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Qualifications Dumbed Down By Govt

21 November 2000

The Government's decision not to record or report percentage results with the new National Certificate of Educational Achievement is a substantial dumbing down of New Zealand's school qualifications, National's Education spokesperson Nick Smith said today.

"The NCEA is being dumbed-down by the removal of percentage results. The very wide bands of only three different grades mean that students will have little incentive to strive to do their very best. A student who gets 31% is not the same as one that gets 59%, nor is one who gets 99% the same as one getting 81%. This is a recipe for mediocrity," Dr Smith said.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard told Parliament today that percentage marks would not be recorded or reported.

This is contrary to statements made by Wyatt Creech when the National Certificate of Educational Achievement was launched in November 1998 when he said that 'the NCEA will record a student's individual performance with grades and marks at each level of Achievement Standards completed.

Dr Nick Smith told the PPTA as Minister of Education in November 1999 'I wish to make it plain that the new qualifications system will give students a percentage mark'.

Even as recently as July 2000, the Ministry of Education stated in a circular that 'marks and percentage rankings would be reported for externally assessed Achievement Standards'.

"The Minister's answers in Parliament today that percentage results will no longer be reported is a bombshell. It is no wonder that some schools are looking offshore to give secondary school students a credible qualification. It also exposes a secret agenda to dumb-down National's original proposition for secondary school qualifications.

"The Minister must explain to New Zealand teachers, parents and students exactly what he is doing watering down this new qualification. We must not scrap School Certificate and Bursary without having a robust and credible alternative that will encourage students to strive to the highest levels of achievement," Dr Smith said.

Ends


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