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Problems in NCEA levels 2 and 3

Problems in NCEA levels 2 and 3

The problems with the NCEA scholarship look to be spilling over into levels 2 and 3 of the qualification, and thousands more young New Zealanders will be affected, says National’s Education spokesman, Bill English.

“Schools received their results at the end of last week and, already, I am hearing disturbing reports of anomalies affecting large numbers of students.

“For instance, schools are reporting big variations in pass rates between internal assessment and external exams. It seems that students who took subjects with large internal assessment components have an unfair advantage over students with exam-based subjects.

“I understand that, in one subject, 80% of students passed internal assessments but just 38% passed the external exam.

“One school has calculated that it is twice as hard for students to pass an external exam as it is an internal assessment.”

Each NCEA subject has a different weighting for internal assessment and external exams.

Mr English says if these big differences are confirmed, it will send a clear message to students to go for subjects with more internal assessment so they can get the credits they need.

“A shift away from externally assessed standards will compound the trend away from science subjects to subjects which are regarded as soft options because they are internally assessed.

“Our school system needs an anchor for educational standards but these early results mean students and parents have no way of knowing the standard expected. Either the exams are badly set and therefore unfair, or internal assessment is ‘soft’ and misleading.

“Either way, it looks like the shambles with NCEA Scholarship exam is not a one-off,” says Mr English.

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