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Reports of “faking” National Standards data rings alarms

Reports of “faking” National Standards data rings alarm bells - NZEI

The case of a Northland primary school reportedly found to be changing its National Standards results is exactly the sort of scenario that educators warned about when the government introduced the high-stakes assessment and reporting model.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski said that while the actions of an unidentified teacher at Parua Bay School could not be condoned, overseas experience showed these types of incidents were a sad but almost inevitable outcome of bad policy such as National Standards.

“The high-stakes models of assessment in countries like the US and UK – where school league tables and linking pay for teachers to student achievement is more entrenched - puts immense pressure on schools and teachers to lift results, with no bearing on the starting point and actual progress achieved by the individual students,” she said.

“In some places, teachers can even be sacked because their students haven’t reached an arbitrary point in their learning. With ERO reviews now increasingly focused on National Standards data and the Minister arguing that National Standards data should determine who wins the highly paid new principal and teacher roles announced by the Government in January, we can see the slippery slope emerging in New Zealand.

“The concern of the teaching profession has always been that National Standards data will be used in ways that distort teaching learning. The case in Northland should ring alarm bells for the Government.”

She said National Standards needed to be scrapped before the damage to our education system became irreversible.

“We don’t need five-year-olds labeled as failures, we don’t need schools ignoring the wider curriculum to focus solely on the three Rs of National Standards and we certainly don’t need teachers so stressed and fearful that they change their students’ results.”


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