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National exposes bid to hide NCEA failures

Hon Bill English MP National Party Education Spokesman

09 December 2003

National exposes bid to hide NCEA failures

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says the Government has admitted to "a deliberate attempt to mislead parents and employers over NCEA failure rates."

In response to Parliamentary questions today, Education Minister Trevor Mallard has admitted that some schools have been instructed not to report failed NCEA internal-assessment results to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

"Schools have been told to instead 'find your good news stories'.

"The policy is a mess. Trevor Mallard couldn't say whether the Government had instructed schools to hide the internal assessment failures, or report them.

"In essence this means the NZQA has no reliable record of student failure rates," Mr English says.

"How can parents be expected to gauge the achievement rates of their schools when some schools are reporting failures and some are hiding them away?

"How can employers rely on NCEA results when there is no record of failure?

"This confused state of affairs can be directly blamed on the ridiculous instructions being issued by the NZQA," says Mr English.

"Senior NZQA official Kate Colbert has been quoted telling Auckland Deputy and Assistant Principals on October 13 that, 'data we have at the moment is flawed because some schools do send in non-achieved and some don't. NZQA says don't send them in'.

"She advised schools to '... look at your results, find your good news stories, get to the media before the results come out and tell them those stories.'

"It's deception. The Minister must take responsibility for an NZQA policy that gives schools permission to gloss over the realities of failure and substitute it for 'good news stories'.

"This is yet another example of the politically correct attitude of Mallard's Ministry - a Ministry that refuses to face-up to the realities of poor student achievement and instead seeks to avoid mention of failure at any cost," Mr English says.

Ends

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