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TIMSS Reinforces Need For National Testing

If the Government is serious about closing the gaps in education they would have implemented National's plan for a trial of national assessment, says Opposition Education spokesman Nick Smith.

"In Mr Mallard's first week as Minister of Education he cancelled national testing on the basis that pen and paper tests were of little value. He did this against the advice of the Education Review Office and the Ministry of Education. He can't have his cake and eat it by using the TIMSS pen and paper test in an attempt to score political points.

"Mr Mallard's selective use of figures is misleading. Maori performance actually improved in Year 5 mathematics and science and Pacific performance improved in Year 9 mathematics.

"In response to information about achievement levels, National sought expert advice by establishing a Literacy and Numeracy and Science Taskforce and put many programmes in place to close the gaps.

"Last year we announced a trial of national testing in 200 schools this year and its implementation in all schools in 2001. Such tests are used in every state in Australia, the United Kingdom and in the vast majority of states in Canada and the United States.

"If Mr Mallard is serious about closing the gaps in educational achievement he needs to do better than test our students every four years.

"The Government should heed the TIMSS results and put a national testing system in place that will help identify strategies for Maori and Pacific education and enable ongoing monitoring of results," Mr Smith said.

Ends

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