Doubt cast on Nat Standards data
Wed, 03 Oct 2012 8:07a.m.
Nearly half of teachers tested on their understanding of national standards for student's writing got it wrong, casting doubt on schools' results.
A report for the Ministry of Education exposed a high error rate for teachers who were tested on their understanding of national standards, Radio New Zealand reports.
Of those teachers asked to judge examples of children's writing against the standards 49 percent got it wrong. In maths the error rate was 39 percent.
The ministry says error rates in final results will not be as high because these are based on a number of examples of each child's work.
However, the report calls into question the dependability of teachers' assessments.
The testing found that when teachers were wrong they tended to mark work better than it was.
The Green Party is now calling for the national standards website to be pulled down.
“The results are wrong and the site publishing them should immediately come down,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says.
She says children are being written off as failures and schools are being judged on the data.
“It is common for information to be pulled from public websites when it has been proven to be wrong and that should happen here.”
Last week the Government published national standards data from nearly 2000 schools.
National standards are benchmarks in reading, writing and maths.
The results from the schools show how their students are performing against those benchmarks, and identify problems.
The standards were introduced last year.
NZN / 3 News
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18/10/2012 6:38:11 p.m.
Dr Cherie Taylor-Patel wrote:
NCEA - the secondary equivalent of national standards in primary schools has had extensive funding input over the last 10 years to ensure data from all our 300+ NZ secondary schools is comparable. Moderation within and across schools is an on-going process because there are always new teachers coming into the system, new courses being developed and assessment criteria that needs to be further developed and modified so it is reliable, valid and accurate. The Ministry of Education has tried to use data from 2000+ primary schools to compare schools with no process in place to begin to moderate data across schools. National standards should be abandoned as a bad policy that is unworkable in practice as there are many other ways we could look to inform parents about schools and the Ministry about trends and areas of need in education.
9/10/2012 12:24:09 p.m.
Gosh I wish TV3 had a LIKE button!!
But some of you people obviously aren't teachers, because I can see the usual dribble about teachers whinging and not liking change. Shall I come and tell you how to do your job perhaps?
I'm sure that some people think Alan Duff is not much of a writer because he doesn't use writing conventions considered to be a good writer, and yet he has sold a lot of books, enought to get prizes and have some of his books made into films.
Well writing is subjective. In my school we have been having this discussion all year. Some of us mark quite hard, some easier. We have spent a lot of time this year moderating and coming to an agreed understanding. Every school I have taught at in the last 10 years has been having this conversation. Why?
Because it is not as cut and dried when it comes to writing as it is for numeracy or reading. There are a lot of factors in writing such as surface features (spelling, punctuation, making sense, grammar), sentence construction (varying beginnings of sentences, varying sentence length, using simple or compound or complex sentences, vocabulary used) and the deeper features (author's voice, gaining the reader's attention, using the appropriate genre, language features like onomatopoeia or alliteration or simile or metaphor or technical language, descriptive language, paragraphing....).
The National Standards book is vague and unhelpful. It does not measure up to the New Zealand Curriculum or the Literacy Progressions. Unlike the NZC or the Progressions, the Standards were not researched or trialled. They were dumped upon teachers with poor consultation.
Standards and national testing has failed in other countries. The US, UK and Australia have slipped behind NZ with their implementation, whilst Finland has shot ahead, doing what we used to do.
We should return fully to the NZC and focus on doing what Finland does, and move forwards.
4/10/2012 11:37:39 a.m.
Seems to me teachers need to get a grip on the real world where performance and achievement can be measured to a firm national standard and poor results are not glossed over with internal self assessments to whatever individual teachers or schools like to use as their own localised 'yard sticks'.
3/10/2012 9:37:39 p.m.
Of course there is a great disparity in the writing results. Whilst there are standardised tests we may apply to rate Reading and Mathematic performance, there is no such diagnostic tool for writing - nor could there be. Writing is such an individual and very personal pursuit that it is naturally the most complex for a teacher to attempt to assess. It will NOT slot neatly into the BOX the Ministry wants it to fit. Statements like this from the MOE just go to show how far removed they are from the realities of teaching and the real needs of our students.
3/10/2012 5:17:47 p.m.
From what I've heard, National Standards were reverse-engineered from NCEA Level 2.
NCEA was a shoddy framework to begin with - it still is. A lot of the marking criteria for some assessments are outright ambiguous and often vague. It all comes down to who your teacher is and whether or not they can steer you in the right direction (aka, one that will actually allow you to pass beyond reasonable doubt). And even then, work that seems like it should definitely pass can still be questioned by a moderator - which brings the whole school into question.
Given that, how can they expect National Standards, which again, was reverse-engineered from NCEA Level 2 - how can it be expected that this is a sound method by which to test your child's learning? I'm not surprised that there are inconsistencies in marking - when it was first introduced, it hadn't been tested, there were constant changes, and every teacher was constantly having to play 'catch-up' with their results.
Do you really expect that you, as parents, can gain a sufficient understand of how well your child is doing in school, based on a system that was itself untested?
You can't judge anything purely by results - not when those results come from unsound testing methods.
And I'm not a teacher, myself. Never have been, and I'd never be inclined to be - I don't have that kind of strength.
I'm simply a concerned parent who chose to question these changes, rather than take them on with blind faith.
3/10/2012 5:07:33 p.m.
When the prime minister John Key describes the National Standards data as "ropey" (i.e. unreliable) but is published on the MoE website anyway how can such data be used, as CHANGE has suggested to test schools. Given that NZ outperforms Australia in international studies (e.g. PISA) why adopt failed policies from lower performing countries? After over 30 years primary teaching my experience is that even although I clearly state things for parents to work on with their children, seldom do they do so, and we are a high decile school. To LULU, again, why import failed policies from overseas countries? There are many overseas world renowned experts who say that the policies being introduced have been detrimental to education improvement. Here's an idea - let's try introducing policies that have been introduced by BETTER performing countries where it is needed, and use the "if it's not broke don't fix it" approach in the areas where we are already number one.
3/10/2012 2:08:10 p.m.
When NCEA was first introduced at Secondary Schools there were teething problems for teachers. The problems have been largely sorted over time by the teachers. There are teething problems with National Standards. No doubt, these problems will also be ironed out as teachers gain an understanding of what is required. Parents deserve a chance to learn about their how their children's education is progressing at Primary and Intermediate level, when something can be done before it's too late. Parents do not need the Green Party to shoot this scheme down because they want to score some political points against National. It's so patronising and so short sighted.
3/10/2012 1:23:49 p.m.
seems to me teachers dont like change maybe thats because they have been at school their whole lives Being a good teacher is a gift its something that is a love not just a job.Having a standards test for pupils and schools works wwell in Australia which is appartantly where all Kiwis want to be?? so I dont see the problem and if it picks up schools and kids that are not getting required levels of the basics so parents can arrange extra help for theie kids I dont see an issue whatever helps reduce the number of kid that slip through school without learning to read or write or basic maths
3/10/2012 11:29:30 a.m.
The National Standards debacle is yet aonther example of poor government. This approach has no evidence base in terms of improving student achievement and for the govt is just a means of foisting performance pay on teachers based on junk data. A great way to run down the public education system!
3/10/2012 11:06:04 a.m.
Could it be the ministry of education facts and figures at fault again or did they fail to impliment the required standards to the teaching staff? It seems to be a very high discrepancy and if half teaching staff got it wrong then schooling in nz has dropped to below standards and possibly the worst in NZ history. Way to go National. Whos going to hide this one then?
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