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NCEA attacks unfair on the kids

13 December 2005

NCEA attacks unfair on the kids

National education spokesman Bill English and a tiny minority of markers are once again turning the NCEA into a political football, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.

“Parents and students must be frustrated that Bill English, and a few markers breaking their confidentiality agreement, are attacking the NCEA again.

“They risk damaging the work of other markers, and undermining the worth of their own and other students’ qualifications.”

Te Whaiti said English had overstepped the mark in criticising NZQA chief executive Karen Sewell for “grasping at straws” over a letter sent to markers.

“Bill English, in backing the word of three or four markers against the vast majority of markers, is the one grasping at straws.”

Te Whaiti said there would probably be more fine-tuning when the examination setting and marking process was reviewed next year.

“This is the first year that marking has been monitored on a daily basis and the first year of profiles of expected performance and it may be some markers have not fully understood the new process.

“What is clear is that adjustments to the marking schedule have always been, and will always be needed. It simply isn’t possible to guarantee that an exam perfectly matches students’ understandings.

“When an exam is written in such a way that the students cannot show they can meet the standard, then in the interests of fairness marking schedules must be adjusted.

“But that doesn’t mean that student performance won’t differ from NZQA’s profiles of expected performance. There may be valid reasons why student performance is better or worse than expected and in that case more or fewer students will be awarded the standard.

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“Ultimately, everyone wants students to get a fair deal and to have confidence in their results. The adjustments made this year are designed to support that end.”

Te Whaiti said PPTA could not condone markers who breached the confidentiality clause in their contract because there were official channels through which to raise issues and concerns.

“Markers should air issues through the official channels, or contact NZQA chief executive Karen Sewell who has personally offered to listen to any markers who wish to raise concerns.”


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