23rd February 2012
For Immediate Release
International report confirms valid concerns over ‘National Standards’
A new OECD report confirms that the concerns voiced about National Standards by teachers, schools and communities are very well placed, according to the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.
The OECD has released its report on New Zealand as part of its Review of Evaluation and Assessment in Education across a number of OECD countries.
In looking at New Zealand’s evaluation and assessment practices, the review says there are concerns around the design and implementation of National Standards, and raises questions about how National Standards information should be used.
It suggests National Standards are neither national nor standard due to the inconsistency in the way schools are interpreting them, that they are not well-aligned with current assessment tools, and that they risk marginalising other parts of the curriculum.
“The report reiterates many of the concerns that schools and teachers have been trying to flag since National Standards were first introduced,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.
One of the strongest points made in the report is around the potential for misuse of National Standards data. It stresses the need to urgently clarify ‘what kind of information standards-based reporting can and cannot provide, who should have access to the information and what uses of the information are considered appropriate’.
“That is clearly casting serious doubt on the accuracy of the Standards in measuring a school’s effectiveness or reflecting a student’s learning or progress. It sounds the same warning which schools have been trying to give to the government - that any National Standards-based school league tables would be inherently unfair and caution is needed”.
Ian Leckie says it would also be useful for the government to take on board a suggestion in the report that feedback channels should be established for teachers to report on how the National Standards work for them in practice and where they would suggest improvements.
“Sadly however, experience tells us that is feedback the government is determined not to hear.”