Threat of league tables hangs over the start to school

Press Release – NZEI

With the new school year about to begin, the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is repeating its call for the government to move to protect centralised ‘National Standards’ information from being drawn up into damaging league tables. Threat of league tables hangs over the start to the school year

With the new school year about to begin, the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is repeating its call for the government to move to protect centralised ‘National Standards’ information from being drawn up into damaging league tables.

All schools must submit their student achievement data based on ‘National Standards’ to the Education Ministry by May 31st.

NZEI says schools are deeply concerned that the information will be made public and aggregated into crude league tables that will unfairly label students, schools and their communities.

“It’s a top-of-mind issue and worry for principals, teachers and school as we go into the 2012 school year,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

“They know that ‘National Standards’ data is inconsistent and that each school is interpreting the Standards differently. Aggregating that data into national or local league tables that give the impression of ranking school effectiveness would be unfair”.

“The public should not be duped into thinking the effectiveness of schools can be judged on such inconsistent and flawed assessment which cannot properly reflect a student’s learning or progress”.

“Any National Standards-based league table will simply reflect school decile and serve to name and shame some of the very schools which are working the hardest to raise student achievement,” Mr Leckie says.

NZEI believes that school and teacher accountability is essential and parents have a right to know that their children are engaged in high quality, effective teaching and learning programmes.

However Mr Leckie says the danger is ‘National Standards’ will increasingly become a blunt driver of the government’s accountability agenda.

“That puts our education system at the mercy of junk information. It will also create unhealthy competition between schools, the likely massaging of student achievement information and a teaching to the test approach. Is this really what we want for our world-leading education system and our children?”

NZEI says schools want an assurance that centralised ‘National Standards’ information will be protected, otherwise the government will find that come May 31st, schools will be reluctant to hand their student achievement data over.

ENDS

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