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National Standards Implementation Not Standard

15 March 2012

National Standards Implementation Not Standard

‘The latest research report on the implementation of the controversial National Standards paints a picture that is anything but standard,’ said Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation in response to the results of the latest study by Professor Martin Thrupp.

Professor Thrupp has released the first report of a three year qualitative study examining six different schools using a case study approach. This method provides an opportunity to uncover the realities of schools’ implementation of the standards and produces a rich commentary on how schools are approaching them.

‘From the results it is now clear that there is immense diversity across schools in how they are dealing with the standards,’ said Drummond. ‘For the vast majority National Standards is not a method of assessment that teachers and principals have any confidence in so they are doing just what they have to to comply with the law,’ he said.

‘The research findings indicate that the national standards have not been implemented in a way that data could be used to compare one school with another because they are very school context specific. You can extrapolate from that that even comparing schools within a particular decile ranking would be irrational because there is so much variation between schools,’ he said.

Further results also indicate that some teachers are beginning to respond in ways that are detrimental to children’s learning. ‘Performativity’ has been detected which means teachers are focusing more on the narrow 3Rs which deprives children of the rich broad curriculum which has lifted our children to rank amongst the top countries of the world in academic achievement.

‘We are determined to retain our world class status and to do even better for those children who are not sharing the same success. In particular we are ambitious to lift achievement of our Maori and Pasifika students.

‘Before we lose our world class status, I believe the time is right for the Government to call for a review of the standards, particularly in the light of these research findings,’ he said.


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