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Report into NCEA ICT Standards Raises Concerns

NZCS Report into NCEA ICT Standards Raises Serious Concerns

PRESS RELEASE – NZ Computer Society Inc.
26 May 2008
For Immediate Release

A comprehensive report released today by the New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS) has found serious and significant failings in a number of ICT-related NCEA Technology Achievement Standards at Secondary School level.

The report, authored by Digital Technology Guidelines (DTG) National Advisory Group NZCS Representative Gordon Grimsey and NZCS member and teacher Margot Phillipps was reviewed and edited by 11 senior Computing and ICT tertiary-level academics and practitioners from all corners of New Zealand.

The report aimed to assess which of 18 specified generic and ICT-related Technology Achievement Standards were appropriate for preparing students for tertiary Computer Science study and which were appropriate for the assessment of “end-user computing”.

Achievement Standards are registered on the National Qualifications Framework and contribute towards the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) for secondary school students throughout New Zealand.

NZCS Chief Executive Paul Matthews today said he was horrified to discover that not a single Technology Achievement Standard proposed for access to ICT and Computing met the set criteria. “Secondary School Computing education should be about preparing our young people for further ICT-related study and for computing in general” Matthews said today. “This report has found that New Zealand’s current ICT-related Technology Standards are failing terribly on both counts”.

Matthews added “New Zealand is currently facing a massive ICT skills shortage, combined with a huge drop in students continuing on to tertiary-level computing and ICT study in recent years. It would be hard not to conclude that the problems with these Achievement Standards have contributed to the significant problems we’re now facing: it’s absolutely critical we prepare tomorrow’s ICT professionals properly in our schools”.

Matthews was, however, positive about the response from the Ministry of Education, who late last week acknowledged that “… the knowledge and skills associated with Computer Science in particular were not being met by the current Unit or Achievement Standards” and pledged to begin the process of the review and replacement of these Standards.

“We will be following the review process very closely, and aim to work with the Ministry to help get these Unit and Achievement Standards up to an acceptable level. We also hope the review will look at moving end-user computing to the application’s subject area, and removing Computer Science from the “Technology”curriculum (grouped with Food Technology and Soft and Hard Materials) and putting it back with Science and/or Mathematics where it belongs”Matthews concluded.

Matthews also noted that the NZCS, being the professional body of the ICT Sector, will be conducting ongoing reviews into all aspects of the road to becoming an ICT Professional in New Zealand, with a view to exposing and removing the many roadblocks along the way.


A copy of the report is attached.

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