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Backlash from teachers over National Standards data

Monday 24 Sep 2012 6:30 p.m.

By Charlotte Shipman

There's been a backlash from teachers and school principals to the publishing of National Standards data, which has seen parents comparing their children's schools with others. Some boards of trustees have been asking why their schools look like they're failing.

Island Bay School has achieved good results under the National Standards scheme. Regardless, principal Perry Rush says the data collected from the data is too immature to be valuable.

“We fully support parents being well informed,” he says. “The question is whether this data is something parents can rely on, can have confidence in, and the answer is quite clearly no.”

At the weekend, Fairfax Media published National Standards figures from more than 1000 schools throughout the country. Online, users can also compare schools.

Mr Rush says literacy and numeracy standards are different at each school, making comparisons between schools unfair.

The head of the Principals’ Federation agrees and says the figures set an alarming precedent.

“These standards will become even more dangerous, risky and harmful the more reliable they become,” says Paul Drummond, “because then the comparisons that will be made will be deemed to be more accurate. But they will only be accurate around three parts of our curriculum. And I think as a parent we are more ambitious for our children than just reading, writing and maths.”

But parents 3 News spoke aren't as concerned about the numbers.

“I'm only worried about what my own child does and what the teachers give me feedback,” says parent Lousie Wells. “As long as they're doing well I'm happy.”

“It comes back to the child's happiness and if you see them progressing,” says parent Adele Morris. “I've always felt that it's not just up to the school to take responsibility for their learning.”

“We know that parents want this information, that it's part of a bigger picture of children getting what they need,” says Education Minister Hekia Parata.

On Friday the Government will make available on its website each school’s own reporting of its National Standards data.

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