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The Standard

National standards nonsense

Written By: - Date published: 9:53 am, June 12th, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, schools - Tags: , ,

If there was a national standard in scientific method than the right wing spinsters talking up yesterday’s national standards results would all fail it. As reported yesterday:

Concerning trends in National Standards data

Education Minister Hekia Parata says the latest National Standards data reveals some concerning trends, including a decline in the rate of achievement as the year level increases, especially in mathematics. … However, Ms Parata said that overall the results were a “pleasing advance on last year’s data”. …

The 2012 national aggregate data shows:

• Reported achievement against the National Standard for reading increased by 1.2 percentage points from 76.2 per cent in 2011 to 77.4 per cent in 2012.

• Reported achievement against the National Standard for mathematics increased by 1.4 points from 72.2 per cent in 2011 to 73.6 per cent in 2012.

• Reported achievement against the National Standard for writing increased by 2 points from 68 per cent in 2011 to 70 per cent in 2012.

There are no “trends” that can be meaningfully observed in a tiny difference between two noisy data points from an unreliable, unmoderated process. It’s nonsense:

Educators dismiss claim of national standards improvement

Educators have dismissed Government figures on national standards results showing students are doing better in reading, writing and maths.

… The figures are between 1.2 and 2 percentage points higher than in 2011, the first year schools reported their results. Education Minister Hekia Parata said the change is because students are doing better.

Or it’s noise, or it’s grade inflation, or it’s teaching to the test and ignoring other important aspects of education, and so on.

… But Principals Federation president Phillip Harding dismissed Ms Parata’s comments. “The claim by the minister that … 1 percent here and there represents an improvement is frankly ridiculous. “The standards are not national, they are not standard and teachers are still interpreting them in completely different ways from one end of the country to the other. To then come out and say that it represents progress is either mischievous or it’s uninformed.”

Professor Lee believes the increase was because teachers were concentrating on things that gave students high scores in tests to help decide if they had met a standard.

Education academics have described Ms Parata’s claim as dangerous, not credible and very optimistic. They say teachers are still learning how to use the standards and it is too soon to draw any conclusions from the results.

Howard Lee, head of educational studies at Massey University, says the latest results don’t show that students are doing better in reading, writing and maths. “That isn’t a credible claim. Essentially, what we’d be wanting to look for is long-term improvements over at least five to 10 years. I mean, it’s natural over a year or two that a 1.2 to 2 percent increase is interesting, but I think that the key point really is, no I don’t think the data is robust at this point.” …

Exactly.

Of course that doesn’t stop ignorant anonymous commentators from dutifully repeating the Nats’ spin in newspapers that should know better.

It’s good to see that Labour have come out and said that they would dump national standards (along with charter schools). Good. These ideologically driven (and known to be damaging) fantasies have no place in a good education system.

34 comments on “National standards nonsense”

  1. The silliest bit of National Standards is that it is providing information that we know already.

    The resources would be way better used upskilling teachers or decreasing class sizes or providing extra support for kids that are struggling.

    The education of all the other kids would also improve because there would be more time for learning and less time for doing tests.

    But that would remove from the Government a weapon they can use to terrorise teachers with …

  2. Dv 2

    I was confused by Paratas

    I trust the teachers to get the correct grades

    AND

    What do the teachers know they are wrong eg the NZEI, academics

  3. Winston Smith 3

    Does this mean shearer changed his mind (again) since last year?
    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/labour-won-t-scrap-national-standards-shearer-5070882

    Or are the Labour party basically ignoring their leader?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      Tell you what, rather than me explain it to you, why don’t you go and take the time to find out how the Labour party makes policy. Then your comments won’t be so crippled by ignorance.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      Exactly. If National Standards are such a big fail, why is Labour choosing to keep it around as an option for schools.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Because they’re compromising with the right wing nutters again rather than having the strength to tell them to fuck off.

    • tracey 3.3

      or would Ms Parata fail NCEA Stats?

  4. ianmac 4

    NZ Council of Educational Research spent years perfecting moderated tests for Reading and Maths before release for school use. These are the much used PAT for Reading and Maths. Even then about 10% of those have dodgy results. So Unmoderated National Standards are farcical.
    For years it has been known that girls are better at testing and that Maori/Pacifica are lagging behind. But Minister Parata, what are you going to do about it? There is a limit to measuring with very floppy rulers.
    One thing that would help would be smaller classes. Private Schools trumpet smaller classes as a huge advantage. Why not for Primary Schools?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Why not for Primary Schools?

      Because that would mean a) that taxes would have to increase and b) the majority of people would have the education necessary to pick up the BS that National and Act peddle.

  5. mac1 5

    Winston Smith @3. This discussion was held before on an earlier charter schools thread.

    Here is an article from the Waikato Times in March this year. No change from that position with what Hipkins says.

    Shearer says in the Waikato Times that charter schools and national standards will go. “He gave his reassurance that if the Labour party was elected he would do away with national standards and charter schools.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/rotorua-review/8476876/Shearer-holds-Govt-to-account

    • Winston Smith 5.1

      Sounds like hes saying one thing to one group and another thing to a different group, smart thinking telling everyone what they want to hear.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.1

        Only a cretin would want to hear that National’s cro-magnon “standards” would be staying. Might explain your enthusiasm for them.

      • fatty 5.1.2

        Sounds like hes saying one thing to one group and another thing to a different group

        If that is true, then give us the opposing quotes and develop an argument. You could be onto something.
        But you won’t do that, will you? You’ll just post a vague accusation and then pull a Houdini when its time to make your point.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1

          I’m no fan of Winston Smith but his tvnz news link above quotes Shearer as saying that Labour will not cancel National Standards.

        • Winston Smith 5.1.2.2

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/rotorua-review/8476876/Shearer-holds-Govt-to-account
          “He gave his reassurance that if the Labour party was elected he would do away with national standards and charter schools.”

          http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/labour-won-t-scrap-national-standards-shearer-5070882
          “Labour Party leader David Shearer says a Labour government would not cancel National Standards in schools, as it rolls out a Reading Recovery programme.”

          • fatty 5.1.2.2.1

            see, you can do it.

            But the problem is that both statements are not quotes from Shearer. You have only provided one quote (from the Breakfast interview), whereas the meeting in Rotorua is a report…so why didn’t she use his statement as a quote?

            I just did a quick search on the author of the Waikato Times article and there was a teacher in Rotorua by the same name (Amy Childs). My guess is she was a teacher, so she is hardly an ‘objective’ reporter.

            So, a former local teacher has paraphrased Shearer and claims Shearer said he would do away with national standards and charter schools.

            Maybe I missed the quote as I’m in a rush, but I’m still not convinced.

            • mac1 5.1.2.2.1.1

              I googled Waikato Times and then the Rotorua Review. Amy Childs is a reporter for the Rotorua Review. Rotorua is where the Shearer meeting with teachers took place. She has 103 articles accredited to her by the Rotorua Review website search engine.

              She is a reporter. She should be accurate with her note taking and reportage. I’d say the report is ‘safe’. The fact that it is backed up by a statement from Hipkins, the education spokesperson, gives credibility to that report.

              I am very sure that a misrepresentation of both Shearer and Hipkins would be made obvious.

              It would seem therefore, that Shearer and the Labour Party have firmed up their views of where charter schools and national standards from last year. As a former teacher, I welcome that.

              • Colonial Viper

                The easiest answer is that Shearer changed his position between last year and this year. Which is fine, because he has learnt more about the subject, listened to teachers, and made a new decision that National Standards must go – which I agree with.

                • Miranda

                  CV

                  Bet-you that Shearer is still sitting on the fence.
                  Bet-you that Shearer will water things down and “retain the good bits” blah blah

                  Simulation and dissimulation is Shearer’s DNA.

                  Non-commitment is Shearer’s DNA.

                  “That man has NO Bottom”…my great Aunt Millicent would say about David Shearer.

                • Bunji

                  Labour’s always wanted to get rid of National Standards, it’s been a matter of having the guts to do it. It is popular (if scientifically and pedagogically invalid) with a reasonable number of middle-class voting types.

                  So the plan last election & last year was “we’ll make it one of 6 options of assessment and let schools choose” – knowing that virtually no school will choose it and they can get rid of it without offending those middle-class swing voters who like it.

                  We now seem to be slowly seeing a bolder Labour, who are willing to just say: nah, National Standards are shite.

                  Bravo I say.

                • fatty

                  Me too, there is no way national standards are of any use, whichever way you look at them.
                  Just odd that Shearer would announce his plans to abolish them in March, at a small gathering in Rotorua, and leave it at that. Has he talked about it anywhere else?

      • tracey 5.1.3

        I can’t imagine where he could have seen that tactic before??? Who do you vote for WS if you don’t like that in a politician? You must hate the current government and its hangers on.

  6. BLiP 6

    As mentioned over in Open Mike, the wonderful Kim Hill teased out the very issues you’ve raised here in a great interview with Hekia . . . well worth a listen:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2558311/reading,-writing-and-%27rithmetic-who%27s-got-their-sums-right

    (EDIT: How do you get that direct link with the tape arrows thingwotsit to show?)

    • Hi Blip

      You copy the mp3 link and paste it like so …

      Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  7. Rosetinted 7

    Hekia Parata has been constantly surprised since she was propelled from Planet Key into her Ministry of Education job. She has now found out the useful information from not-national lack-of-standards, that girls are doing better than boys and Maori and Pacific Islanders are trailling behind. Funny I thought I had heard all that before somewhere.

    But Hekia alias Lady Gardiner and a past executive of a number of organisations,has a focussed view on whatever project she is working on. No time to look widely at the factors involved, stay narrow and focussed on task. And don’t learn about the wider environment of society that you live in, except to notice and grab the low-hanging fruit that will help you on your upward mobility plan.

  8. tracey 8

    Can we be sure Perata was told the wrong stuff over Novopay, she seems to fail in reading comprehension and statistics, so…

  9. fabregas4 9

    Except Chris Hipkins has added of late …’in their current form’ to the end of ‘National Standards will go”.

    We will see I guess. Tracey Martin of NZF seems to be the only sensible and informed Education Spokesperson at present.

    • dpalenski 9.1

      Yeah I’m I was thinking it sounds they want another standard test/measurement *facepalm*

      Guideline Labour the national curriculum is a guideline not a prescription that’s followed religiously teachers use their own judgement of how it should be taught for 40+ years we trusted teachers to do it right why not now Finland still does

      Hekia talking about us doing everything world class education systems do. Yeah right

      GERM is a great acronym because it spreads and infects nearly everything to some degree.

  10. Rodel 10

    So sad that staff at most of our universities, especially humanities, have lost their mojo and are too cowed to comment on this nonsense.

  11. georgecom 11

    “National” “Standards” are nothing of the sort. The degree of variance between schools & children etc mean that there is no national consistency in results. There is insufficient moderation to arrive at a nationally consistent benchmarking of each and every child against the standards. The Governments policy fails to set national nationwide standards of achievement.

    The “National” “Standards” however are sufficient enough to cause damage within the education system including a narrowing of curriculum and taking focus away from implementing and bedding in the new curriculum.

    If the government intended leaving local assessment in the hands of teachers & schools then imposing a so called set of “National Standards” whilst allowing for local school automony was a hugely retrograde step. Schools already had sufficient tools to assess childrens learning. The “N” “S” were hastily drawn up and hastily rolled out across the sector. In some cases the stuff was being made up as it was being rolled out. More than that it was horribly expenive and horribly disruptive.

    So what we have is an assessment regime that relies on teachers judgement but without sufficient moderation to be nationally consistent. The assessment regime was poorly designed, poorly thought through and poorly consulted. The roll out was in a number of cases shambolic, expensive and very poor targeting of education funding. The current dogs breakfast is however negative enough to do damage to our education system.

    So, essentially, it fails to meet any of the governments aims but can do some real harm.

    If the government wanted to get a real national snapshot of childrens learning assessed against exact benchmarks, it would institute national tests. That however has been shown to be more deterimental to an education system.

    All in all an outcome not unlike Novapay but perhaps harder to explain to people. There must be severe questions whether the “N” “S” dogs breakfast is worth keeping and spending any further money on.

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  • Latest Air NZ plan carries on regional snub
    Christchurch Labour Members of Parliament have secured a meeting with Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon following the airline’s decision to cut its Christchurch to Tokyo summer flights.  They are also calling on the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Carmel Sepuloni back in Social Development role
    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    1 day ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    5 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    6 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    6 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    6 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    1 week ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 weeks ago

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