Interesting piece on Stuff this morning:
ERO drops decile ratings from reports
The decile rating of schools has been scrapped from Education Review Office reports. ERO chief review officer Dr Graham Stoop made the surprise announcement yesterday in an effort to “correct the stereotype that a school’s decile equals performance”.
Schools are given a decile rating of one to 10, reflecting the proportion of students from low socio-economic communities. About 10 per cent of schools are in decile one and have the highest proportion of pupils from low socio-economic communities. Lower deciles are allocated higher rates of funding by the Education Ministry but deciles are no reflection on the quality of a school.
There have been suggestions that some parents have been treating deciles as a reflection of quality, with a “white flight” recorded of tens of thousands of Pakeha children away from decile one, two and three schools in the last 10 years.
Prime Minister John Key has said some parents assume the decile ranking is “a proxy for the quality of a school” which could be “very unfair”.
Dr Stoop yesterday said taking the decile rating off ERO reports would “help remove this element of confusion and correct this misconception”.
Right, so the government ignored most expert advice, international precedent, and the overwhelming majority of schools and teachers, to bulldoze through national standards. The data from the standards is nonsense, but it is going to be published anyway because the Nats’ claim that the good parents of [insert region here] are desperate to see it. But – they are excising decile ratings because they are confusing, unfair and misleading? White flight – what the hell do they think is going to happen with the national standards data?
These two “policies” are so completely incoherently at odds with each other that it’s hard to believe (typical for Nat “education” policy I’m afraid). A cynic might suggest (and several did in Open mike this morning) that the dropping of decile ratings is really an attempt to obscure the link between poverty and educational underachievement. Mmmmm.
All that said, no one is a big fan of decile ratings. The piece above continues:
Teacher union the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) said clear information about the social and economic context of schools should be published in place of the decile ratings, which were “crude”. It suggested including data on student transience, the number of children with special needs or English as a second language and the number of children attending breakfast clubs.
Decile ratings shouldn’t be dropped, they should be replaced by better data. And if “ropey” national standards data is to be published, these economic measures should be included with it. The only reason that the Nats would argue that parents want some facts but not others is political game-playing.