Labour’s national standard policy

September 15th, 2011 at 9:45 am by David Farrar

Sue Moroney announced for Labour:

will require schools to use recognised assessment tools and teacher judgement to:

1. Determine the New Zealand Curriculum level a child is achieving.

Sounds like saying will determine how a child is doing against a national standard.

2. Show a child’s rate of progress between reports over the course of a year.

Sounds like the current requirement to report to parents against a national standard

3. Identify children not achieving within the curriculum level appropriate to their year at school.

Oh my God, that’s labelling them failures.

4. Decide and report the next learning steps.

5. Report this information in plain language to parents at least twice a year.

Wow almost identical to the current requirement to report progress against a national standard for their year twice a year to parents.

So what is the major difference between Labour and National’s policies?

Basically it is just that Labour will not have schools send their assessment data into the Government, hence preventing the media from being able to report on the number of students at a school who are meeting the national standard. That way those evil are prevented.

And that is what this whole fuss has always been about. Opponents of have been intellectually dishonest because the unions have always made clear that if the Government changed the law to remove school assessment data from the Official Information Act, then opposition to would cease.

So Labour’s policy is effectively to keep national standards but to not have the Government have any idea of how well a school is doing, in case that information got made public. God forbid prospective parents know how well a school is doing.

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86 Responses to “Labour’s national standard policy”

  1. Trevor Mallard (245 comments) says:

    Except that, unless the government has removed it, there is a requirement I introduced in 2002 for schools to set academic objectives, and to put those and annual progress against them in their annual reports which must be lodged with the Ministry.

    Frankly this could all have been solved if Tolley told the Ministry to read the reports that sat gathering dust in their files, and used ERO to enforce the assessment requirements that flowed.

    [DPF: That information would be useful also, but I do think nationally comparable data would be useful for the Government to have - not to punish schools with, but in fact to deliver greater assistance to those that need it]

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  2. Mr Nobody NZ (397 comments) says:

    Mr Mallard,

    As a parent can you please advise why Labour is opposed to me being able to see how my children’s school is performing in comparison to other local and national schools?

    And what is why Labour is opposed to teachers being payed based on their performance teaching children and improving their knowledge and skills?

    Thanks in Advance.

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  3. tvb (4,229 comments) says:

    This is the result of a deal the Labour Party entered into to get election funding from the teachers unions. I have a theory that Labour because of all these shabby back-room deals with Unions will never form a Government unless they can present a Leader who is charismatic with the public and there is none of offer yet.

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  4. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    I’m with Mr Nobody.

    As for Mr Mallard, he and his lot screwed us over for 9 years, whilst they pushed their social and gender agenda instead of making the environment the very best to grow the country’s economic base.
    So they don’t qualify for a seat in parliament let alone a ministerial post.

    Now that is a sadness for NZ, for what alternative have we to Mr Keys asset sales, this election!

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  5. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    So what is the major difference between Labour and National’s policies?

    Probably, that Labour isn’t planning to just pull a bunch of standards out of the Minister’s arse and try and impose them without any kind of planning, user acceptance testing or even consultation with people who actually know something of the field. But then, Labour’s isn’t intending a fight with the teachers’ unions so there would be no reason for them to do it that way.

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  6. sifty (23 comments) says:

    I’ve got 4 children who are in various stages of the school system at present and finally since national standards have been introduced I get reports that actually make sense and give you a true idea of how well your child is doing.Under the old system you had no bloody idea what the hell the reports actually meant. Classic example was 2 of my children went through a small country school on the outskirts of Tauranga where the looney tunes headmaster( subsequently kicked out by the ministry and replaced with a commisioner) had the idea that testing children was detrimental to their learning and so didnt use any testing at all.She even helped children cheat in external exams such the Australian New South Wales ones that many parents payed for their children to sit to falsely reassure them.Reports came back saying how well your children were doing and it was only when they got to intermediate where there was testing that you realised just how far behind the eight ball they were.We were lucky in that we could afford private tutoring to remedy the situation quickly but not all are.There are bad schools and bad teachers out there that Labour and their union mates seem hell bent on protecting when what we really need is a system that rewards the good ones and gets rid of the bad ones that keep on ruining kids education and subsequently the rest of their lives.

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  7. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Don’t you have a coup to go plot Trevor.

    Or are you here to promise rainbow pooping unicorns for all since nothing your rabble promise means anything since you have as much chance of being elected as winning the mobel prize for ethical behaviour in an election.

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  8. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    Mr Nobody NZ: if you want to know how your school compares to other schools in NZ, look at the decile ranking – it’s the best indicator out there, far superior to Tolley’s moral hazard ranking system. Not that there’s much point in comparing schools anyway – what actually counts is how good your kids’ teachers are, which you can establish for yourself easily enough by going and meeting them.

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  9. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Ah the sycophantic troll is with us, I’m sure everyone is convinced by your compelling brown-nosing argument milt.

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  10. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    She even helped children cheat in external exams such the Australian New South Wales ones that many parents payed for their children to sit to falsely reassure them.Reports came back saying how well your children were doing…

    And you’re under the impression a national standards regime in which teachers would self-assess how well her pupils met the standard would prevent parents being falsely reassured by the unscrupulous? Really?

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  11. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    Opposition to National Standards is based on a lot more than ‘evil league tables’.

    There is no moderation of the standards, so they are neither national nor a standard

    They do not reflect the special character of a school

    There has been no trial before wide spread implementation

    Schools that do not want to implement the national standards are being bulled into doing so, which is hardly the way to run our education system.

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  12. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    Murray: the term “compelling argument” isn’t one you should use unless you’ve actually written one at some point.

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  13. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Ok, you’re full of crap and always have been. You have the credibility of a labour party MP. So no one gives a rats what you type.

    Oops my bad thats two points and a conclusion.

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  14. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Mallard and the rest of the socialist grippers know that National Standards are needed to sort out the useless teachers and failing schools. Boy Liarbore must really be on the bones of it’s arse, the coffers must showing bare stainless steel by now, thus their grovelling sniveling cowering to the unions. Enjoy your 40 pieces of silver, you weak tosspots.

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  15. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Mallard wdes into the debate to tell us all the things that could have been done by labour if only they had more time – 9 years just wasn’t enoug to deliver any change – but somehow getting elected again will give them the chance they never had….

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  16. RightNow (6,773 comments) says:

    Who has set the standards?

    The standards have been developed by the Ministry of Education team who developed The New Zealand Curriculum, in consultation with education experts. As part of the development, consultation took place throughout the country during 2009 with more than 6,000 people – including teachers, principals, parents, families and whānau

    Between May and July 2009, 2,146 parents, families and whānau throughout New Zealand had face-to-face discussions with the Ministry of Education about National Standards and reporting to parents. During that time, 3,011 parents, families and whānau also completed individual feedback forms.

    http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/YourChild/ProgressAndAchievement/NationalStandards/Consultation.aspx

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  17. sifty (23 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt I agree that self assessment and internal assessment is flawed in that there is too much scope for influence form teachers and schools with confilcts of interest. Thats the great advantage of the good old external exam to give a true measure . NCEA is complete bolox in many subjects with far too much internal assessment and marks given for assignments that can be done at home by the parents.

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  18. david (2,545 comments) says:

    Milt – re your claim that decile ranking is the best measure of a school’s performance – I call bollocks on that one. Decile ranking is a crude measure of the general socio-economic environment from which the school draws it’s pupils and manifests itself in teh funding formula.

    It bears no relation to academic performance, ability of a school to engender interest and commitment from it’s parent and student body, rstio of pupils leaving with sub-acceptable achievment levels or even the effectiveness of the funding spend.

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  19. Rat (383 comments) says:

    Y’know DPF

    Everyday you sound more and more and more like a Stalinist, and you defend the right for National to be in control of everyone.

    [DPF: what the fuck are you on about? Keep your brain farts to general debate if you really have to have them]

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  20. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    Decile ranking is a crude measure of the general socio-economic environment from which the school draws it’s pupils and manifests itself in teh funding formula.

    And yet, somehow, it’s a good predictor of how well the school’s pupils will perform academically. Just one of those utterly unfathomable mysteries of life, I guess.

    [DPF: It is not the best predictor. The best predictor is the quality of the teacher]

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  21. chris (584 comments) says:

    Decile ranking is a crude measure of the general socio-economic environment from which the school draws it’s pupils and manifests itself in teh funding formula.

    And yet, somehow, it’s a good predictor of how well the school’s pupils will perform academically. Just one of those utterly unfathomable mysteries of life, I guess.

    Perhaps that because people in higher decile areas (i.e. richer areas) place more importance on education than those in lower decile areas, and instil the importance of achievement in their children.

    The thing that pisses me off with the decile system is it’s a back door way to tax higher income earners in yet another way. Decile 10 schools are funded less than lower decile schools, yet it still costs the same amount to educate children in those schools. So where does the extra funding come from? The parents, of course, via “donations”. No wonder some schools have to ask for 100s of dollars per year.

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  22. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Decile ranking is a crude measure of the general socio-economic environment from which the school draws it’s pupils and manifests itself in teh funding formula.”

    Exactly right. The idea that this can tell specific parents exactly how their specific child is doing is ludicrous.

    Personally I’m in favour of ditching the entire state run system, but if your going to have one at all at least make it accountable.

    Make no mistake, this is all about the Labour/Union desire for ideological control and Union supremacism.

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  23. chris (584 comments) says:

    Just adding to my rant before, I fail to see how a socio-economic rating system can have any indication of how individual students are doing at a school. Using that logic, all students at a decile 10 school are doing fantastically. Of course that’s utter BS. My son goes to a decile 10 school and there are several kids in his year I know who are struggling in one area or another. But according to you they’re at a decile 10 school so it means they’re doing swimmingly.

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  24. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    If only Labour put the best interests of kids ahead of the best interests of the teachers union reps. Still I guess since Labour require funding from unions we can’t expect them to put the MOE charter ahead of their own funding for election advertising.

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  25. Flyer (22 comments) says:

    As a parent, I definitely appreciate the level of information being provided by teachers on how my children are progressing. The three way conferences with the teachers are now much more focussed and useful.

    As a member of the Board of Trustees, I appreciate there is more work needed to streamline the process of reporting as it did take too much of our teachers’ time last year. It was also interesting to see that it highlighted problems with writing assessment. For maths and reading there are very well accepted, nationally-standardised tests available to assist teachers in forming their overall teacher judgements. However, assessment of writing is much more subjective and does need good moderation. Note that this is not a National Standards issue – just a problem with assessing writing which would have existed anyway as teachers got to grips with assessing against the Literacy Progressions in the new curriculum.

    Overall, the energetic discussions we have been having have been worthwhile because we are improving the systems and our school is already seeing benefits with additional support from the Ministry for some of the students who are struggling – based on good evidence.

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  26. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Psycho

    Tell us again how zoning isn’t social engineering.

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  27. Mr Nobody NZ (397 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt: “Mr Nobody NZ: if you want to know how your school compares to other schools in NZ, look at the decile ranking – it’s the best indicator out there”

    I disagree, this is only useful when there are major differences between schools eg one school with a Decile Rating of 1 vs another with 10. When you have schools that have similar scores then they become useless. Take for example Edmonton School, Flanshaw Road School and Freyberg Community School. All are in Te Atatue South Auckland, All teach years 1-6 and yet their decile ratings are according wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_schools_in_the_Auckland_Region) 4,5,6 respectfully.

    As a parent how am I meant to see which has a best focus of reading or maths etc? The ERO report show a slightly deeper picture but still they are lacking for a parent who wants to make the best choices for their children.

    Psycho Milt: “What actually counts is how good your kids’ teachers are, which you can establish for yourself easily enough by going and meeting them.”

    I completely agree, after having deal personally with both very good and very bad teachers. What I’ve found concerning as a parent though is how little ability school administrators have in rewarding those teachers who do well and ensuring those that are hindering children’s educational potential are appropriately dealt with.

    What this means while it quickly becomes apparent to parents within a school community which teachers at a good/bad, if your child is unfortunate to end up in a poor teachers class there is little that you can do. You can request an alternate class for them however that isn’t always a options as it may be a case where the alternates are just as bad or worse, or their are insufficient space for them in an alternate class. However until teachers are held responsible for their students results then our children will continue to suffer.

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  28. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    [DPF: It is not the best predictor. The best predictor is the quality of the teacher]

    So it’s just a big bloody coincidence that all the ‘quality’ teachers work at the high decile schools?

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  29. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    [DPF: It is not the best predictor. The best predictor is the quality of the teacher]

    Not if what you’re trying to predict is whether one school’s better than another.

    The idea that this can tell specific parents exactly how their specific child is doing is ludicrous.

    Certainly. But then, nobody suggested it does.

    I disagree, this is only useful when there are major differences between schools eg one school with a Decile Rating of 1 vs another with 10. When you have schools that have similar scores then they become useless.

    There isn’t much point in comparing schools in the same decile ranking, they’re all much the same. As we agreed, what will actually count for your kids is whether the teacher they get at whichever of those schools they go to is a good one or not. Tolley hasn’t come up with anything to help you know that in advance, and nor has Labour, so there isn’t a lot of scope for political argument over it.

    Tell us again how zoning isn’t social engineering.

    Tell us again how scrapping zoning couldn’t possibly result in schools getting to do the choosing.

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  30. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Tell us again how scrapping zoning couldn’t possibly result in schools getting to do the choosing.”

    So what?

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  31. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    So what?

    So, nothing, if you’re happy for the schools to do the choosing. But it turns out a lot of people aren’t, so we have zoning. If you want to scrap zoning, persuade parents to put the schools in charge.

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  32. JustRight (31 comments) says:

    My 3 kids were at a Decile 10 school in Christchurch. My observation (by looking at timetables, amounts of work in books etc) & feedback from the kids was that they spent very little time on the ‘basics’. Teachers all thought they were amazing & doing a fantastic job. We had 2 kids in tuition to cover the gaps we could see emerging. We know from the tutor that she had class loads of kids from the school in private tuition. The school was against national standards, but reluctantly did report on them. Normal school reports were an embarrassment. Their books were never used up – often only half used by the end of the year.

    Staff (including support staff) were snooty & condescending. The same school has made no effort to make up for time lost due to earthquakes and other interruptions.

    We had enough, so we moved all 3 kids to a private school this year, and the difference is stunning. 60-70% of time is spent on the basics. Reports are clear, we know where the kids stand. One of them has asked for more workbooks because they are full of work. It is obvious to us that they are progressing. We compare the work from the beginning of the year, to work now and the progress is obvious. They report on national standards as one measure of performance.

    This school cut holidays, lengthened certain days, cut extra curricular activities and gave a commitment to parents to make up lost earthquake time.

    The private school appears to have less wealthy parents too, when compared to the Decile 10 school…

    So why the difference? I reckon it is because the Parents are the customer of the Private School. Parents want the basics focused on, so that is what the school does. My kids have not got any brighter, they are just getting the time necessary to acquire the skills they need

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  33. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    DPF, you’re starting to sound shrill on this issue. But then you can’t stand unions, so your views are always going to be biased from the get go.

    John Hattie, who isnt AFAIK in bed with the unions, has made it clear that academic standards will barely improve, if they do so at all. Wouldn’t it be good to listen to, and take seriously, what he says rather than calling him intellectually dishonest?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/news/3041771/National-standards-disaster-feared

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  34. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    @JustRight – please name the decile 10 Christchurch school you were unhappy with.

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  35. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10624412

    Last year [Hattie] published Visible Learning, a book which analysed the results of 50,000 educational studies covering 83 million students around the world. Hattie concluded that many of the topics which dominate the headlines – including class size, amount of homework and even which school a child attends – had very little effect on children’s learning.

    The most important factor was students’ ability to assess for themselves how well they were doing and to discuss with the teacher what they needed to do next to improve.

    …To the outrage of many education liberals, he virtually dismissed the effects of poverty, saying the crucial problem in a child’s home environment was low parental expectations and encouragement, not low income.

    … Hattie’s first point is that, despite sweeping claims of failure by Key and Education Minister Anne Tolley, the New Zealand school system is in good shape, especially compared with the rest of the world.

    National standards, he argues, are usually the catchcry of countries where the education system is in serious trouble. They have been introduced in the US, Britain and Australia but none of these countries have been able to show any overall improvement in student achievement.

    Hattie believes national standards may lift the performance of a few children at the bottom of the educational heap but says the average will not change because bright children will be neglected. He thinks the policy threatens to destroy one of the great strengths of New Zealand’s education system, which recognises that children of the same age have different academic abilities and allows them to learn at the level of their current ability.

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  36. JustRight (31 comments) says:

    YesWeDid (489) Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 1:06 pm
    @JustRight – please name the decile 10 Christchurch school you were unhappy with.

    Sure- Fendalton Open Air School

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  37. backster (2,103 comments) says:

    A female teacher rang Leighton yesterday morning, I didn’t catch what level she taught at but she said she was no longer allowed to strike out a mis-spelt word when marking a pupils work. She was instructed to write ‘close approximation’ alongside the error./.Gee that would explain a lot.

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  38. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    …we moved all 3 kids to a private school this year, and the difference is stunning.

    Abolutely. If all those with kids in decile 1 schools would just stir themselves to send the kids to a private school instead, most of the kids would do better. I wonder why they don’t do that?

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  39. Brian Smaller (4,013 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt – perhaps they didn’t work three jobs like I did to pay for my kids to be at private schools.

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  40. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Psycho

    Tell us again how the size of a persons bank balance must not be what decides what school their kids can go to – but it’s OK for the value of their property to be used for that purpose.

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  41. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Psycho

    They don’t send their kids to private schools for the same reason they don’t move to a decile 10 school – they can’t affoft it.

    However tell us again how using real estate as a proxy is valid but cash flow isn’t.

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  42. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    ‘but it’s OK for the value of their property to be used for that purpose.’

    It’s the LOCATION of the property not value. You could live in a burnt out shack in the zone of the best school in the country and they would welcome you with open arms.

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    I suspect you have serious difficulty understanding correlation vs causation on this issue, burt.

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  44. Batman (102 comments) says:

    JustRight: good on you for naming them! from the website it certainly looks like they would be not spending enough time on the basics! a school with mobile device apps? what-the-fuck-is-going-on?!???!

    I see on the PTA blog that the school appears to be run by anally rententive syndrome sufferers, who have purchased a coffee machine and intend to use it to sell coffee to the public (mummies doing the school run) from their former dental clinic building!! my mind boggles at this rather ridiculous plan! no dental care for the darlings, but mum can have a latte while the SUV is double parked outside!

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  45. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Mallard – “Frankly this could all have been solved if Tolley told the Ministry to read the reports that sat gathering dust in their files, and used ERO to enforce the assessment requirements that flowed.”

    I often get a headache when I attempt to parse a government bureaucrats language. Serves as a salutary reminder that the business of government is mostly pedantic detail. Shudder.

    Farrar’s right though. Same policy, but without the information feedback vital to the government’s requirement to comparatively measure school performance. Why condone measuring a child to a national standard, but not a school? There is a philosophical anomaly here. How do the unions or labour justify this?

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  46. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Ross – “National standards, he argues, are usually the catchcry of countries where the education system is in serious trouble”

    How do you effectively measure a child’s performance within the context of society as a whole, without a national standard?

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  47. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Backster – “I didn’t catch what level she taught at but she said she was no longer allowed to strike out a mis-spelt word when marking a pupils work.”

    Why is the teacher even checking for spelling? Surely every kid should have a laptop, and the task of spell-checking be delegated to the computer. The teacher should be *facilitating the process* of the child self-evaluating his spelling IMO.

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  48. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    YesWeDidYesWeDid

    “There is no moderation of the standards, so they are neither national nor a standard”

    That doesn’t make sense. Moderation skews the data to make it harder to read. If all schools implement the standard, then it is both national and standard.

    “They do not reflect the special character of a school”

    This has to be measured separately, and could take the form of a comprehensive statistical breakdown of relevant data.

    “There has been no trial before wide spread implementation”

    Suck it and see, learn as you go. Of course there will be teething problems.

    “Schools that do not want to implement the national standards are being bulled into doing so, which is hardly the way to run our education system.”

    It’s not up to the school. The power to implement or reject national policy has not been devolved to school boards.

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  49. Mark (1,402 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (1,089) Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 3:55 pm
    YesWeDidYesWeDid

    “There is no moderation of the standards, so they are neither national nor a standard”

    That doesn’t make sense. Moderation skews the data to make it harder to read. If all schools implement the standard, then it is both national and standard.

    “They do not reflect the special character of a school”

    This has to be measured separately, and could take the form of a comprehensive statistical breakdown of relevant data.

    “There has been no trial before wide spread implementation”

    Suck it and see, learn as you go. Of course there will be teething problems.

    “Schools that do not want to implement the national standards are being bulled into doing so, which is hardly the way to run our education system.”

    It’s not up to the school. The power to implement or reject national policy has not been devolved to school boards.

    Scott
    YWDYWD is absolutely right.
    Firstly his/her point on no moderation is the major failure of the National standards process. Simply put, under the present “Tolley”system there is no uniform assessment process that allows you to be sure that one schools assessment process and results are on the same basis as another schools. A moderation process would ensure that the assessment process is consistent from school to school.
    The special character issue is neither here nor there in this debate.
    In respect of schools rejecting National Standards, it is their boards that are rejecting or refusing to implement standards

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  50. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > How do you effectively measure a child’s performance within the context of society as a whole, without a national standard?

    I think you’re asking the wrong question. As Hattie says, the system here is not broken. We have one of the best education systems in the world. What you’re saying is that because we didn’t, until recently, have national standards, we had no idea of how a child was performing. That’s nonsense. Even in my day as a student, my parents got reports explaining how I was performing. They could meet with teachers to discuss any concerns they might have had.

    Out of interest, do you think we need national standards for MPs so we can determine how they’re performing?

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  51. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Mark

    Perhaps YWD meant ‘monitoring’, not moderation. Regarding the school boards, that’s what I said. The boards have limited autonomy, but not the right to reject national policy, and are possibly acting at the behest of the teachers.

    I suspect teachers see National Standards as the thin end of the wedge resulting in the long overdue and difficult task of assessing teacher performance. That is why they are behaving this recalcitrant manner. They are wary of the added scrutiny, which is understandable I guess.

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  52. kiwigunner (221 comments) says:

    [DPF: It is not the best predictor. The best predictor is the quality of the teacher]

    That is simply not true.

    The best predictor is the socio-economic background.
    The second is the child’s parents level of education
    The third is the school’ s principal
    The fourth is the child’s teacher.

    You can regurgitate this bullshit as much as you like DPF but it is still bullshit. Go and get some facts for a bloody change!

    [DPF: Ummn my comments are based on the research from John Hattie that meta-reviewed 800 studies in this area. What is your assertion based on?]

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  53. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Ross – “Out of interest, do you think we need national standards for MPs so we can determine how they’re performing?”

    Good question. I suspect it would be as difficult as trying to fairly and objectively measure teacher performance, but yes, I am in favour of any attempt to measure MP perfomance, less for the sake of accountability, more for the sake of improving their performance.

    Back to your assertion that I’m missing the point regarding national standards, I’m in favour of them because once a fair standard has been established against which children are measured, then it is far easier to interpret the results and to guage performance relative to the whole population and for the clear and easy identification of learning needs. Also the qualifications that stem from these standards have a more objective meaning to prospective employers.

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  54. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    Mr Nobody NZ

    Curiously, the lying arsehole Mallard hasn’t answered your question. He also seems oblivious to the fact that there is an electoral mandate to implement these changes and moreover, possibly 70% (the most conservative proportion) of voters disagree with him.

    Nor has he addressed the real issue here, that has nothing to do with the interests of children, but everything to do with concealing piss poor teachers.

    backster: “no longer allowed to strike out a mis-spelt word when marking a pupils work. She was instructed to write ‘close approximation’ alongside the error”

    That is just tragic and pretty well sums up Labour’s education system.

    In fact it isn’t tragic. Its actually outrageous that a group of politically motivated shitheads who seem to live in a contrived world where spelling, and indeed any other form of written or oral communication, don’t actually count for anything, can dicate a lifetime of embarassment, non-achievement and frustration to kids at such a young age. This is nothing more than an attempt to devalue language to the lowest common denominator without considering that many people, including professionals, put value on written communication skills because poor skills reflect on the commercial brand of their employers.

    What a bunch of arseholes. The quicker Tolley sinks her boot the rest of the way up the arse of these pinko pricks the better.

    And in that vein, I note that Garth George is grumbling about the fact that Shakespeare has now been dumped from the curriculum. Another signal that these pricks want to effectively disconnect society from its cultural identities and impose their own cultural legacy. A calculated plan of cultural genocide.

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  55. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    kiwigunner

    On what do you base your assertions? Reference please. (I realize that Farrar’s assertions are unreferenced too.)

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  56. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    ‘Perhaps YWD meant ‘monitoring’, not moderation.’

    No I meant moderation; from the NZ curriculum website: ‘Moderation is the process of teachers sharing their expectations and understanding of standards with each other in order to improve the consistency of their decisions about student learning’

    Or put simply it is how you ensure an ‘A’ given to one student is the same as an ‘A’ given to another student in a different school.

    But you are in good company; Anne Tolley has no idea what moderation is either.

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  57. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    [DPF: Ummn my comments are based on the research from John Hattie that meta-reviewed 800 studies in this area. What is your assertion based on?]

    Kiwigunner’s view is mainstream.

    Care to provide a link to the research you are supposedly quoting from?

    I don’t remember this view emanating from Hattie, but perhaps context is important.

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  58. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I should say, too, it’s a brave announcement by Labour.

    I hope they have the rebuttals at the ready for when Key once more says 20% of kids finish 12 or more years of schooling “unable to read or write.”

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  59. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    YesWeDid –

    Thanks. That is a very narrow and specific definition of the word ‘moderation’.
    Hopefully the evaluation criteria stipulated will mitigate the vagaries of inconsistent grading. That is the test of a good test presumably.

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  60. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    Luc/kiwigunner

    You can chisel at Farrar’s comment until the cows come home but it doesn’t disguise the fact that the debate is about parent’s rights to know how their children are performing relative to a national benchmark. Parents have ultimate responsibility for their children and their future and in that regard are perfectly entitled to know whether the school that their children are attending is meeting its obligations in terms of performance standards. They voted for it, its been enacted and it seems that 70% or more of voters agree its a good thing.

    This is nothing more than a union arm wrestle and they’ve lost and if they don’t like it, they can fuck off and do something else.

    I don’t know if its intended, but one can draw the inference from kiwigunner’s comment that teacher quality is of lesser importance than other factors identified. I have no doubt that socio-economic factors and parents’ education are very significant factors, just as in the case of crime and health. However it doesn’t follow that there being issues with those two elements, we wave the white flag on the others. On the contrary, it simply places more importance on the quality of principals and teachers.

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  61. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    …possibly 70% (the most conservative proportion) of voters disagree with him.

    And possibly 90% agree with him. Or possibly none. Handy word, “possibly.”

    That is just tragic and pretty well sums up Labour’s education system.

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Labour lost the last election and haven’t been running the education system for 3 years now.

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  62. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    Sadly Milt, the legacy lives on through its agents entrenched in the education system.

    Have you not noticed that there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle going on with Tolley over the last three years?

    And as for the stats; as you know very well what I was saying. You’re not that silly.

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  63. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    A Hattie quote (referenced):

    In New Zealand, national standards will only serve to draw attention away from what really matters.

    From “So much now depends on the implementation!”

    Faculty of Education The University of Auckland

    Te Kuaka Issue 2010

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  64. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Luc

    … It’s mainstream thinking…

    like… we all know it’s true….

    FAIL.

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  65. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    God the commies and education professionals are moaning and groaning still about having parents know in a straight forward standard manner how their kids are performing against their peers.

    Wonder why?

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  66. UpandComer (517 comments) says:

    The moderation issues are overblown.

    This is because moderation primarily effects qualitative subjects, i.e. those in the humanities.

    Subjects such as Maths, sciences and technology are mainly quantitative. An answer is definitely right or wrong, and the kid gets a little extra credit if they are wrong, but the methodology is correct.

    Where prose explanations are required these too are really right or wrong in the non-humanities subjects. The kid either understands something, or they don’t, and the writing reflects this.

    Moderation in the humanities topics is more difficult. These require a teacher’s discretion. This is where there is most room for disagreement on the merits of a kids expression. However National standards aren’t aimed at this level. They are about thresholds, i.e. ‘aged 11 kid spells reasonably well, uses paragraphs well, applies elementary grammar and the writing is legible’. Concerns about judgements of quality aren’t really relevant. The focus is on kids just knowing the basics.

    We have to remember national standards are aimed mainly at little kids. It is not hard to compare/contrast/moderate elementary content, even in more qualitiative areas. Moderation only becomes a major issues in the NCEA age groups. Remember how well that went under Labour.

    Kiwigunner – you may not like it but the teacher largely determines the child’s outcomes. Teacher’s should be emphasising this and demanding this goes thru so they can get paid more. Teacher’s shouldn’t be closing ranks to protect the people who let down the profession and the kids they teach.

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  67. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    UpandComer

    But the unions, think of the poor unions. They need the teachers to be the least important factor or they might not all settle for being paid the same under an easy to manage collective agreement. Rubber stamp, collect fees, donate to Labour!

    Besides, what crap union would promote the idea that your boss has a bigger hand in the outcome of the kids education than you do – utter bollix from the left to defend their any size fits all position.

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  68. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    UpandComer

    Good post. Interesting information and analysis.

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  69. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Luc

    “Hattie – In New Zealand, national standards will only serve to draw attention away from what really matters.”

    I’m curious to know what Hattie considers to be that which “really matters”, and how we can objectively measure it?

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  70. Psycho Milt (2,336 comments) says:

    You guys seem to have seriously confused national standards with some kind of standardised test regime.

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  71. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt

    Yes, it’s dawning on me that I’d better do a bit of reading. I can usually bullshit my way through most things.

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  72. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    [DPF: Ummn my comments are based on the research from John Hattie that meta-reviewed 800 studies in this area. What is your assertion based on?]

    David is referring to John Hattie’s paper ‘Influences on Student Learning’ published in 2003 in which he said that the educational outcome for a student was influenced by the following:

    Student – 50%
    Home Environment – 5 to 10%
    School – 5 to 10%
    Peers – 5 to 10%
    Principal – 5 to 10%
    Teacher – 30%

    He also said that class size has no effect. Following Hattie’s conclusions it would suggest that sending your child to a private school is a waste of money unless they have some how managed to employ some outstanding teachers.

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  73. kiwigunner (221 comments) says:

    I doubt that you have read Hatties meta analysis. But regardless Hattie himself has turned away from the National Standards debate saying that they have the potential to be the biggest destructive influence ever inflicted upon NZ schools. He has buggered of to Melbourne, in part due to his disillusionment with the governments NS stance. Quoting Hattie in support of NS is ridiculous in the extreme. As for his meta analysis – this refers to influences on achievement and standardized assessment doesn’t register anywhere in his work. Now overseas evidence shows that it actually reduces achievement levels. Take at a look at the decline in the USA/UK for example.

    Any teacher in the world will tell you class size does matter – and Hattie contradicts himself in his work because he goes on to say that the biggest teaching influence on achievement is the ability of the teacher to provide immediate and quality feedback on performance. Common sense will tell you that their is more opportunity for this in a class of 16 than in a class of 30.

    Quite clearly Labours policy is not National Standards lite – but also clearly non educators can’t see this because they are not educators. You tossers who think that teaching is a basic skill need to realize that like other professions you need a degree to become a teacher. Just like a lawyer/an accountant/a nurse. You might be able to draw up your own will, use MYOB/or dress a wound but if you want someone who knows what they are doing both from a practical and theoretical perspective you go see the expert.

    And teachers who teach at the early primary years are particularly skilled not less. It’s not the age of the children but the skill of the teacher. They don’t just babysit down in Year 1 and 2 – it is a hell of a lot more than that.

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  74. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    So YWD, the student is more important than the teacher in determining achievement. But David said that teachers were more important than everything else.

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  75. kiwigunner (221 comments) says:

    Ross, David knows fuck all about education. This is a political blog. His comments are political. He and his ilk hate that their is free education for all, they hate that teachers have a union that not only protects their workers but also protects the public education system. He hates that schools aren’t little businesses. He hates that schools just don’t punch out compliant little employees. He thinks because he went to school he knows all about it. He thinks that teachers are lazy and incompetent when school communities overwhelmingly support their schools and value their teachers. He also thinks that managerial, economic theory drivers are the answer to everything. This is utter bullshit. I repeat David knows fuck all about education.

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  76. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    @ross – it seems obvious that the greatest factor in the education of an individual is the raw ability of the student themselves, if they are thick then no amount of teaching is going to get them past a certain standard.

    Hattie then says the next major influence is the quality of the teacher followed by other effects like the home environment, peers, school etc.

    It is fair to say that Hattie’s conclusions were not met with universal agreement, especially his comments on class size.

    I’m not saying I agree with them or are using them to support any particular argument.

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  77. kiwigunner (221 comments) says:

    On average across OECD countries, 14% of the variation in students’ reading performance can be explained
    by their socio-economic backgrounds.

    From OECD report (2011) ‘Does student Background affect student Performance’.

    The quote about the teacher being the biggest influence is always in error – they along with the schools leadership are the biggest ‘in school’ influence. Very important to be sure – but it is no coincidence that achievement levels are being affected as poverty increases in NZ. Try going to work tomorrow with no breakfast or lunch. After having spent the night in a cold dank house and lacking in that Dr’s visit that you couldn’t afford to go to. Add in the growing social dysfunction that may have seen your Mum and Dad having a punch up in your lounge and then consider if your boss is the greatest influence on how you do your job.

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  78. UpandComer (517 comments) says:

    No one wants to attack teachers. People give their kids to teachers most of the day, 5 days a week. People do respect teachers and the demands of the job. Remember, people are forced to trust teachers.

    It just seems there is a prevailing attitude in the education industry and indeed the ministry that education is primarily about the teachers rather then parents.

    Parent’s voted for national standards. Now teachers are saying – no. This is wrong.
    The proportion of kids who can’t read and write is very bad. This is not-withstanding New Zealands good performance at the top end of education performance variables.

    It is fundamental – 20% of kids can’t read or write out of primary school. This means the current system is not working, notwithstanding the opinions of the industry, and something must change.

    Remember, national standards are aimed at these primary school kids currently being failed. They are simply thresholds. If a kid is finding it hard to get to them, parents can see this quickly and help the kid out. For parents this takes the mystery out of their kids education. Further, being thresholds, they will not harm the kids already performing well. Those kids simply reach the minimum standard and go on to outperform it to whatever degree is in their capability. National standards are aimed at the children being failed by an illogically complacent, sensitive and self-assured system.

    Forget about league tables and rating teacher performance, and focus on these facts. This is about the kids, not the teachers! It is unfortunate many teachers have made the dialogue around national standards about them!

    The education system needs to be made more dynamic and self-aware. I like the fact that the government has told the ministry on a macro level that 13.5 billion dollars worth of capital is enough – use it more efficiently, and the ministry is doing that really well. Education in this country is going to improve strongly in the next ten years, I believe that very strongly. There are a lot of good, exciting things happening in education, and I wish I was a kid again so I could experience them.

    Finally let me just say that New Zealand national standards are not comparable to the systems used in England and the United States. Those systems failed for the perverse incentives they forced on teachers and schools. They could justifiably be criticised as utter ‘teach to test’ systems.

    Think of NZ’s national standards as ‘teach the minimum – move on’.

    The standards are simply thresholds not end goals.

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  79. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    Milt

    You guys seem to have seriously confused the rights of parents to information with your perceived rights of teachers to conceal it.

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  80. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    thedavincimode – lol

    kiwigunner – “…hate that their is free education for all” ” hate that teachers have a union” “hates that schools aren’t little businesses” “hates that schools just don’t punch out compliant little employees”

    I think you are confusing “hate” with “having a different view from me”

    If you want anyone to take what you have to say seriously, try couching it in less emotive, and more rational terms.

    You do, however, express your anger quite succinctly.

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  81. Scott Chris (5,940 comments) says:

    upandcomer – “It is fundamental – 20% of kids can’t read or write out of primary school.”

    Is it? NZEI sourced stats disagree:

    http://www.nzei.org.nz/site/nzeite/files/misc%20documents/Facts%20about%20NZ%20and%20education.pdf

    “Remember, national standards are aimed at these primary school kids currently being failed”

    Help me out here (cause I don’t know). Are assessments still going to be norm referenced? Presumably those who fall below the standards threshold or the 50% mark will still be deemed to have failed.

    “This is about the kids, not the teachers!”

    Not sure about that. Happy teacher is a productive teacher.

    “They could justifiably be criticised as utter ‘teach to test’ systems”

    In some ways, I see nothing wrong with this, provided that it doesn’t comprise the whole pedagogical approach. Learning arbitrary information and regurgitating it in a comprehensible form is a vital skill, and easy to assess. An education aimed at the rounded and autonomous child is all very well in theory, but hard to measure. Not to say that autonomous learning wouldn’t be my highest educational priority.

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  82. YesWeDid (1,040 comments) says:

    ‘It is fundamental – 20% of kids can’t read or write out of primary school. This means the current system is not working, notwithstanding the opinions of the industry, and something must change.’

    This 20% figure is a myth with no figures to back it up.

    At best it is based on a 10 year old figure that said 20% of children leave school without achieving any passes in any exams, this then gets presented as ’20% are illiterate’ (Don Brash), ’20% of kids can’t read or write out of primary school’ (above).

    The current figure is that 16% of children leave school without at least 1 NCEA level 2 subject.

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  83. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    [DPF: It is not the best predictor. The best predictor is the quality of the teacher]

    Diane Ravitch says in this book review:
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/sep/29/school-reform-failing-grade/?pagination=false

    Economists agree that teachers are the most important influence on student test scores inside the school, but the influence of schools and teachers is dwarfed by nonschool factors, most especially by family income. The reformers like to say that poverty doesn’t make a difference, but they are wrong. Poverty matters. The achievement gap between children of affluence and children of poverty starts long before the first day of school. It reflects the nutrition and medical care available to pregnant women and their children, as well as the educational level of the children’s parents, the vocabulary they hear, and the experiences to which they are exposed.

    On the latest international test, the Program for International Student Assessment, American schools in which fewer than 10 percent of the students were poor outperformed the schools of Finland, Japan, and Korea. Even when as many as 25 percent of the students were poor, American schools performed as well as the top-scoring nations. As the proportion of poor students rises, the scores of US schools drop. (see ref below)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Now you’d hope she’d know what she’s talking about since she is an historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education

    ref:
    Howard L. Fleischman, Paul J. Hopstock, Marisa P. Pelczar, and Brooke E. Shelley, Highlights from PISA 2009: Performance of US 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context (National Center for Education Statistics, December 2010), p. 15, available at nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011004.

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  84. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Moroney is being a snake in the grass about innoculations. The Nat/Lab coalition will spring on innoculations in schools probably very soon after the election next year. National has already cut off preschools funding for parents who won’t innoculate their children.

    The quality of education won’t go up but political interference certainly will.

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  85. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    So it seems Farrar was, to put it kindly, misrepresenting Hattie because, in fact, according to Hattie’s table, the best predictor of student achievement is the student, not the teacher. But that’s not Hattie really meant, anyway.

    Why am I not surprised about the misrepresentation?

    Oh well, never mind.

    I suppose it all just goes to show that sophisticated analysis is not a strength of those who like to refer to themselves as right wing.

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  86. Monty (965 comments) says:

    Trevor – the poor sensitive daffodil will no longer allow ant criticism – Trevor has deleted what I have written below with this comment

    “Monty says:
    September 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Deleted with a warning that if you are excessively offensive again you will be banned. Have been reviewing your comments and they are too often over the top. Trevor..

    Is this excessively offensive – ?? Or is Trev lying again?? Or he he so foul that Labour are now 31% points behind in the polls that he censors any dissenting opinion”

    Monty says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    September 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for finally getting around to doing a post on this – I was wondering if it was the policy that Labour were embarrassed about so released it when there was little attention being paid to politics.

    First off, in my opinion, this Policy is a sop to the Labour Party Union Masters. For the very best fisking of this policy I suggest readers refer to the excellent analysis done by Davin Farrar here http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/09/labours_national_standard_policy.html . In particular this part “Wow almost identical to the current requirement to report progress against a national standard for their year twice a year to parents.

    So what is the major difference between Labour and National’s policies?

    Basically it is just that Labour will not have schools send their assessment data into the Government, hence preventing the media from being able to report on the number of students at a school who are meeting the national standard. That way those evil league tables are prevented.

    And that is what this whole fuss has always been about. ”

    In the lead up to the 2008 election, National made NS a major election campaign plank. So predictably the Teacher unions came out against NS. Some pathetic schools boycotted, but have finally understood they have a legal obligation to get on with it. The arguments against NS have not resonated with parents.

    With this policy Labour will keep their teacher vote, but I suspect bleed even more support (what little is left) because the parents in mainstream NZ will think Labour are doing away with NS altogether, (reality as DPF notes is different of course)

    So where is the gain for Labour in this – They keep their supporters such as teachers and unions happy, annoy parents who think Labour are going to do away with NS. I would call this a fail.

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