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NCEA: students need transparency

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

8 November 2005

NCEA: students need transparency

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says NZQA needs to clear up the confusion it has created about expected pass rates in NCEA.

Acting Chief Executive Karen Sewell today said NZQA has developed profiles of the results it expects for each individual standard, and that marking will be 'adjusted' to achieve those results.

Last year's exams had pass rates ranging from 34% to 88%.

Mr English says this kind of variation is clearly unacceptable, so students, teachers and parents need know how the 'expected results' compare with the actual results handed out last year.

"Students can pick which NCEA standards they are examined on, and they tend to pick the standards with higher pass rates. NZQA needs to explain whether standards with very high or very low pass rates will change substantially from last year because that information will affect decisions students make in the exam room.

"For instance, where the pass rate was well under 40% last year, will it be increased? Where the pass rate was 80%, will it be decreased?

"Students are still reeling from last year's NCEA debacle. This is the NZQA's chance to restore their confidence in the system by being open and transparent.

"The Martin report into NCEA says NZQA has not had time to make meaningful changes to the way exams are set. It now needs to show that the changes that have been made have some integrity, otherwise it looks like it will just adjust the results where necessary to avoid another year of bad publicity," says Mr English.

ENDS

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