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NCEA implementation gets ‘achieved’ mark – just

NCEA implementation gets ‘achieved’ mark – just

A parliamentary select committee inquiry into the implementation of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) has awarded the process the standard of ‘achieved’, but only just.

United Future MP Bernie Ogilvy initiated the inquiry, claiming that unless implementation difficulties experienced with Level One this year were fully resolved, students would be ‘treated like guinea pigs, year after year’.

He says his concerns have been vindicated by the report of the committee, released today, which found that:

· The shared stewardship of NCEA implementation between the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority led to confusion

· Communication from the Ministry of Education and NZQA to schools was neither clear nor consistent

· The additional workload imposed on teachers and administrators was underestimated

· The new assessment tasks under NCEA require schools to spend up to $50 000 more on things such as photocopying, equipment and texts, without a commensurate increase in their operational grants

· Teacher training in the new qualifications system has been superficial and inadequate

· Assessment standards and exemplars have been variable in quality or unavailable, and in some cases standards have been altered by NZQA without notification

· Reassessment policy is inconsistent and inequitable

· Ongoing problems with transmitting student records electronically using the ‘MUSAC’ software has been a ‘debacle’ according to the Secondary Principals’ Association, exacerbated by poor communication between NZQA and software providers

The committee also found that the lengthy industrial dispute between the government and the PPTA delayed the implementation of NCEA and created uncertainty about its future. However, it concluded that this could have been avoided if the Minister had resolved the dispute earlier.

“Assuming that there is no further industrial action in 2003, the Minister has no excuses if the operation of NCEA is anything less than smooth next year,” said Mr Ogilvy.

“The responsible agencies must heed the findings of the committee, and learn from the difficulties experienced with Level One this year.”

Mr Ogilvy rejects ACT’s call for a further delay to the implementation of Levels Two and Three, since it is based on an agenda to scrap the system altogether.

“Feedback from schools, teachers, parents and kids suggests that they believe that NCEA is an improvement, but we need to be sure that a change to the education system of this magnitude is effectively managed and adequately resourced,” he said.

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