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Teachers will be dancing in the streets at the latest Education announcement

Written By: - Date published: 2:59 pm, October 30th, 2017 - 58 comments
Categories: education, labour, schools - Tags:

The changes being made to Government policy are being rolled out.  One that will have teachers dancing in the streets is the abolition of National Standards.

From Simon Collins at the Herald:

Primary school league tables will be axed, and high-school exams are in for a big shake-up as the new Labour-led Government moves to make schools focus on learning rather than assessment.

New Education Minister Chris Hipkins, in an interview with the Herald, says Primary schools will still have to report to parents on individual children’s progress against the eight levels of the curriculum, which most children cover during their 13 years at primary and secondary schools.

But National Standards, which set out levels of literacy and numeracy for Years 1 to 8, will be abolished and schools will be free to choose their own ways of assessing children’s progress.

“There are a range of tools that schools can use to do that already, but what we won’t be doing is centrally collecting that data and using it to create league tables. That is a matter between teachers and parents,” Hipkins said.

And NCEA is in for a shake.

[Hipkins] has also signalled a review of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in secondary schools aimed partly at encouraging students not to enter NCEA three years in a row.

“You don’t have to do all three levels but the culture is that all kids do all three, so how do we encourage people to use the flexibility that NCEA provides? That is one of the questions,” he said.

But of course not everyone will be pleased.  Also from this article:

School Trustees Association Auckland chair Ebony-Rose Andrews said she unsure how she would know how well her two primary school-age daughters were doing without the standards.

“For me, National Standards have always been a good thing because we understand where our kids are tracking,” she said.

Only reporting against the eight curriculum levels was not enough, she said.

“One of my daughters is at level 7 in maths, and she’s 9, so how will they extend those students who go above the curriculum at school?” she asked.

I suggest that she talks to her child’s teacher.  They can give far better feedback than any figure can.

Teachers will be ecstatic at the change.  For too long they have been glorified testers and data collectors and have found that time to do the important part of their job, teaching, has been dwindling away.

The policy was a feel good policy, mixed up with impressive claims that it would provide parents with more information (who could argue against that) and interspersed with a good old dose of all competition is good for you.  But the data was flawed and the time requirements put on teachers has stopped them from teaching.

Of course the Government has been told this for years by the Teachers Unions but it has refused to accept the advice.

But new Government, new policy.  And a more constructive approach to this most important of jobs.

58 comments on “Teachers will be dancing in the streets at the latest Education announcement ”

  1. I suggest that she talks to her child’s teacher. They can give far better feedback than any figure can.

    That and she probably needs to go back to school herself to learn how things have changed since she was there.

    These people whinging that they can’t understand the new processes and that we should just go back to the failed systems of the 19th century need to get educated and enter the 21st century.

    • SpaceMonkey 1.1

      This is true. One of the biggest barriers to good modern education is parents with a generationally out of date view of what education should look like.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        How can parents judge what education should look like? Some schools are going for all technology yet the country is forcing many families into such poverty they can’t afford these learning devices.

        We are forcing people back in to Depression-type living in the midst of a luxury-high tech life. That’s what has happened to many but the upwardly mobile live on a different planet, and find the others’ reality rather distasteful really.

        It’s mad having to type everything and not learn how to write properly, how to make sentences. Kids should be able to write in pencil, just like the early days of education when the country was struggling and people worked for a penny an hour, as sweated labour. Youngsters hould be learning trades in school along with the basic education. Also how to cook simple meals, so they can do something when they get home from school and Mum is off at work till 10pm. Make education relevant and helpful not just an imposition on reluctant kids with no hold on life, no joy, goals or realistic expectations.

        • tracey 1.1.1.1

          In my experience it is not the parents from poor homes who wont get with new ways. Higher socio economic parents yell tge loudest at tertiary about ” I dont pay for my kid to teach themselves”

  2. Tautoko Mangō Mata 2

    Sanity prevails at last.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    Not so fast Peeps hold all your celebrations! The PACT assessment is also a lot of work for individual teachers. I believe it could add more than 1 hour a day to a teachers already busy day and could be as much as 7 hours more a week. The Nats have been trialing it and were about to hoist that on teachers next year. So Mr Hipkins might want to talk to some Principles before he starts announcing to much more.

    • greywarshark 3.1

      No teachers won’t find that very hip. My sister is often going through work at night with bedtime about 11 pm, after a short break to recover from the traffic, quick dinner, a bit of time with family and tv, and then ‘homework’. She is meticulous and dedicated to doing the best for the kids. So no more checking and marking. Less stress for all please.

      I think I put up some crazy idea that a, or some teachers had of getting the children to read through the next day’s work as homework, and arriving at school with a headstart on the period’s work. Strange but it seemed to work, and they did more work during teaching time, and less homework that had to be marked.

      It’s very authoritarian this business of wanting to know exactly what has gone into your kid’s head at any given time. Also it’s part of the ‘everyone’s a slacker’ story of neolib economics which trails its slime over all of our lives, measuring and critiquing every part. Teachers in general, are not out to be slackers, and the collegial approach kept them up to the mark when they discussed and shared.

      The tight demands of National Standards are too proscriptive. As indicators they would be helpful. But the present demand for 100% is corrosive on positive teaching and too hard to meet with the varied children, many coming from struggling homes where the kids are likely to be slow to learn, with behavioural traits that hold them back, particularly not being interested in learning, wanting to talk, fool around, bang desks, disrupt in class.

      It can be hard on teachers coping with demanding Principals. There is a fair amount of top-down management now, which has little to do with teaching, but creating a good image for the person or the school, and individualism is rife. How to cut out the league tables is a hard question – the newspapers like them, education standard is a favourite on the front cover of The Listener etc.

      • tracey 3.1.1

        “teachers had of getting the children to read through the next day’s work as homework, and arriving at school with a headstart on the period’s work. Strange but it seemed to work, and they did more work during teaching time, and less homework that had to be marked. ” when I did this at tertiary most students didnt do the pre work and some parents demaned their money back for their child teaching themself…

        I hope it catches on at primary cos having students pre read makes for greater exploration in class

        • thevoiceofreason 3.1.1.1

          The so-called “flipped classroom” is a fantastic idea in theory but takes an enormous amount of conditioning of students in practice. Very hard to implement in an environment where very few other teachers in the school operate in that way. Also works best in courses where the requirement to learn a bunch of “facts” is less and opportunities for experiential learning are greater. Mileage varies between subjects …

          • greywarshark 3.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps there needs to be a reward for being prepared well by previous day’s homework. Time at the end of class to talk about the latest thing.

            Or stick – if you don’t do this my way, we will have to revert to working through homework which has to be done exactly or you marks go down.

            My way is easier the teacher might say, and check every day that all have read something, taken an interest, by getting each student to state a fact, or something interesting or intriguing that they picked up from their reading.

            I think intriguing is the word for today’s times. Catching people’s interest, taking them into another line of thought, taking them away from their cellphones etc. Taking them away from their groupthink and pursuing an individual synaptic? spark.

            • solkta 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Your stick sounds like punishment for not completing homework which is unlawful.

              • greywarshark

                You sound like someone with a good sense of humour or a spotty case of PC.

                Either way I am putting up a link to a radionz piece for kids and adults
                that gave me a laugh. I put it up a few days ago and repeating it as it’s an example of the result from awfully bright kids when they start asking questions after having some seriously good education.

                http://www.radionz.co.nz/collections/storytime-treasure-chest/audio/201831634/little-red-riding-hood-not-quite
                About 6 mins
                Little Red Riding Hood (Not Quite)
                From the collecton Children’s Treasure Chest

                Cover of Little Red Riding Hood (Not Quite)
                A modern re-telling of the classic fairy tale – for young skeptical ears…

                By Yvonne Morrison
                Read by Geneveive McClean and Finn Hagen

                • solkta

                  Could you please explain what you mean by “PC” in this context? I was simply pointing out the law.

                  • greywarshark

                    That’s so funny solkta. I don’t want to spoil the joke by saying any more.

                    • solkta

                      Was there a joke? You were suggesting that teachers do something unlawful, how is that funny?

                      Usually “PC” can be translated to mean “things I don’t like”. Do you not like the idea that children have legal rights?

            • syclingmad 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Actually in my experience I have found homework to a bit counterproductive anyway. Normally it just increases the divide between the “more motivated” and those less so. Differentiated learning is one of the big unanswered questions in teaching – i.e. how do you do it effectively and not let everyone down.

              [For clarity, I am now posting under this handle, previously “thevoiceofreason”]

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                Increasing the divide between the “more motivated” and the others? Ahhh the subtle hate of the politics of envy for those who shirk and believe they are still entitled

              • KJT

                There is evidence that giving homework does not increase educational achievement.

        • KJT 3.1.1.2

          I am not in favour of homework before senior high school. Kids do have a life, after school jobs, babysitting, caregiving and families to consider.

          Evidence shows that set homework does not make an appreciable difference to achievement, and is more often set because parents expect it, rather than Teachers want it.

    • Carolyn_Nth 3.2

      What’s the PACT assessment, and how does it relate to Hipkins announcement?

      • CraigGlenEden 3.2.1

        “He will also keep the “Progress and Consistency Tool” (PaCT) which has been opposed by the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) because it was aimed at achieving nationally consistent judgments on whether children were meeting National Standards.

        “I think the anxiety of the NZEI is the idea that PaCT would become a compulsory national test. We won’t be doing that,” Hipkins said.”

  4. Stunned Mullet 4

    League tables going is good no doubt about that. National standards reporting for most schools is now pretty simple and incorporated within the reporting process to parents – at least at the two schools where I’m a board member, I suspect very many parents will want it to remain in some form.

    NCEA is apparently far better now than when it was introduced but there are still improvements that can be made.

  5. Matthew Whitehead 5

    I still maintain that NCEA Level 2 should be entirely scrapped and Year 12 should go completely unassessed so that students can actually cram some learning in between Year 11 and Year 13, (it would also give them more time to cover things that don’t give credits that are currently crammed into all three of the last years) but it’s good Hipkins will at least be looking into NCEA. I don’t recall leaving after Year 12 being a big thing, but I’m sure someone will correct me if that is the case, my experience was that most early leavers left either in the break after Year 11 or partway through Year 12.

    I absolutely agree that it’s much better to have parents talking to teachers directly than to have the seeds of high-stakes testing all ready to go in primary school, just waiting for the Nats to come back in and make funding dependant on differential scores from the beginning of the year to the end of the year in National Standards.

    • thevoiceofreason 5.1

      Nope, Year 11/Level 1 is just watered down garbage in terms of assessment and content. Better to scrap Level 1 and roll it into a meaningful 2 year course which is assessed during Year 12. If some students choose to leave at that point,then they leave with something useful.

      • marty mars 5.1.1

        You need to change your handle imo. There was another poster and commenter with your name and it is confusing.

      • SDCLFC 5.1.2

        Agree re Level 1. Especially when you think about kids at Year 10. Give the kids a little more time to be kids, and bed down some of the skills that will need to tackle the higher order cognitive stuff in year 12 and year 13.

      • Matthew Whitehead 5.1.3

        That’s also a possibility, although I do wonder if it doesn’t make sense to give them a taste of some assessment in Year 11, then give them a break to learn after knowing what it’s actually like so they can prepare for Year 13. The point about moving the ability to leave forward into the period after sixth form after some of the more useful skills are gained is fair, I agree.

        The other option is to split some subjects to be assessed at Level 1 but not at Level 2, and have others do the reverse, and then make it so that you need to qualify out in certain critical areas to leave school early, but I’m not sure how that would work.

        The thing about Year 11 is, while you don’t actually learn much useful subject matter in terms of practicing a trade or learning a profession, it does teach you a lot about how to be a student, and the reason I was thinking axing Year 12 is better is because students who finish will get to have their trial run at exams year 11, go back and learn and have some genuine study time and time to be teenagers in year 12 with only internal assessments if any, and then come back serious again in year 13. I think we’d have a lot more people failing Year 13 if we axed Level 1 than if we axed Level 2, wheras I wonder if axing Level 2 might actually increase the pass rate for Level 3.

        I don’t actually think it hurts to let kids start growing up a little in Year 11, but then again, I always liked being precocious, so maybe I’m a little biased.

        • thevoiceofreason 5.1.3.1

          No I’m convinced axing Level 1 is the key. By powering-up Level 2 (a 2 year proper programme) you can assign UE credits at Level 2 which will make it a far more useful exercise. That and most students if they are going to leave school early, normally leave at the end of Year 12 or part-way into Year 13 (when they realise it’s not for them or they’ve had a gutsful of school). At least with a decent Level 2 qualification they leave with some UE credits which may or may not be of use to them in the future.

          • marty mars 5.1.3.1.1

            You need to change your handle. You are using a name that a long-time poster and commenter used. You are confusing. I’m going to follow this up with mods because our handles are sacrosanct.

            • thevoiceofreason 5.1.3.1.1.1

              Ok, I guess? I suppose the moderators or sysop will have access to verify email addresses to sort this out? If it requires me to change it, then I will …

              • Yep wait for the bold to sort it out – you could just put a 2 in your name I spose. I want to read your comments – definately not trying to stop your contribution. Kia kaha.

                I just know the original (sort of) and they have a unique voice (intended)

              • It would be much appreciated.

                I’ve been here as ‘The Voice of Reason’, TVOR and Te Reo Putake ( the te reo translation of ‘the voice of reason’) for a very long time. While I’m not currently contributing posts, I’m still a listed author and I have a certain pride in my legacy.

                As you will have seen your contributions under my name are kind of confusing for other readers. You must have wondered why people keep welcoming you back!

                If you wouldn’t mind picking another handle, that would be great.

                Cheers, TRP.

  6. Cinny 6

    Hipkins.. hip hop? Hopkins? Nahhh Hipkins, hipster 🙂 One of the good guys

    “One of my daughters is at level 7 in maths, and she’s 9, so how will they extend those students who go above the curriculum at school?” she asked.”

    Hey Ebony did you know that the new government will also be re-investing in gifted children, National took that away from the people…but the new government has it sorted, so no worries.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11936293

    • CraigGlenEden 6.1

      Hipkins is an idiot, mark my words he is Labours Achilles’ heel. The Pact tool is a way bigger issue for teachers than National standards the fact the Hipkins doesn’t know this is very indicative of how out of touch he is. Hipkins lacks vision for education.

  7. Trey 7

    “One of my daughters is at level 7 in maths, and she’s 9″, Ummmm no she is not and this is the problem with National Standards. If the chair of STA is so confused what must other parents be.
    Level 7 does not apply to National Standards as Level 7 is friggin year 12. Her daughter will be stage 7 on the numeracy project so late level 3 moving into level 4 so just above the “standard”.
    Furthermore why the fuck is the school reporting against numeracy stages as A) that is not plain English B) It is just one assessment and it does not align to the standards and C) Numeracy project stopped being Ministry of Education policy in 2010 because it failed kids especially Maori and Pasifika kids.
    I see Niki Kaye has come out with doom and gloom about the standards going whilst failing to mention how NZ has gone backwards since they were introduced.
    She also says the Ministry will no longer have information on how schools are doing which is also a crock of shit as the data is totally unreliable and does not align with the Ministry of Educations independent testing.
    Well done Ebony-Rose Andrews you have illustrated why the standards are a waste of time. If you want to know how your kid is going ask your childs teacher.
    I work alongside 100s of them across the country supporting them introducing culturally responsive maths programmes and most of them are pretty on to it.

    • In Vino 7.1

      Thank you Trey. I am an aging secondary teacher who does not know the National Standards set-up. You have enlightened me, and shown how misguided the Chair of STA (often a Govt propaganda mouthpiece) is in her rambling. I suspect that Ebony-Rose Andrews is less than impartial in her judgements. She supports National Standards without fully understanding what her daughter’s Maths rating actually means. Wow!

  8. Keith 8

    League tables is just like professional sports whereby schools are pitted against each other in the spirit of competition to show up poor performing schools and to either shame them into doing better or drive out so called poor performing staff, all to lift education standards.

    It was a theory put into practice in true neo lib/free market/market knows best, warped thinking, that dinosaurs like Bill English et al think is the only way.

    What this poorly thought crock of shit never took into account was that stats could be rigged, something National knows a lot about, but worse it failed to consider the commodities these schools trade in for this competitive business model, namely humans, are not blank pieces of wax that can be moulded into greatness if only the teachers and management of the schools cared!

    And this was where it was doomed to fail because as any teacher will tell you, there are some damaged kids who turn up who and despite everyone’s best efforts are very hard to teach and those individuals, especially if there is enough of them, can drag down the final high standard results sought by the school. And just to add insult to injury, Nationals austerity funding cuts meant fewer and fewer resources to deal with such kids.

    Maybe, like welfare recipients, the idea was to simply close the door on such tradeables, chuck them on the street to cauterise the school from such prohibitive infections to their winning formula and we would all live happily ever after in Bills Neo Liberal wonderland!

    But somehow such long term thinking that could easily foresee this was never one of Natonals strong points

    • Zorb6 8.1

      Rugby has always been a sport of the Eton/Cambridge/Oxford set.There was an influx of polynesians(mainly Samoans)in the 60’s to do the work that the average Kiwi was not interested in doing.It did not take too long for their children to became a force in 1st 15’s at low decile schools.As Auckland Grammar,St Kents and the like started to become perennial losers to these schools ,the elite realised they would have to counter the situation by enroling polynesian kids at their hallowed institutions.The sports scholarship process began in earnest, and succeeded to a large degree in addressing the ‘problem’.

      • In Vino 8.1.1

        Zorb6 – carefully re-read what Keith wrote, and try to say something relevant. Keith was quoting professional Sport as something undesirable, I think.

        • Zorb6 8.1.1.1

          Thanks for your advice.I will ignore it, as I believe it is relevant to a discussion about schools,learning,and all that entails.

  9. Richard Christie 9

    All will be moot should International Charter Schools take us on under TPP IDS clauses.

  10. Pete 10

    National Standards has been a tool to tell teachers they are not trusted, a prop and weapon for parents to use, and a plague for many children.

    The weirdest thing is that this crude tool was used to limit and control teachers by those who chant most frequently about our best and brightest people needing to go into teaching and the importance of teaching being a valued profession.

    Unfortunately, with eight years of the system many parents with limited thinking have been brainwashed and schools will have the problem of ‘reprogramming’ them.

    Also there will be some upset they won’t be able to go to work and brag about their wonderful child being ‘above the standard’.

    • greywarshark 10.1

      About bragging. I like that slogan of Garrison Keillor’s who used to finish his program Prairie Home Companion saying –

      ‘Welcome to Lake Wobegon where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.’

      • In Vino 10.1.1

        Well, Hekia Parata and crew managed the feat of getting more of our secondary students to pass NCEA Level 2 (above average) and proclaimed success – until we did the international PISA tests, which made it pretty obvious that we had in fact lowered our own standards. Internationally, we have lost ground.
        What could have gone wrong under National???
        More importantly, will Labour now do anything significant to fix it? I like to hope so… But at this stage, I am a long way from dancing in any street.

  11. Van Halen – Dancing In The Street – YouTube

  12. Aaron 12

    The thing that no one is talking about is actually how profondly useless National Standards were at informing us of our child’s progress. The reports my teachers wrote when I went to school were ten times as informative.

    Not that I needed the report anyway, I already know how my kids are doing because I live with them – sometimes I even talk to them! You would literally have to have nothing to do with your child for a primary age NS report to be of any use and to this day I still don’t understand why anyone ever got excited about National Standards.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      They’re conditioned to clap mindlessly when the leader tells them to?

    • yabby 12.2

      “I already know how my kids are doing because I live with them – sometimes I even talk to them! You would literally have to have nothing to do with your child for a primary age NS report to be of any use and to this day I still don’t understand why anyone ever got excited about National Standards.”

      Aaron – it is my understanding that it the failure of children of parents quite unlike your good self that NS was, at least in part, set up to address. The 20% who are allegedly functionally illiterate upon leaving school. There are many thousands of children who have parents and carers who are disengaged, itinerant or lack the skills and resources to understand their child’s needs, let alone monitor their progress. These are the children we need to step up to the mark to help. Having a central record of their levels of achievement can only assist on meeting their needs as they move about, or miss school.

  13. Sparky 13

    More pay for underpaid teachers would have them dancing I’m sure. Any sign of that?

  14. savenz 14

    It’s just propaganda from Natz lovers, about National standards giving parents more information. National standards are crap at giving information to parents. They only give information about reading, writing and maths and on a limited criteria that is proven not to work internationally. All the other subjects just have even less information, such as clip art with a smily or unhappy face. That’s comprehensive for parents, NOT.

    One of the most important skills of the future is actually creativity and that is much more valued both in the business world and economically. Excellent rote learners are the future IYI (intellectual yet idiot class) and that is what National Standards promotes. Soon a computer will have taken even that job so it’s not a future skill. The Kiwis doing well are not even involved in writing, reading and maths. Think Lorde as the highest payed Kiwi young singer, Kiwis in sport and so forth. I think that reading, maths and writing are crucial, but National standards are not developing that capability – in fact once kids hit 8 years old 30% are now failing them. That’s how crap National standards are.

    Countries that routinely have incredible maths scores, (Singapore, China) often lag in the innovation of using maths to create new patents and businesses that change the world. It’s not abut being good at just repeating information correctly, it’s about creating new knowledge that has become more important. And that’s creativity which also co incidentally is wiped out by reducing learning too soon in children.

    Bring back the old days of A, B, C, D and E and against ALL subjects and attitude in those subjects if parents want to actually know more about their kids abilities and attitude at school.

    The only people who like National Standards are unimaginative parents who like their kids to compete against the other kids on a limited rote criteria, and are too disinterested in their kids lives to actually know what they are good at and just want to compare them with other kids on a limited criteria in a clip art and meaningless sort of way.

  15. savenz 15

    “In 1929, a teenager’s end-of-term report noted that his English reading was weak, his French prose was very weak, his essays grandiose beyond his abilities, and his mathematical promise undermined by his untidy work.

    The report gave few clues that Alan Turing would come to be seen as a genius, a mathematician and computer pioneer whose codebreaking work at Bletchley Park helped shorten the second world war and whose name is given to a test for artificial intelligence.

    “He must remember that Cambridge will want sound knowledge rather than vague ideas,” his physics teacher wrote.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/23/alan-turing-school-report-fitzwilliam-museum-cambridge

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  • Statement on The Speaker and Annual Review Debate
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    24 hours ago
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  • Speech on Digital Identity Trust Framework
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