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Mallard can't gloss over the facts

Gerry Brownlee National Education Spokesperson

Monday 28 May 2001

Mallard can't gloss over the facts

Education Minister Trevor Mallard's glossy pamphlet detailing the National Certificate of Educational Achievement for students and their parents can't disguise the inadequacies of the qualification, National's Education spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said today.

"Papers obtained by National under the Official Information Act show that the pamphlet was designed to 'leave discussion about the merits of NCEA aside', 'adopt an authoritative position and lead the debate', and 'use a positive and exciting tone'.

"Rather than avoiding a debate about the merits of the NCEA, the Government should be encouraging it. A substandard qualification is not acceptable. Many schools have already resorted to offering a separate examination for their students, but what about those students whose parents can't afford to pay for the other exam or who don't even go to schools offering an alternative?

"No amount of gloss can disguise the fact that the NCEA doesn't reward students' effort or achievement. Putting all students into three broad bands of achievement ranging from 'turned up and ate lunch' to 'exceptional student' is not acceptable.

"Mr Mallard is at pains to point out that there will still be end of year exams in the curriculum but the exams will not carry percentage marks. The grade point average does not solve the concerns of National, many schools and parents. It is a deception rather than an indication of a student's ability. The grade point average is as unacceptable as the three broad bands of credit, merit and excellence.

"Mr Mallard's glossy pamphlet designed to reassure parents and students about the merits of the NCEA doesn't change the fact that he's trying to sell a donkey," Mr Brownlee said.

Ends

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