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More students leaving school with qualifications

More students leaving school with qualifications than ever before

More students are leaving school with qualifications than ever before, Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope says.

This is just one of the trends to emerge from today's publication of individual school’s NCEA statistics on the New Zealand Qualification's website

Mr Benson-Pope says latest data shows school leavers with no qualification dropped from 15.3 per cent in 2003 to 13 per cent in 2004. Significantly, Maori school leavers with no qualification dropped 4.2 per cent and Pasifika students by 4.4 per cent, although both groups have overall higher rates of school leavers with no qualifications. In addition, on average students are gaining more achievement or unit standards. Students in their third year of secondary schooling in 2003 gained 29.7 achievement or unit standards on average. In 2004, the average had lifted to 33. A similar trend was evident in students in their fourth year of study, which rose from 25.5 to 29.6 achievement or unit standards.

"This bears out what teachers have been saying about NCEA – that it encourages students to stay at school, provides more flexible pathways to qualifications, and is providing incentives to students to achieve, especially those who may have previously been left behind by the system," said Mr Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope says the school profiles and national profiles published today will enable schools and parents to compare student success rates with national averages.

"The richness of this data has been acknowledged by universities and the school sector, and it is good that it is available to parents and the wider community," said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Schools need to know how their students are performing from year to year. This information helps them identify areas for improvement. Each school profile contains a wealth of material. It gives success rates along with national figures. For example, it is possible to compare a particular school with similar decile schools, with co-ed schools, with all boys or all girls schools.

"NCEA is not simply about a qualification. It has been about reforming a secondary system so that it better serves all its students. Unlike the previous system, NCEA data provides real feedback on areas where we are doing well, and where we are not doing so well.

"It is a concern that nationally at each level the proportion of girls achieving qualifications is higher than the proportion of boys. There is a policy project underway at the Ministry of Education looking at boys' achievement, particularly at secondary school.

"NCEA results will become an important measure as we look to address this disparity. In this way we can adapt our teaching practice to ensure better outcomes for our kids."

Mr Benson-Pope also sounded a note of caution about limitations on the use of the information.

“It is not possible to accurately rank schools with this information. This is because every school is so different, for example, its decile ranking. Students come from different catchment areas and they make many different choices depending on their education needs and plans for the future.

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