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Parents need quality information about schools

20 August 2012
Immediate Release

Parents need quality information about schools

The Education Review Office must provide parents with clear information about the social and economic contexts in which schools operate if it is to give a fair assessment of the effectiveness of schools, says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Ian Leckie.

The ERO says it has decided to stop including decile ratings in its school review reports because they have been interpreted as rating a school’s quality rather than reflecting the socio-economic status of the school’s community.

“Decile ratings are clearly crude tools, but if ERO is to remove these ratings, it should still give parents information about the socio-economic context in which a school operates,” Mr Leckie says.

“Poverty, ill-health and poor housing have significant impacts on whether children are ready and able to learn. ERO cannot pretend these “out of school” factors do not affect student achievement and therefore whether a school is perceived as “effective” or not.”

Mr Leckie says neither the ERO nor parents should be kept ignorant of the real-world challenges schools face.

“Data on student transience, the number of children with special needs or English as a second language, the number of children attending breakfast clubs and other information relevant to a school’s context would provide parents with a more accurate sense of how well a school was doing in supporting student learning.”

Mr Leckie says it is ironic that while the ERO has decided that decile ratings do not provide parents with meaningful information, the Government intends to publish National Standards information which is meaningless for assessing educational quality.

“Like decile ratings, National Standards are a very crude and blunt instrument for assessing quality education. League tables of schools based on National Standards achievement data are likely to simply reflect decile rating. They will not give parents meaningful information about a school’s effectiveness.”

Mr Leckie says the Education Review Office will need to continue to ensure that a good overall picture of schools is available on its website including information about the school community.

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