Selective use of data in ERO report
Parents and schools should treat ERO’s use of data in its latest report on raising achievement in primary schools with caution because ideology is starting to trump evidence, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.
The Minister of Education claimed today that ERO’s report, “Raising Achievement in Primary Schools”shows that “improved use of data and innovative teaching practice are helping to lift student achievement.”
However the group of schools that reported the biggest shift in student progress between 2011 and 2012 was labelled by ERO as “less effective” because ERO says they did not focus enough on data or “deliberate actions to accelerate progress”.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski said it appeared ERO and the Minister were guilty of selectively using data rather than looking at the range of reasons a school might be improving students’ progress.
The ERO report surveyed 193 schools. There was an over-representation of high decile schools in the sample. The 50% of schools that were labelled by ERO as “effective in responding innovatively to underachievement” had the highest percentage of students at or above National Standards in 2012, but they did not report as big a shift in student progress as the “less effective” group.
Judith Nowotarski said children’s learning was a complex process and looking at school success based solely on narrow National Standards data was clearly inadequate. However, she said the Government and its agencies needed to separate out ideology from evidence.
“To label a school ineffective because it has less of a focus on National Standards data than other schools is unfair and wrong if it is in fact successfully moving students’ progress forward. NZEI strongly believes in the use of evidence but we question ERO’s reliance on National Standards data and brief snapshots to make sometimes damning judgements about schools.”