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Public confidence in NCEA reaches all-time low

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

30 May 2005

Public confidence in NCEA reaches all-time low

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says public confidence in the NCEA is likely to be even lower than indicated by research released today.

His comments follow the release of a Colmar Brunton survey of 1,000 parents, which finds that less than a third (31%) of parents have confidence in the value of NCEA and only 27% think the NCEA provides a clear measure of students' abilities.

The survey was taken in August last year.

Mr English says confidence is likely to have dropped further since then, in the wake of the scholarship debacle and an NZQA report which found that 20 NCEA standards had a variability of 20% or more.

"For months Labour has scoffed at the concerns of parents, students, teachers and employers when it comes to the NCEA. Of greatest concern is variability of marks between standards and year groups," says Mr English

"The NZQA says this was 'as expected', but their theory-based expectations are completely out of line with the realities of students, schools and employers, who actually have to live with these unfair and potentially damaging results.

"Hopefully, now that the scale of the concerns of parents has been measured, Trevor Mallard will give credence to them and take meaningful steps to address them, including enlisting the help of external assessment experts to return fairness and credibility to the system."

Assessment expert Terry Crooks (Otago University) told the Principals Association conference last Friday that the problems with variability between external standards in the NCEA could easily be fixed by external assessment experts using straightforward procedures.

Mr English says that, in government, National will work to restore confidence in the qualification by reintroducing standards and by reducing variability between subjects.

ENDS

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