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Dubious Data on Kids’ Made Public

9 August 2012

Dubious Data on Kids’ Made Public

The Minister of Education has announced that the national standards data from this year, despite its unreliability, is to be placed in the public arena. The data is for literacy and numeracy only. The Minister says the purpose of publishing the data is to lift children’s achievement and give parents quality information about different schools.

‘New Zealanders are getting very confused messages from government about what ‘quality’ means’, said Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.

Drummond said, ‘A few weeks ago the government called for a more qualified teaching force because they said it was quality teachers that make a difference in lifting children’s learning, not class size.’

‘Last week, in announcing plans to initiate charter schools the government said quality teaching wasn’t important. In fact the Minister and Mr Banks told us non-teachers or people with no qualifications could staff charter schools,’ said Drummond.

‘This week, what the Minister has described as unreliable and inconsistent national standards data is to be published on a website to give parents quality information about schools.

‘In a matter of a few weeks the government has described quality as meaning ‘more qualified’, ‘unqualified’ and now ‘unreliable’. How can the public of New Zealand trust what the government is saying about education?’ asks Drummond.

It is reckless and an insult to parents to publicly present what is known to be defective information in two very narrow subject areas and pass it off as quality information about a whole school’, he said.

‘Parents deserve full, truthful and trustworthy information about their children’s learning and reporting needs to cover every aspect of the rich broad curriculum,’ says Drummond. ‘That is what we give parents and we will continue to do so,’ he said. ‘When parents want quality information about the school, they check out the ERO reports on-line and visit the school,’ he said.

‘We have high aspirations for the children in our schools and we have a world class education system in which we are ranked right up there with the best in the world. Countries that have high stakes assessments,league tables or charter schools are not up there with us,’ he said.

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