Whaiti said.
“PPTA has proposed an assessment advisory service which would help to build teachers’ capacity to assess accurately and effectively, and help them find manageable ways of doing so.
“We need to reassure people that internal assessment is as robust and high quality as it can be, and we need to support teachers to conduct their internal assessment role reliably and consistently across schools, and to find ways that are manageable and do not lead to teaching being assessment-driven.”