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Judging Learning by Standard Responses No Good For Schools

3 June 2015

Judging Learning by Standard Responses Has No Place in Schools Say Principals

‘Employing a tool that offers standardised exemplars drawn from national standards has no place in a twenty-first century classroom,’ says Denise Torrey, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF).

Torrey was responding to the news today that a sample of schools’ national standards maths results compared to results using a newly developed online tool were considerably different.

‘Any tool based on national standards, whose flaws have never been resolved, is not going to offer helpful information to advance children’s learning,’ said Torrey.

‘Politically our education system has been captured by the OECD and its obsession with standardised measures such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which produces country-level league tables,’ she said. ‘The OECD has been publishing these league tables for years, but there is no evidence that they have had any impact on student achievement,’ she said.

According to Torrey, such practices are outdated and belong in the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first.

‘As school principals we listen to international experts who are telling us that the skills children need to be global citizens and contribute in a twenty-first century work force are critical thinking, problem solving, team work and entrepreneurship. That is why as leaders of learning in our schools, we are encouraging teachers to pursue pedagogies such as ‘inquiry learning’ and placing our children at the centre so they are fully engaged with what they are learning and how they are learning it,’ she said.

‘The NZPF is strongly opposed to millions of dollars being spent on a tool which can never have a positive impact on children’s learning,’ said Torrey.


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