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Nats double down on failed national standards policy

Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, August 27th, 2017 - 124 comments
Categories: education, national, useless - Tags: , , ,

The centerpiece of National’s campaign launch was an education package built around the demonstrably failed national standards policy. From Stuff:

Prime Minister Bill English has unveiled a big boost for education as his flagship announcement at the party’s campaign launch in Auckland.

* a $126 million investment to raise maths achievement for primary school students.

“National Standards show we need to lift our game in maths. So we’ll provide our students and teachers with the tools they need to do that.

National standards were introduced to miraculously fix reading and maths, recall the claims:

New Zealand elected a Government that promised to introduce national standards so that every single child could read, write, and do maths when they left school. That is what the country voted for.

It was against the advice of teachers, princiapals and experts. It was ridiculous then and it’s ridiculous now. But we let’s try more of the same (more from Stuff):

* Update National Standards to “National Standards Plus”

so “families have more comprehensive and more timely information about their children’s achievements in the classroom”.

“We will show you your child’s progress on your mobile phone.”

Showing “your child’s progress on your mobile phone” is a usless gimmick, and (more to the point) the standards themselves are a failure:

National standards pass rates plateau as distress rises

The number of children passing the national standards in reading, writing and maths has dropped slightly, new figures show.

The percentages of children judged to be at or above the standards last year were 77.8 percent in reading, 75.4 percent in maths and 71.2 percent in writing.

The figures were 0.1-0.3 of a percentage point lower than in 2015 and little different to achievement rates in 2014 and 2013.

Earlier this week, a national survey reported 63 percent of teachers said anxiety about the standards was affecting the performance of some students, up from 41 percent in 2013.

Forty percent of principals told the survey the focus on literacy and mathematics caused by the standards had taken attention away from other aspects of the curriculum. …

See also:

Dumbing down a generation: Performance of NZ schoolchildren plummeting
NZ 10-year-olds worst at maths in English-speaking world
Children’s learning not improving under National Standards measurements
The trouble with NZ’s primary schools
What PISA tells us about grade inflation in NCEA
Why no one wants to teach in New Zealand

National’s policies have stuffed education in NZ, and all they can think of to do at this point is to double down on failure. So much for listening to real data. Never mind listening to actual teachers. Let’s fail harder!

Time to change the government.

124 comments on “Nats double down on failed national standards policy”

  1. Ad 1

    Just lower the standards. Everyone’s a winner baby that’s no lie.

    Loosen a bit here, loosen a bit there, and you find your trousers fall down.

  2. tracey 2

    Talk about clinging to the days of yore. Doubly hilarious is Bennett and others talking about how no one in labour has experience to be in Cabinet… er how many Nats had never been in cabinet before 2008? Don’t National call it a fresh look?

  3. Well, we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Thinking outside of their limited ideology is something that National is incapable of.

    • garibaldi 3.1

      It is heartening to watch National floundering around this time. Surely they’ve got more to offer than certain to fail, crappy policies? Feels a bit like a reverse of Helen Clark’s campaign in 2008 with the way the momentum is going to Labour. Excellent!

      • tracey 3.1.1

        But without the third party attacks on Bill’s personal life or other negative stuff (Helengrad etc)

      • Surely they’ve got more to offer than certain to fail, crappy policies?

        Nope.

        And even when they do have a good policy their implementation of it makes it worthless or worse.

    • Incognito 3.2

      If by “ideology” you mean the every-day story that they breathe and tell themselves, the one that they were taught by their parents & peers alike, then you’re absolutely spot on that they are incapable of stepping out of it.

      There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

      https://www.1843magazine.com/story/david-foster-wallace-in-his-own-words

  4. Stephen Doyle 4

    National testing on its way. Then our students will be well and truly screwed.

    • At one point before the 1984 neo liberal reforms and national standards etc we were one of the most literate country’s on earth.

      noW wee ar al su bakwerds .

  5. Pete 5

    So now we are to have parents poring over results on-line and if their child isn’t better than some other kid they know they’ll be wanting to know why.

    And the ‘why’ is that the teacher is not doing a good job.

    The biggest, dumbest, worst education decision ever for the kids and teachers of this country.

    They are fucken cretins and they know this sort of cretinous idea will appeal to like minded cretins.

    • tracey 5.1

      And giving a bonus to teachers to go to schools that have no trouble attracting teachers. The announcements are beyond bewildering. More flight from lower decile schools by parents and teachers.

  6. Ant 6

    Behind the times by a million miles. Self-paced apps (maths, science, accounting etc) take students step-by step at their own pace through processes designed not only to hone skills but to improve efficiency in these disciplines.

    What cannot be attained in this manner are interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, social confidence and self-appreciation. (Gain these and watch depression, bullying, suicide plummet). Here a teacher, as an able orchestrator of classroom dynamic and interaction, can harness the contributions made by all in group discussions and develop an atmosphere where everyone recognises the value of self and one another.

    Bottom line? Only possible in class-size 20 or under.

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    And talk of language x 2+.

    Doesn’t get basics aren’t being learnt

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11912050

    • Muttonbird 7.1

      I know. What is this second language policy all about when this…

      New Zealand elected a Government that promised to introduce national standards so that every single child could read, write, and do maths when they left school. That is what the country voted for.

      Now they say National Standards show Kiwi kids are falling behind in maths and they throw $160m at a second language?

  8. In Vino 8

    I have spent my life teaching English and 2 other languages in Secondary schools.
    I laugh this dumb scheme to scorn.
    I know very well that numbers of foreign language teachers simply do not exist in the primary schools. They are a beleaguered lot in secondary schools!
    So these stupid Nats think it can all be done online??
    Warning – online with a good teacher works. Online alone – only a fool would even contemplate it.
    The Nats apparently qualify as such.

  9. Macro 9

    If we were to spend less time “assessing” and “reporting” and more time actually working with students, then the results would be different. Many years ago when I first entered teaching I read a very inspirational book by John Holt entitled “Why children Fail”. It was based on his investigations in US schools, but his analysis was as pertinent then to NZ as it is pertinent today.
    Essentially his thesis was that excessive assessments and reporting of progress does more to hinder learning than it does to promote. Why? Because of the fear of failure. Understanding this is critical for any educator. It is the same in high performance sport as it is in the classroom. This stupid idea of sending reports on students progress to parents phones is certain to result in even worse performance than before. The Nats haven’t a F**King clue.

    • Pete 9.1

      You read a book that showed something that didn’t work? And National want to do the ‘doesn’t work’ thing here?

      Well I never, call me surprised. This is the idiot lot who keep raving about research and data so only the sensible effective things are done.

      Nikki Kay is their little darling and education is her political toy.

      • tracey 9.1.1

        And she had to personally get cancer to see the world needs fixing.

        • Incognito 9.1.1.1

          It must have been only a minor or temporary epiphany because she’s still standing for National.

    • In Vino 9.2

      Wow, Macro. I had actually forgotten that I had read that excellent book, but it obviously had its effect, because I totally agree!

      • Macro 9.2.1

        Yes he wrote several books:
        How Children Fail
        How Children Learn
        The Underachieving School
        What do I do Monday?
        Freedom and Beyond
        and others.
        I still have them on my bookcase, rather battered from many referrals.
        They formed the basis for my own pedagogy.

  10. JanM 10

    I am a retired ece teacher/lecturer and have spent time helping in my grandson’s new entrant classroom. It breaks my heart to see these poor kids struggling with stupid National Standards, and saddens me to see an experienced teacher being forced to follow a system she knows does’t work well

    • Upnorth 10.1

      As a parent i find national standards very easy to follow and has helped establish my child was struggling in maths. Though good at other subjects.
      I have been on school boards and trust me it identified under performing teachers or subjects.
      The ability to apply resource to failing areas was unvaluable as a trustee.

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        There are better ways to identify that your child is struggling. Ask yourself why Nats hang on to a system.discarded elsewhere.

      • tracey 10.1.2

        Invaluable. There are better ways to identify it. Imagine if cheaper ways were used to identify and the balance used to rectify. You would love that for your child’s future ay?

      • As a parent i find national standards very easy to follow and has helped establish my child was struggling in maths.

        If you couldn’t do it before hand then it was you who was failing as an adult.

        • Upnorth 10.1.3.1

          Excuse me..that is a silly comment. Guess what…failing in math was due to the delivery in the classroom. National standards identified it and the school made a change…great stuff.

          • Cinny 10.1.3.1.1

            With so many kids failing in maths, it’s obvious the system and style of teaching that the government decided to roll out hasn’t worked.

          • tracey 10.1.3.1.2

            No sillier than thinking you will be taxed for your septic tank. Actually way less silly.

            What was the failing btw? Can you set it out for us.

            • Upnorth 10.1.3.1.2.1

              Staff

              • Cinny

                Were the staff lacking proper training?

                • Upnorth

                  I do know that national standards help

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Delusional as well as deaf and an easy mark.

                    Please give generously to charity.

                  • Cinny

                    But you can’t answer the question, even though you blamed you childs maths failing on the teacher, and say you were on a board of trustees so presumably one would expect you to have knowledge about the entire situation.

                    How long were you on the board for? Do you not monitor the teachers in that role? Do you not talk about staff training and upskilling etc at meetings? If you thought your child was being failed by the teacher rather than the system was this not at all discussed by you with your school board collegues? And solutions worked out and put in place, such as upskilling the teacher… Really?

                    Dude….it was an easy question for someone in the position you claim to have been in.

                    You said….”The ability to apply resource to failing areas was unvaluable as a trustee.”

                    Soooo…. will ask again… Were the staff lacking training?

                    • Catafish

                      Lets say the dont teach there now…all up 7 years

                    • Upnorth

                      Lets say they dont teach anymore

                      7 years

                    • In Vino

                      Cinny – I am a secondary teacher, so know little about what is happening in the Primary system. But I ask you to consider a simple factor: teacher work overload. Too many kids per teacher.
                      When I get wonderful students in my class, I praise to God the excellent Primary school teachers who gave me them.
                      But given the scroogy bastards who under-resource our state schools, I think it a miracle that we get any good students at all.
                      I am in the Language area, not maths, but that is my opinion.

                    • In Vino

                      Oh, by the way, Upnorth. ‘invaluable’ is better than ‘unvaluable’.
                      And you claim to have applied resources to failing areas? How gratifying for you when you have not actually faced a classroom filled with unhappy pupils.

                    • Cinny

                      Let’s say they don’t teach anymore… but that isn’t answering my question UpNorth…

                      Soooo…. will ask again… Were the staff lacking training?

                      In Vino, I so understand where you are coming from, and it dosen’t matter if someone is the best teacher in the world, they will be destined to fail if there are too many kids in the class room. Chuck in a few kids with behavourial issues just to make it an even greater challenge

                      The school up the valley is so over crowded that they are teaching out of the library and ajoining hall, makes it so hard for staff and students

                    • Upnorth []

                      Yes they were…additional resource and time given

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Have you got anything original to say? I doubt it. I’m not a teacher, but it’s blindingly obvious you right wing gobshites wouldn’t recognise pedagogy even if you could grasp the concept.

                While I pity your conspiracy theory handicap and general stupidity, the fact is you’re hurting children right now, so your personal feelings are immaterial.

                The best thing to happen to education in this country would be that your hate-supremacist opinions stay in the gutter where they belong.

              • Tracey

                All of them? Wow. I am surprised that didnt make the news.

      • Pete 10.1.4

        Are you saying that in pre NS days a parent who wanted to know if their child was struggling in maths couldn’t know/find out?

      • mpledger 10.1.5

        National standards information that is reported to parents is trivial information. It has added nothing to what was already reported.

        You can’t use it to identify under-performing teachers because teachers give the grades. All you do is identify honest teachers.

      • The Fairy Godmother 10.1.6

        I found as a parent national standards bland and boring and told me nothing about my child who was always above the standard. Nothing to aim for, nothing about her interests what the next step was in her learning. You see I compared it with the reports my older children got which were personalised relevant and told me a lot.

        Of more concern is the pressure high stakes assessment places on schools. In USA it has caused widespread corruption and cheating. One wonders if any gains in children’s test scores is merely schools giving the answer they government wants.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/education/22winerip.html

        • In Vino 10.1.6.1

          +1 Fairy!

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.6.2

          You see I compared it with the reports my older children got which were personalised relevant and told me a lot.

          One of the comments on here many years ago when National was rolling out National Standards was that the RWNJs simply couldn’t understand the reports that they were getting.

          Seems that Upnorth has just proved that comment.

  11. Upnorth 11

    Love to know how much taxes i will pay now under labour for water. I have water tanks and septic tank.

  12. Showing “your child’s progress on your mobile phone” is a usless gimmick

    It’s, IMO, likely to promote league tables which, as we know, are detrimental to education. but, then, everything that National does to education is detrimental to it while also promoting higher levels of competition between teachers and schools which is what makes it detrimental.

    • tracey 12.1

      Do they intend supplying every parent in NZ with a Smartphone and lessons on how to use the App? Will it be in multiple languages? Another bribe to the comfy middle and higher classes to be a back seat driver for the teachers. Cos we all know that giving birth instantly makes the parents pedagogical experts.

      • Upnorth 12.1.1

        Wow are you saying all parents are idiots and thank goodness for labour

        • Cinny 12.1.1.1

          That’s not what I read into it UpNorth. Here’s where I thought Tracey was coming from…

          Some people don’t have mobiles, some people don’t want them, some people don’t use them.
          Obviously something that is new to someone will require them to be educated on how to use it, especially if instructions are being read by someone who maybe is struggling with a language barrier, because english is their second language.

          If a specific tool is required to use it (mobile phone), will the tool be supplied or will they be expected to supply their own?

          Those with a cell may feel more connected, but are they really? When did they last talk to their childs teacher?… beep beep.. just got a text, my child is fabulous in maths, I’m going to foward it to all my friends to boost my own ego

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.2

          Not all parents. You provide the evidence that some parents are idiots, but that’s your cross to bear.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.3

          No, IMO, she’s saying that the majority of people are ignorant of the realities of education and thus shouldn’t be the go to people for what’s best for their child’s education.

          It’s the simple effect of specialisation that we’ve been practising for the last couple of centuries. We have people who know more about a thing to do the job because they’ll do a better job than people who aren’t trained in it.

      • Incognito 12.1.2

        The new funding is made up of a $25 million one-off investment in systems to deliver National Standards Plus, plus $20 million of ongoing funding over four years.

        https://www.national.org.nz/making_it_even_easier_to_track_your_child_s_progress

        That’s one hell of an App to see how little Johnny is doing! We could save $45 million of our own money by talking to a teacher occasionally …

        Who’s ‘delivering’ and ‘administering’ it? Novopay by any chance? Will it go out for tender? What are the privacy concerns?

        • Cinny 12.1.2.1

          Someones going to be making money

          • Macro 12.1.2.1.1

            Someones going to be making money
            Yes, that’s the raison d’état for National’s existence.
            Preferably one of their mates and donors.

        • tracey 12.1.2.2

          You mean at parent-teacher afternoons/evenings?

          • Incognito 12.1.2.2.1

            I mean any time that’s convenient, e.g. when doing the school drop off or pick up. Many teachers also communicate by e-mail. A good teacher is a good communicator and more than happy to talk with interested parents who show a real interest in their child’s progress and wellbeing …

      • The Fairy Godmother 12.1.3

        Yep so they can all decide whether they should pay for extra tuition for their little precious instead of ensuring that all New Zealand schools are good for all our children.

    • Upnorth 12.2

      Do you live under a rock…apps and smartphones etc…omg grant roberston is building his whole economic strategy on robots taking over the world and job markets….yes smartphones labour future work summit identified technology

      • Cinny 12.2.1

        There is not as much broad band coverage in the south island as you think. I only have a mobile for work not personal. Not everyone uses a cell phone, not everyone want’s their kids progress text to them

        But I certainly make time to get involved with the local school and talk to my kids teachers face to face.

        • tracey 12.2.1.1

          And an APP is more than a text which means Smartphone.

          Upnorth lives according to one perspective and world view. Their own. And the assumption that everyone’s life is as theirs is. That is your classic National profile actually.

      • tracey 12.2.2

        Therein lies the problem. National voters think all kiwis have the life they have. In fact many people do not own a Smartphone., English is a second language, broadband roll out is incomplete and cell coverage depends on where the cell tower is. I know you would like to live under the Rock, but he is making a fool of you with widget and whizzbang talk.

      • And that responds to my comment how?

  13. Muttonbird 13

    Gower thinks the second language in primary schools is a spectacular idea.

    I’d like a proper journalist to ask the question where the teachers are going to come from?

    • tracey 13.1

      And if in a class of 30…. If 3 want to do each of the ten languages? This is pandering.

      Reading msm articles some of our journalists struggle with english

      Maybe Gower is hearing Hosking is on the outter at tvnz and is sniffing out a new job?

      • In Vino 13.1.1

        They simply have no such teachers in the primary system. D’oh???
        I assume that they think that it can be done online. Utter morons.

  14. simon 14

    Bingles: “National Standards show we need to lift our game in maths. So we’ll provide our students and teachers with the tools they need to do that.”

    Hang on mate – you’ve been in government for the last 9 nine years. If things have gotten this bad, what the fuck have you been doing all this time?

  15. Cinny 15

    Many primary teachers i’ve talked to think national standards should be done away with, it’s a failed borrowed system.

    Some kids will never reach national standards, it dosen’t mean they are stupid, in fact some kids who are failing with the standards are excelling tremendously in other areas. So some kids are set up to fail right from the start with this type of measuring system.

    Remember when some other parties were putting the idea out there about te reo 2nd language in primary… and National slammed it, saying, where will they find the teachers? Has national found them with their announcement? Crikey they only teach french and te reo here at the local high school.

    So we will be able to find out via text message how our kids are doing at school? And that’s something to get excited about, a new app for the phone? Far out! Does this mean they are discouraging face to face interaction between parents and teachers? Maybe if parents didn’t have to work so hard to provide for their families they wouldn’t need freaking text message updates and instead would have time to drop in at the school now and then or take a day off work for a school trip etc.

    Yes maths is slipping, the national standards system doesn’t work and should be scrapped, NZ needs a government that will actually listen to the teachers.

    • tracey 15.1

      Applying a 3 Rs system and assessment from the 1950s is likely to fail. The world has changed so much. I remember when 50% had to fail.School C. Why do parents want this kind of bizarre thinking inflicted on their children?

      • Cinny 15.1.1

        And some things, important things, just can’t be measured, like imagination.

        Imagination where the greatest inventions mankind has ever known were born.

        • Pete 15.1.1.1

          The Nats are afraid of imaginations. They rely on most of their supporters having none. That means they can put out their bewilderingly stupid policies and have them accepted.

          • Cinny 15.1.1.1.1

            Conform !

            How does it go….

            How did you arrive at that answer? but that’s a different way of doing it, so it must be wrong, even if the answer is right. There is only one way.

            What, there is more than one solution to a problem, that can’t be right, the manual says it must be done like this, stop thinking, you need to memorise instead.

            Lmao yeah nah

      • aom 15.1.2

        Whoaaa – hang on Tracey. Your 1950’s comment is way off mark. Check out C.E. Beeby (NZ) the ‘architect of modern education’. His ethos: “every person regardless of background or ability had a right to an education of a type for which they were best suited”. It didn’t need constant evaluation and minute by minute reporting to parents to take NZ to the top of the pole then or in subsequent decades. A bit of digging down through the current top ranking education systems will no doubt show that the best of Beeby’s work is still around. Also, it is worth noting that the top ranking countries avoid frequent National Standards evaluation throughout their education systems.

  16. Ad 16

    It will be difficult to recruit teachers with dual language qualifications to actually achieve this proposed National policy when all NZ universities have had their language departments gutted or closed.

    • tracey 16.1

      Which is why this is BS. They do not intend any uptake. Just like the allowance for teachers to go to low decile schools which teacher sand Principles knew nothing about.

  17. The decrypter 17

    Bill could do a bit of moonlighting and send progress text’s out to parents, he’s pretty good at it.

    • Incognito 17.1

      Dear Glenys, it’s me again, Bill, …

      • The decrypter 17.1.1

        Bill It’s 2 o’clock in the morning!! Is it about toddy and his English language recordings??

        • Incognito 17.1.1.1

          Bill, please don’t tell me that Toddy has not met National Standards again!! He’s such a delightful promising young boy.

          • Robert Guyton 17.1.1.1.1

            Sorry to say, Glenys – Todd was caught smoking behind the bike sheds, again!

          • The decrypter 17.1.1.1.2

            Glenysinkons, toddies English tapes are missing. Winston said as “King Maker” he took them for internal assessment and will release the results tomorrow.

  18. CLEANGREEN 18

    AD;

    Probably National would never have thought of that.
    They appear to have used this policy to target the non English speaking immigrants that they have invited here in droves and now find they can’t find jobs as illiterate in speaking english?

    Of course they have not expressly said they will pay to learn english, but I feel that english will feature in the education if these students are still not speaking english.

  19. Cinny 19

    Looking forward to asking the educators their opinion this week

    I trust the teachers as they are def not in it for the money.

    • In Vino 19.1

      I recommend that Upnorth go teaching. He will either fail instantly, or have to learn so much that his brain might explode.
      Mind you, he probably would not be able to afford it – the pay is not good enough for his sort.

      • Incognito 19.1.1

        I recommend a strict diet of breast milk 8-10 times a day plus night-feeding to sustain the formation of new neural connections and brain development. And lots of sleep!

  20. Upnorth 20

    Grant roberston future of work plans are clear…invest in digital and we need this new generation…it is clear labour policy

    • Cinny 20.1

      Love Grants future of work, and I also love that Labour listens to teachers and will scrap the failed national standards because it is not working.

  21. PB 21

    For those of us working in schools the idea that there are teachers available out there ready to teach spanish/french/mandarin or even Te Reo Maori in every school in NZ in about what Nikki Kaye says is two years is simply laughable. Does anyone really think that there is a spanish teacher just waiting to teach in Kaiti or Oturu let alone already hard to staff, apparently, Auckland schools? Ridiculous.

    And even more if you believe that primary schools are struggling with the basics, over recent weeks there job has just got busier and harder with the introduction of the Digital Technology curriculum and now lets add in a second language!

    • Pete 21.1

      It’s not about adding a second language it’s about creating an impression before an election.

      She knows that most of those who are likely to think she’s come up with a brilliant practical idea are deluded and any others who decide her party are brilliant for coming up with the idea in the way they have, and firm their vote for her lot because of it, will prove their delusion by the act of voting.

  22. Ethica 22

    National Standards stifles creativity. Creative, innovative kids are what we need for our future. With National Standards NZ fails. As well as the National Party.

  23. Philj 23

    Dumb down the populace, they are more likely to vote for you. Can English Trump Key?

  24. Andrea 24

    If Labour chooses to explore the notion of language teaching to young children there’s the inevitable long lead time before materials, teachers, methodology can be developed.

    Before we can join much of the world in being multi-lingual – it would be useful to increase the number of ESOL teachers available to schools and migrants – wherever they might be in the country. Rural schools particularly, for areas where there are migrant workers on farms. And in the evenings, too.

    Do you suppose Labour will bring back adult education and night classes? Or will they continue with National’s stingy attitude? Has spokesperson Chris Hipkins said anything? Or is he still in purdah for the Aussie oops?

    There’s a lot of adult illiteracy, too, remember.

  25. In Vino 25

    At only one hour per week, our students ain’t becoming multilingual any time soon. Ridiculous. I doubt if any of National’s policy-makers have ever properly learnt a second language themselves.

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