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Labour rejects exams for 5 year olds

Hon Chris Carter
Spokesperson for Education

12 December 2008 Media Statement
Labour rejects exams for 5 year olds.

Labour will vote against the Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill when it is introduced into the House later this evening.

“We cannot support this legislation because of its content and because the process the National government is using to ram through the legislation in urgency,” said Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Carter.

“National testing is enormously controversial, both in NZ and internationally. The process of ramming this bill through without any chance for parents, teachers, the School Trustees Associations and educational experts to comment on legislation is wrong.

“The bill requires state schools to assess and report student performance against national standards. This will inevitably lead to the establishment of league tables of “winner” and “loser” schools and compound the challenges lower decile schools already face in attracting students and staff.

“Standardised testing has been disastrous in the US and the UK. Teachers have been forced to teach to exam scripts rather than focus on each child’s literacy and numeracy development. Enormous stress has been placed on very young children to pass the test.

“One Kiwi in four was born outside New Zealand and some 22% of New Zealand pupils come from homes where English is a second language. Such pupils will face barriers in any comparative age related literacy assessment

“Labour intends to move amendments to the legislation which will seek to ensure that league tables cannot used by the National-led government to penalise schools.

“Labour will also move to include provisions in the legislation that will ensure parents can have confidence that their own children’s test results will remain private. We can only help the Government will start listening,” said Chris Carter.


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