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National refuses to listen on Standardised Testing

10 December 2008 Media Statement

National refuses to listen on “Standardised Testing”

The National-Act government has prevented key education stakeholder groups from having a say on plans to rush into law standardised testing for primary school age pupils, Labour Education spokesperson Chris Carter said today.

“The National and ACT members of the Education and Science Select Committee today rejected a motion from me requesting that key education stakeholder groups be allowed to have their say on the – as yet unpublished - Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill.

“This plan has serious consequences for our school children, their parents, and our schools. But National is using urgency to ram through the legislation without any one having a say.

“At the very least the New Zealand Principals’ Association, the New Zealand Educational Institute, the New Zealand Council for Educational Research and the New Zealand School Trustees Association should be given a chance to comment on standardised testing and the issues around such a move.

“Standardised testing has been disastrous in the US and UK. Teachers have been forced to teach to exam scripts rather focus on each child’s literacy and numeracy development. “Winner” and “loser” schools have been created by league tables comparing individual school’s exam results.

“During the election campaign many education experts and teachers’ and principals’ organisations expressed horror that New Zealand’s world-class assessment systems would be compromised by such a retrograde step.

“National used slogans in the election campaign claiming it would launch a ‘crusade’ on literacy in our schools. This week it is trying to justify that slogan by imposing a failed and discredited model on New Zealand primary and middle schools,” Chris Carter said.

ENDS

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