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New investigations won't show problems

New investigations won't show problems

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, questions whether internal investigations by ERO and NZQA will show-up whether there are real problems at Cambridge High School.

The Government says the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Education Review Office will investigate Cambridge High School in light of recent allegations.

Mr English says, in effect, NZQA will be investigating their own systems.

"NZQA will be under pressure from the Government to dismiss any concerns about giving away NCEA credits when it is policy that every student should get credits.

"NZQA have detailed procedures which they say ensure the integrity of internal assessment (see attachment).

"ERO, in a supplementary review last year of Cambridge High School, failed to pick up any problems. It also failed to complete a follow-up review promised by the end of 2003.

"If ERO and NZQA failed at Cambridge High School, it is likely they have failed elsewhere as well.

"Parents rely on these agencies to do their job. They are not meant to run schools, but they should be able to identify bad practice and take action.

"Cambridge High School has pushed the limits, and, as a result, raised questions about the integrity of the process and other schools with very high pass rates.

"I now suspect it is unlikely these agencies will find major problems at Cambridge High School as they are responsible for the systems which have allowed these problems to occur in the first place", says Mr English.

From the NZQA Wesbite:


Wat about internal assessment?

Teachers are skilled at managing internal assessment. They have been assessing speeches, research and performances in class for many years. Schools/Heads of Department check that teachers are marking fairly and consistently.

You can be sure that your school is assessing at the same standard as other schools because each school's assessments are checked to make sure everything is fair and consistent across the nation.

First of all, the standards, explaining what students have to do to earn credits, can be viewed here through the search tool. Teachers also have web access to samples of student work that meet standards, samples of assessment activities they can use, and they have been trained in this style of assessment.

Moderators check a sample of the student work marked in every subject in every school. This checks that the standards in your school and the school down the road are equal and fair.

Finally, NZQA has a team of school relationship managers who visit each school to monitor and advise. All of this ensures that no matter which school you go to, your NCEA will be nationally recognised.

Examples of internal assessments (Te Kete Ipurangi website) are to help schools develop their own assessment activites.

5.2 Moderation Requirements

For all NQF qualifications the Qualifications Authority requires schools to be accredited and to engage in external moderation .

The Qualifications Authority requires sufficient information to enable judgements to be made on the capacity of a school to assess to the standards within the scope of the accreditation . If the moderation check reveals that a school's assessment systems have weakened, and there is no evidence of a strategy to improve the situation, a stop may be placed on the school's right to register credits. Managing National Assessment systems provides details of the Qualifications Authority's checks that ensure that internal assessment decisions and systems remain effective Managing National Assessment systems

Managing National Assessment (MNA) is the term used to describe the processes for achieving valid, fair, accurate and consistent internal assessment in schools. It is a partnership between schools and the Qualifications Authority.

MNA provides a transparent reporting system to schools on the quality of assessor decisions. For qualifications on the NQF, school assessments will stand alone. They will not be adjusted in the light of students' achievements in examinations.

MNA for NQF qualifications has two components:

Annual external moderation of assessor decisions for up to 20% of all internally assessed standards in all curriculum areas.

An external check of a school's assessment systems at least once every three years to ensure that assessment is valid, fair, consistent, reliable, accurate and to the national standard.

Where external moderation or the assessment systems check reveals problems , the Qualifications Authority may require further material to be submitted for moderation, and/or conduct a discretionary systems check.

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