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Nats testing plan proves unpopular

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 pm, October 1st, 2008 - 18 comments
Categories: education - Tags:

Just one in 10 school principals support the type of national standards for pupils being proposed by the National Party, a study reported in the NZ Herald suggests:

National education standards are favoured by:
* 10% of the 196 primary school principals surveyed.
* 13% of the 912 primary school teachers surveyed.
* 38% of the 329 primary school board trustees surveyed.
* 10% of the 194 high school principals surveyed.
* 25% of the 818 high school teachers surveyed.
* 31% of the 278 high school board trustees surveyed.

It confirms a previous stance from school principals:

The New Zealand Principal Federation (NZPF) is very disappointed with National’s proposed education policy, which is looking to introduce compulsory national testing.

‘National testing is such an old-fashioned idea,’ says NZPF President Paddy Ford. ‘What’s more, it is ineffective. In every country where national testing has been imposed, learning outcomes have not increased. National testing is, quite simply, a backward step.’

Maybe it’s back to the white board for Nationals education policy?

18 comments on “Nats testing plan proves unpopular ”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    In every country where national testing has been imposed, learning outcomes have not increased.

    Aah, but correlation does not equal causation you see, so umm, where there is, like, a total lack of positive correlation then what you’ve got is a plan. Can’t prove a negative! No child left blind, therefore Vouchers rulz. etc.

    Empiricism is an academic elitist plot cooked up by pseudo marxists to make conservatives look stupid.

    It’s because you lefties are all a bunch of relativists who refuse to accept that perception is reality.

  2. andretti 2

    You should try and run a business and see if you can employ 50% of the dumb pricks that apply,cant read spell or hold a conversation.
    Of course they all want the top starting pay,JESUS.

  3. Chris 3

    andretti, what makes you think it’s any different anywhere else? And perhaps your advertising isn’t effective so you’re getting the wrong candidates because you aren’t playing the market right?

    But oh, no…it’s the gummit’s fault, the school system fails and we’re all dumb. It’s easy to blame personal faults on someone who can’t talk back

  4. that apply,cant read spell or hold a conversation.

    In this case you mean “apply, can’t read, spell or hold a conversation”

    Y’see you’re missing the space between “can’t” and the preceding comma, an apostrophe in “can’t” and a comma between “read” and “spell”. Dumb pricks? Well I can see at least one here…

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Maybe 50% of his dumb prick applicants can read most things fine ‘sod, but just have a problem with the word ‘spell’.

  6. Janet 6

    National’s national testing is a very bad idea for students with special educational needs such as dyslexia, autism or intellectual disability. Many schools already try to stop these children enrolling and with the excuse of testing and league tables they will try even harder to exclude them, as they will not want kids who may need extra help to pass the tests, or may not have the academic ability.

    Advocates for students with special needs in other countries where they have these tests (eg the US) say that children are often punished or forced to do endless drills so they can pass the tests (and so not reflect badly on the school). There is so much emphasis put on passing these tests that teachers neglect other subjects and have no time to develop students’ interests in other than than the tested subjects.

    It is bad backward-looking policy, and detrimental to human rights. Next we will see the Nats wanting to bring back School certificate with enforced 50% pass/fail rates.

  7. Hamish 7

    The Appeal to Popularity Fallacy has the following form:

    Most people disapprove of X (have unfavorable emotions towards X).
    Therefore X must be bad.

    The basic idea is that a claim is accepted as being true simply because most people are favorably inclined towards the claim. More formally, the fact that most people have favorable emotions associated with the claim is substituted in place of actual evidence for the claim. A person falls prey to this fallacy if he accepts a claim as being true simply because most other people approve of the claim.

    This sort of “reasoning” is quite common and can be quite an effective persusasive device. Since most humans tend to conform with the views of the majority, convincing a person that the majority approves of a claim is often an effective way to get him to accept it. Advertisers often use this tactic when they attempt to sell products by claiming that everyone uses and loves their products. In such cases they hope that people will accept the (purported) approval of others as a good reason to buy the product.

    Pretty much sums up this article.

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    Thanks for the lesson Hamish.

    Now tell us the difference between:

    Most people believe (x) about education.


    Most teachers, principals and school boards believe (x) about education.

    Then, if you would be so generous, you could explain how that difference relates to your lesson. As extra credit perhaps you can explain what ‘arguments from authority’ are, and under what conditions they are fallacious.

    You also might want to re-read the post. It just points out what people believe, and links to their opinions. Doesn’t actually say that they must be right. The bit that suggests that they may be right is where it says that the policy National wants to introduce hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried before. That would be evidence in support of the claim.


  9. deemac 9

    I’m surprised it’s as high as one in ten in favour – in the UK testing has reduced much of state education to a shambles.
    Teachers have to “teach to the test” so kids get rote learning instead of inspiration and decide that school is dull and switch off.
    Saddest moment of my UK education experience was hearing a five year old say “I hate phonics!” Phonics has its place, but no 5 year old should even know what phonics is, they should be learning to love books. I class what’s happening as close to child abuse.

  10. Tony Norriss 10

    Maybe this is the same teachers who had kids playing netball without keeping the score, and the like.

    Good grief, the real world is all about success and failure. Kids who are taught to focus on what they have achieved will get a rude shock if they end up in a job which requires them to meet performance targets.

  11. Carol 11

    National is proposing a range of tests each year. This means that teachers will have to do less time teaching and more time administering tests. It’s not only that when such tests are used extensively, that teachers spend more time on the subjects tested. This results in teaching a more narrow range of skills and content within a subject, due to focusing on teaching to the tests.

    League tables on standardised tests are not a fair comparison between schools. Some schools have students that arrive at school with less of the skills that help them to learn than others (eg because parents may have given them more experience with books). Some students continue to experience conditions at home or in their neighbourhood, that interfere with their learning at schools. National league tables will result in the blame on the school unfairly.

    Many parents already put too much pressure on their children to be better than the others in their class, even when the children are doing their best. This doesn’t help the child.

    Teachers can already tell which children are struggling with the work they are being given.

    Employers complaining about the skill levels of job applicants and/or employees is not evidence teaching standards have been slipping over time. In the past it was possible for a lot people to get unskilled jobs that did not require reading and writing. Now, there are less of those jobs, partly due to technological change, and partly due to neo-liberal pressures and policies that resulted in a lot of unskilled jobs being moved to low-wage, relatively poor countries.

  12. Carol 12

    Also the National policy for standards implies NZ is not doing very well in education. In fact NZ, is doing very well, especially in relation to countries like Aussie, UK and USA.

    Reading: 2006 top 10, in order: NZ 5th:


    S. Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Liechtenstein, Poland, Sweden


    The top performer in science in PISA 2006 was Finland, followed by Hong Kong-China, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Japan and New Zealand. (NZ 7th)

    Maths NZ 11th for 15 yr olds 2006

    Taiwan , Finland , Hong Kong-China , South Korea , Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada , Macao-China , Liechtenstein , Japan , New Zealand

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    Good grief, the real world is all about success and failure. Kids who are taught to focus on what they have achieved will get a rude shock if they end up in a job which requires them to meet performance targets.

    They sure will, under National’s testing plan, because all they will have learnt is how to pass a test. There’s a reason NCEA is internationally considered kick-ass, and it’s not because it teaches you how to pass a test and sweet bugger all of anything useful.

    God when will these conservatives learn to accept change? Just because it worked during the late industrial revolution doesn’t mean it’s a good idea now.

    Sod, there really should have been a comma before the second “and” in the first sentence (or change the first one to a “to”. There’s something charming about a sentence strung together with multiple “ands”. When someone’s 4), but I’m glad to see you took care of the bulk of it. I feel sorry for the poor pricks applying for a job at a certain person’s business.

  14. Sam Martin 14

    I’m voting National (my previous comments on this blog should be evidence enough that I don’t like Labour) but national testing is a complete crock and quite frankly the Nats should show a bit less pigheadedness on this issue. If there’s one area where things have gone from strength to strength under Labour it’s in primary education. I can’t say the same for secondary but I don’t want to see the Nats screw up the primary school system for the sake of gathering some meaningless statistics and ‘testing’ children.

  15. Maxcall 15

    Tony Norriss says “Kids who are taught to focus on what they have achieved will get a rude shock if they end up in a job which requires them to meet performance targets”

    sorry – I have to agree Sam, Carol et al.
    I send my children to school to learn how to think. Not regurgitate.
    I think you may find that the most successful employers value staff who can think for themselves, can think creativally and critically. People who only learn how to pass pre-determined tests and focus on little else are good at ‘drone’ jobs.

  16. Jasper 16

    I was talking to a right winger about her child who could read, write or spell very well for an 8 year old.
    I said ‘Maybe she has dyslexia. You should get her tested’

    To which the response was
    ‘oh god no, she’s absolutely terrified of needles’

    Says it all really, about the intelligence of “Notional” voters.

  17. Jasper 17

    Eh! I didn’t even press enter – stupid comments system.

    That should read “couldn’t read, write or spell very well for an 8 year old”

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