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Independent report welcomed

4 August 2005

Independent report welcomed

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today welcomed the independent review of NCEA that shows most people back the system because it improves students' learning and improves teaching, and he also noted the work underway to address the issues raised.

The State Services Commission today released the second part of its independent review into the performance of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and its implementation of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

"The report highlights a number of areas where work needs to be done, and I am pleased that its recommendations are either already being addressed or about to be addressed," Trevor Mallard said.

"The inquiry found that the majority of schools and stakeholders believe that NCEA is improving learning for students and improving teaching practice.

"It also found that students and stakeholder want to address the issues that have arisen from the first three years of implementation of NCEA and that they also want to move on," Trevor Mallard said.

"We are moving on, and education agencies are committed to ongoing improvements in delivering NCEA."

The report found that the variation in external assessment arose because the path of implementation for the NCEA was too steep and did not allow for the fact that the standards were in the early stages of development and would be subject to differing interpretations.

"The variations of results in some externally assessed achievement standards are being addressed, and the NZQA board has also advised me that it intends to look carefully at the issue of reporting not-achieved results for the 2005 external assessments.

"Concerns raised in the report over design and assessment reliability will be referred to the Secondary Leaders Forum for consideration during the NCEA stocktake this year.

"It is important to put the introduction of NCEA into context. As the report notes: "the change has been unprecedented in secondary schooling, and the implementation of NCEA has been a massive undertaking and NZQA deserves credit for what has so far been achieved, as does the teaching profession. (Report. para 198)." I would also note that the review team has recommended that the implementation path should be extended over five years or more.

"Despite the problems that have been encountered, I am heartened by the majority of feedback cited in the report from schools and stakeholders who told the review team that NCEA was "breeding a culture of success for students who would previously have failed under the old system, as well as enhancing learning outcomes for all students." (para 209)

"I agree that what we have now is a substantial improvement on the previous system and I know it will be even better as these recommendations are addressed. NCEA is starting to deliver the benefits of a flexible system that prepares all our students well for the full range of tertiary and workplace options after they leave school,” Trevor Mallard said.

"The board’s appointment of very experienced public servant and educator Karen Sewell in June as Acting Chief Executive ensures the NZQA will have stability over the months ahead and will also give momentum to the changes recommended by the SSC review.

"I have also been advised by the board that it has started the recruitment process for a new chief executive with the necessary experience and skills to lead the organisation into the future.

"Wider governance issues relating to better synergies and collaboration between the Ministry of Education and NZQA are also being addressed as a result of the recent education sector review," Trevor Mallard said.

Attached is a summary of actions being carried out in relation to the SSC's recommendations.

The report can be viewed here: www.ssc.govt.nz

ENDS

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