Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Fact Checker: Decile is not Destiny

QPEC Fact Checker

Decile is not Destiny

Tuesday 26August 2014

As we look into the evidence on this one, let’s be clear on one point right from the start: let’s understand the difference between “destiny” and “probability”. And, if we don’t want decile to be destiny, then what are we doing about it!

QPEC firmly holds the view that every student should get the greatest opportunity possible to succeed to the fullest extent of their abilities and their willingness to work hard and achieve. Neither does QPEC accept that students from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot succeed. But, the evidence on this one is clear.

Fact 1: OECD Study of Teaching Policies (2005)

A major study of the teaching profession, carried out by the OECD in 2005, made this statement in their summary paper:

“Student learning is influenced by many factors, including: students’ skills, expectations, motivation and behaviour; family resources, attitudes and support; peer group skills, attitudes and behaviour; school organisation, resources and climate; curriculum structure and content; and teacher skills, knowledge, attitudes and practices. Schools and classrooms are complex, dynamic environments, and identifying the effects of these varied factors, and how they influence and relate with each other – for different types of students and different types of learning -- has been, and continues to be, a major focus of educational research.

Three broad conclusions emerge from research on student learning. The first and most solidly based finding is that the largest source of variation in student learning is attributable to differences in what students bring to school – their abilities and attitudes, and family and community background. Such factors are difficult for policy makers to influence, at least in the short-run. The second broad conclusion is that of those variables which are potentially open to policy influence, factors to do with teachers and teaching are the most important influences on student learning. In particular, the broad consensus is that “teacher quality” is the single most important school variable influencing student achievement.” [Emphasis added]

Source: OECD, “Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers”

The problem with the OECD approach – we can’t change the kids, so let’s focus on the teachers – is that it does not deal head on with what the OECD itself calls, the first and most solidly based finding: factors associated with the student are the largest source of variation in student achievement.

It is important to go beyond ideology and examine the hard evidence of the strong links between student background and student achievement. Failure to diagnose this correctly leads to two major problems. First, we miss the main goal, which is how do we improve children’s lives; and second, education policy initiatives are misdirected. Teachers and schools are part of the solution; they are not the cause of the problem.

Fact 2: New Zealand NCEA achievement

Table 1: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above, by ethnic group and school quintile (2012 data)

GenderEthnicGroup
QuintileTotalFemaleMaleMaoriPasifikaAsianMELAAOtherEuropean
158.161.854.349.562.678.672.363.262.3
266.870.763.454.263.082.265.967.272.0
372.777.667.959.266.482.780.768.176.0
482.085.678.867.576.789.382.882.983.4
589.692.187.078.680.091.683.285.790.4

Quintile 1 = deciles 1 & 2, etc; MELAA = Middle Eastern, Latin American & African.

The table above reports NCEA Level 2 school leaver achievement levels by school quintile, gender and ethnicity. Of students from quintile 5 (deciles 9 & 10) schools, 89.6% of them left school with at least NCEA Level 2, compared with only 58.1% for those in quintile 1 (deciles 1 & 2) schools.

Socio-economic advantage is clearly a major predictor of educational achievement.

Fact 3: International Reading Assessments

Table 2: PISA Reading Literacy, ranked by the student’s socio-economic status, across the 10 highest performing school systems (PISA 2009 Reading Literacy):

System5th10th25th50th75th90th95thMean Score
Australia343384450521584638668515
Canada368406464529588637664524
Finland382419481542597642666536
Hong Kong380418482541592634659533
Japan339386459530590639667520
Korea400435490545595635658539
Netherlands365390442510575625650508
New Zealand344383452528595649678521
Shanghai417450504562613654679556
Singapore357394460532597648676526

In this table, the 5th percentile means the lowest 5% and the 95th percentile is the highest 95% of students, measured on the OECD’s own index of economic, cultural and social indicators.
So, this table is slightly different from our NCEA L2 table, because it shows the student’s own status, rather than where they go to school. But the pattern is indisputable:
Student achievement rises lockstep with socio-economic status in every school system.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Review: The NZSO Performs Handel's Messiah

    Max Rashbrooke: Saturday night's performance took the piece back to something like the way it would have originally been performed when premiered in 1742, with an orchestra of 20-30 players and only a few more singers. More>>

    Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

    When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

    Scoop Review Of Books: The Stolen Island: Searching for ‘Ata by Scott Hamilton

    Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
    Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

    Scoop Review of Books: Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays On Place From Aotearoa NZ

    The New Zealand landscape undoubtedly is very beautiful, but so is the British one, and my attachment to this country is much more about some particular places, and the memories and emotions that in them combine, than it is about the landscape as a whole. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news