An independent expert

June 20th, 2012 at 1:51 pm by David Farrar

The Herald proclaims:

 An expert on school says introducing the system here would lead to schools narrowing their teaching focus, competing for the “best” students and rejecting those who fall behind in order to reach national targets.

Professor , of Waikato University, spent six years in Britain researching markets and accountability in schools.

The name of that expert sounds familiar. As it happens, I have blogged previously on him:

A teacher union is fund­ing inde­pen­dent research into the impact of the new National Stan­dards in schools. …

“Given the absence of a trial of National Stan­dards and the deep con­cerns the pro­fes­sion and school com­mu­ni­ties have, NZEI has decided to fund this research in a bid to get robust evi­dence about the impact of National Stan­dards on teach­ing and learn­ing,” he said.

The project is being run through the Wilf Mal­colm Insti­tute for Edu­ca­tional Research at the Uni­ver­sity of Waikato and is headed by Prof Mar­tin Thrupp.

It may just be me, but I think readers would have found it useful to know he is being funded by the NZEI.

Hmmm… I won­der if this is the same “inde­pen­dent Mar­tin Thrupp that has railed against national stan­dards in March 2010, and is it the same Mar­tin Thrupp who is very active on the national Stan­dards protest site, includ­ing this blog post about how to get trac­tion in the media against National Stan­dards and the same mar­tin Thrupp who sent an email of sup­port to the NZPF for their action against National Stan­dards?

The fact that he is also a persistent activist and campaigner against the Government, might also be something readers would want to know. But alas, they are just told he is an “expert” and nothing more.

In no way do I suggest Professor Thrupp should not be quoted. But I think media do the public a dis-service when they do not report he is funded by NZEI and a prominent campaigner against the Government on education policy.

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34 Responses to “An independent expert”

  1. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Is it that they, the media are biased against this Government or not doing so, that people won’t be alerted to a beat up to create news by repeaters.

    I suspect that they are poor journalists as are their copy editors unprofessional editors.

    Thank you for outing the agenda and the biased person.

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  2. Martin Gibson (230 comments) says:

    Media outlets and opposition politicians both benefit from public outrage and you don’t get that from fair balanced reporting or representation of the facts.

    Everyone wants to be happy, but to succeed these people have to make people unhappy — what sort of person would want that sort of job?

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  3. Griff (6,996 comments) says:

    Waikato University
    says it all really

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  4. YesWeDid (1,043 comments) says:

    ‘An expert on school league tables says introducing the system here would lead to schools narrowing their teaching focus, competing for the “best” students and rejecting those who fall behind in order to reach national targets.’

    DPF, as your attacking the man and not the message I guess you’ve got nothing to refute what he is saying.

    [DPF: Don't lie. I have not attacked the man at all. I have attacked the media for not reporting his affiliations]

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  5. RightNow (6,843 comments) says:

    YesWeDid, there’s a useful feature called tags in play on Kiwiblog. You can easily see any post tagged as relating to League Tables just by clicking on the tag at the bottom of the post that says ‘league tables’. To make it even easier, click this link:
    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/tag/league_tables

    Because you guessed wrong.

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  6. YesWeDid (1,043 comments) says:

    ‘The fact that he is also a persistent activist and campaigner against the Government’

    I struggle to see how the media are meant to ‘report his affiliations’ when all he is ‘guilty’ of is having an opinion and for voicing it.

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  7. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    He is a political activist for the teachers unions. His opinion is worthless

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  8. BeaB (2,083 comments) says:

    I am sick of these so-called experts not being identified as the campaigners they really are – The Herald and TVNZ has a string of them from Jane Kelsey, to Bryan Gould to that Island Bay principal. I think we are always entitled to know who the messenger is especially when we are being spun a party line.
    I am also sick of people being introduced as ‘professor’ for instance, suggesting that we are going to hear something objective and data based when all we receive is polemic.

    It doesn’t say much for our educational leaders when they don’t identify themselves as spokespeople for a partisan point-of-view.One wonders what they are actually teaching their students.

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  9. Nookin (3,179 comments) says:

    “I struggle to see how the media are meant to ‘report his affiliations’ when all he is ‘guilty’ of is having an opinion and for voicing it.”
    There is a distinct difference between being an expert and an advocate. An advocate is partial and therefore unreliable no matter how well informed. His opinions are being publicised as though he is acting as an independant expert when, in fact, he is demonstrably partial. That is dishonest reporting

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  10. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    An education expert from Victoria University was on RNZ this morning complaining about league tables. I guess questions will be asked by DPF about his parentage. There shall be no criticism of National’s education policy.

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  11. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    In fact, there are several academics and experts who have questioned the effectiveness of league tables.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/search/results?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=league+tables

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  12. YesWeDid (1,043 comments) says:

    Everyone please stop calling them ‘league tables’ that is what they were called yesterday, today they are called ‘student achievement data’.

    They can’t be called ‘league tables’ because Hekia Parata said the government wouldn’t be publishing league tables.

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  13. BeaB (2,083 comments) says:

    High schools have been ranked publicly for years and years and the sky hasn’t fallen in. What are primary schools so scared of?
    Perhaps their assessments are so shonky they are embarrassed. If this is the case, what on earth are our poor kids putting up with every day? How can we trust anything these principals say?

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  14. berend (1,676 comments) says:

    DPF: But I think media do the public a dis-service when they do not report he is funded by NZEI and a prominent campaigner against the Government on education policy.

    Do we need more reasons for not reading the MSM? But yeah, they’re in the entertainment business, not informing business.

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  15. dubya (224 comments) says:

    I don’t particularly care, as I abhor children, but given schools, teachers, and their students cost taxpayers lots of money, then they should be ranked, open to criticism, and subjected to consumer choice.

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  16. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    Frankly with the state of churnalism at the NZ Horrid being what it is, I’m surprised that they haven’t offered Thrupp a job as Education Reporter – he’s eminently qualified to join their red ranks

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  17. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Waikato University, it’s a wonder the poor bugger can walk in a straight line. Anyone spending time in that reeducation camp usually comes out so bent to the left they spin around in circles.

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  18. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Ross69 said “June 20th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
    An education expert from Victoria University was on RNZ this morning complaining about league tables. I guess questions will be asked by DPF about his parentage. There shall be no criticism of National’s education policy.”

    He wasn’t complaining about league tables per se he was objecting to league tables that didn’t smooth out decile impact on student achievement i.e. didn’t cover the teachers for the effort that was required to bring the kids of the deadbeats up to par with higher decile kids.

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  19. KH (694 comments) says:

    League Tables.
    There seems to be an objection to them because we might make decisions using information they don’t like. Apparently that’s bad.
    So the offered solution is to deny us the information.
    Argue against a decision I might make, and if you like, use additional information, to cconvince me to change my mind. That’s OK.
    But it’s particularly objectionable to deny me information at all.
    I will accept or reject information. That’s my right.
    And those who seek me deny me information, just in case I might use it, are right out of line.

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  20. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    The objection seems mainly to be that such tables are likely to paint a highly misleading view of school performance. If there is actually a demand for information on the ‘performance’ of schools, perhaps it would be better achieved by augmenting the information provided in the ERO reports. After all, there is it, an agency charged with reviewing and reporting on education performance. Interested in a school? – see what the ERO reports say. Does anyone really believe that it is possible to construct a table that accurately ranks schools from ‘best’ to ‘worst’?

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  21. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Relative student achievement paints an entirely true picture of student performance, it’s just that education professionals don’t want the great unwashed seeing that picture.

    Mike said “Does anyone really believe that it is possible to construct a table that accurately ranks schools from ‘best’ to ‘worst’?”
    The joker on RNZ this morning said it was quite feasible.

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  22. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I tend to think that it might be a holy grail beyond reach. We have an Education Review Office that assesses schools against set criteria, and well-established mechanisms to intervene when schools are not performing. I’m not sure a ‘league table’ will actually add much to the picture.

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  23. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Well, I think that we get fuck all real visibility of pupil and school performance out of the education system so a league table will add another dimension that we don’t currently get, *relative* performance.

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

    The only comparable nations above us in the OECD’s league tables of national education achievement – well researched and highly regarded, unlike our pathetic National Standards – are Canada and Finland. Their governments don’t do league tables.

    On the other hand, equally comparable nations below us, sometimes well below us, in the OECD rankings are very keen on league tables.

    Which countries should guide us as regards best practise?

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  25. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Shh Luc, it’s not done here to remind people that we have a great education system.

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

    expat

    Without moderation of National Standards any information will not be “relative.” This is a major objection of the experts opposed to league tables. In addition, to properly and accurately measure the performance of teachers and schools requires in depth analysis of many factors and this is so costly as to be prohibitive, and is still likely to be inconclusive and unfair to many.

    The OECD tells us the biggest single improvement in our education system is to address our inequality gap. Just a one point improvement in that index, they say, will increase our score in the PISA tests by over 50 points. This would place us easily first in the world.

    Why don’t we do that, utilising proven, credible, evidence based research that guarantees results?

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

    Humble apologies, mm. Please don’t tell DPF I blasphemed.

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  28. Johnboy (15,586 comments) says:

    “Does anyone really believe that it is possible to construct a table that accurately ranks schools from ‘best’ to ‘worst’?”

    We believed it in my schooldays milkey. All us Proddys knew our schools were best and the Fenian schools were worst.

    Even if the St. Marys girls were reputed to be the best roots! :)

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  29. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Canada and Finland don’t do league tables – and? So we can’t?

    The moderation in NS is OTJ which apparently is much better than a national test measuring all kids against the same thing.

    Additionally the bloke on RNZ this morning said that NZ’ NS framework was light years ahead of the UK and in his opinion that putting a moderating framework around NS was a relatively moderate exercise.

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  30. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    But I guess Labour activists don’t really want to listen eh guys.

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

    Still can’t stick to the topic, I see, expat.

    However, to answer, of course it is possible to apply moderation to NS (it should be being done regardless of tables etc if you accept the need for such simplistic nonsense) but that’s not what is being proposed.

    Because then NS would start to cost serious money, including the need to, god forbid, hire more teachers to train teachers!

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  32. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Read again “The moderation in NS is OTJ”

    And the actual topic is about the NZEI being duplicitous.

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  33. kaykaybee (150 comments) says:

    The Herald has lost any claim to credibility and integrity. Almost weekly people tell me that they’ve cancelled their decades-long Herald broadsheet sub and they almost always cite issues of content and editing. Granny’s habit of not disclosing the personal political motives of commentators is inane. It makes a mockery of their profession and it’s patronizing. Along with ever burgeoning public preference for digital news sourcing, readers are increasingly better educated and usually seeking multiple sources. Half-arsed hacks and lazy editors will become irrelevant and eventually defunct.

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  34. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    Surely his credentials as stated
    “Professor Martin Thrupp, of Waikato University, spent six years in Britain researching education markets and accountability in schools”
    are pretty informative as to his expertise.

    If all academics giving opinions have to report their sources of income then it should be the same for all people who have or relate opinions such as politicians and people doing surveys.

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