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Evidence of widespread concern about National Standards

22 August 2011
For Immediate Release

Clear evidence of deep and widespread concern about National Standards

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says an evaluation report into National Standards counters government claims that concern about National Standards is confined to a small group of politically-driven activists.

The School Sample Monitoring and Evaluation Project 2010 carried out for the Ministry of Education shows an overwhelming number of principals and boards of trustees have concerns about the unintended consequences of National Standards and those concerns have increased over time.

93% of principals and 71% of Boards are moderately to very concerned about league tables, 88% of principals and 69% of Boards are moderately to very concerned about the demotivation of students who are consistently below standard, and 83% of principals have concerns about the narrowing of the curriculum.

“This simply backs up what we know is happening out there. The concern is widespread and is coming from all sorts of different school communities around the country,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

The report also shows that the vast majority of principals considered themselves to be unsupported or minimally supported across a range of issues related to the implementation of National Standards.

“That reflects a clear lack of confidence from principals who are supposed to be leading the implementation process and sharing the information with their staff. Understandably there is a lack of consistency in terms of the professional approach being taken to the Standards, again signalling that any data gathered from them is meaningless and potentially harmful”.

In terms of reporting to parents the study shows that only a third of school reports included National Standards and was clear about what they meant.

Mr Leckie says that’s not surprising and makes a mockery of one of the key government rationales for introducing the Standards, which was to improve reporting on student achievement.

NZEI says the report provides yet more evidence that National Standards won’t work and the government must engage with the sector on finding meaningful ways to raise student achievement.

ENDS

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