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Scholarship students given certainty

31 March 2005 Media Statement

Scholarship students given certainty

Students thinking about entering the New Zealand Scholarship exams this year will be able to seek guidance from their schools about how improvements to the system will affect them, says Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope says every secondary school in New Zealand is being sent a letter outlining the changes that will happen to this year's scholarship exams and where schools will be able to find more information on the changes.

"Regular information updates will follow. Improving the scholarship system will include how we communicate changes to schools, students and parents and that begins right now," says Mr Benson-Pope. "While decisions about some of the detail are still to be made, the broad direction of the exams is already known and this information will help students make important decisions."

One of the key recommendations of the expert group who determined the shape of future scholarship exams was that an agreed percentage of students in every subject will gain scholarship. This will be done by ranking students in each subject.

"For the elite students thinking about pursuing scholarship this means they will have a similar chance of success in whatever subject they choose," said Mr Benson-Pope. "There will be no perverse incentives to take a subject because it is perceived to be statistically easier to pass."

Mr Benson-Pope says marking panels will use marks or grades as appropriate, in order to produce a ranking of scholarship students, as per the Scholarship Reference Group's recommendations. These marks or grades will eventually equate to the grades that a student will receive.

Students will learn of their grades when their results are notified, in the same way they do now – "outstanding performance", "scholarship", and "not achieved", although the Minister said the possibility exists that more grades will be introduced.

"We are also one of the few countries in the world to return exam scripts," said Mr Benson-Pope. "The marks or grades assigned to exam scripts will therefore likely be available to students when they receive their exam booklets back. Students will be able to see where they did well and where they did not."

ENDS

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