7 February, 2013
Maths Report Shows Negative Impact Of Government Policy
National Standards have already started to negatively impact on children’s learning, a report today shows.
A report by the Education Review Office says that 50 percent of primary schools could make a considerable difference to their students’ maths learning if they were more flexible and adjusted the curriculum to better meet the children’s needs.
But Khandallah Primary School Principal Louise Green says National Standards are an inflexible tool and result in a system where educators are being forced to teach-to-test. It also means important teacher time and resources are taken away, making it more difficult to help struggling students improve in areas such as maths.
The report: Mathematics in Years 4 to 8: Developing a Responsive Curriculum looks at what primary schools are doing to raise maths achievement in students in years 4 to 8.
“Teachers have been concerned for some time that the result of testing and measuring required by National Standards would result in inflexibility in the curriculum. Now we have some proof,’’ she says.
“This is proof that National Standards is a policy that will damage our education system. It does not foster a climate where teachers can be flexible and creative and spend time with children who are struggling.’’
She also said there were no maths advisers attached to the Ministry any more and no money had gone into the Ministry of Education’s Numeracy Project for many years. “The only maths advice we have now is to ensure support and learning around National Standards.”
She says better resourcing was needed so teachers could spend more time with children who were struggling.
“Instead of focussing on compliance, the Ministry needs to return to leading and supporting robust professional development.”