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Call to abandon standards-based scholarship

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

19 March 2006

Call to abandon standards-based scholarship

The Government must abandon standards-based assessment for scholarship, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

He is commenting on revelations about one exam where almost half of the candidates scored less than 5%, and candidates scoring 18% were scaled up to a pass.

"Scholarship has been improved this year but these revelations show they haven't gone far enough.

"It is also clear that NZQA assurances cannot be relied on.

"NZQA and Steve Maharey told the public that no stone would be left unturned in an effort to get scholarship right after last year's debacle.

"But problems with biology, statistics and calculus have forced NZQA to reintroduce extensive scaling which they have always regarded as the worst aspect of the old system.

"Investigation into these problems has also revealed that the Government's moves to fix scholarship came too late to change the exam's questions, which were set more than 18 months ago with a different selection system in mind.

"Students and teachers thought they were getting a new deal in scholarship, but that will have to wait till next year.

"The next step is to abandon the silly pretence that scholarship is a standards-based exam and do the job properly using traditional scholarship marking and selection," says Mr English.

"Students have every right to be frustrated about these latest revelations."


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