Decile ratings on ERO reports

August 21st, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

The decile rating of schools has been scrapped from Education Review Office reports.

chief review officer Dr Graham Stoop made the surprise announcement yesterday in an effort to “correct the stereotype that a school’s decile equals performance”.

I’ve got no problem with this. The decile rating is still public information for parents who want it – but it is not part of an ERO report as it is not a factor in school quality.

Teacher union the New Zealand Educational Institute () said clear information about the social and economic context of schools should be published in place of the decile ratings, which were “crude”.

It suggested including data on student transience, the number of children with special needs or English as a second language and the number of children attending breakfast clubs.

Excellent. As I often say the answer to bad data is good data. Don’t ban or suppress data, but focus on presenting the most meaningful data.

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28 Responses to “Decile ratings on ERO reports”

  1. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    When I was a teacher, a statement I made in the hearing of an ERO staffer got me in a lot of trouble.
    I compared ERO with the Belgian peasants after the Battle of Waterloo.
    Why?
    After the battle, when soldiers from all the armies had returned to encampments and were trying to sort out gear, ammunition etc and get fed, the Belgian peasants crept out onto the battlefield, bayoneted the wounded and stole anything valuable.
    I still hold that opinion of the ERO..

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  2. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    “I’ve got no problem with this. The decile rating is still public information for parents who want it – but it is not part of an ERO report as it is not a factor in school quality.”

    how do we know?

    how many decile 10 schools are doing badly?

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  3. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    God I’m sick of the spin from this blog’s author. If National does something, there’s no issue, and it should have been done anyway. If Labour does something though, they did not consult with parents, there was no notice, etc.

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  4. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    The irony of all this is that the decile rating is a reflection of the school community and not the school itself. A school community will have a very good idea of its decile rating. The important data (student achievement) needs to be published rather than the community data.

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  5. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    *** “correct the stereotype that a school’s decile equals performance”.***

    What it more likely reflects is the composition of the student body. Which is most important ingredient in a good school (See Robert Weissberg’s “Bad Students, Not Bad Schools”).

    Lower decile schools will tend to have a poorer quality of students. That doesn’t mean that students can’t do well at them, or that the teachers are bad. So in that respect I can understand the ERO wanting to remove decile ratings.

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  6. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    Jimmy

    Can you be a bit more specific? The major introduction by National has been achievement standards. There was plenty of consultation about that. It was part of the election plank. Perhaps you could give us specific examples of the contradictions to which you refer

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  7. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    **how many decile 10 schools are doing badly?***

    Yes, because they have good students. The students tend to benefit both from positive environments and get their successful parents genes.

    “This graph is a good example of omitted variable bias, a statistical issue discussed in Chapter 2 of my favorite textbook. The key omitted variable here is parents’ IQ. Smart parents make more money and pass those good genes on to their offspring.”

    http://gregmankiw.blogspot.co.nz/2009/08/least-surprising-correlation-of-all.html

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  8. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I am totally shocked. Snob I might be but there’s no way my kids were going anywhere near a low decile school. I would hope decile is still public information. I pored over ERO reorts before sending my kids to a New Zealand school. The ERO reports are indecipherable. Short of ERO tanking their politically correct rubbish, decile is the only measure of the quality of a school and this is because better-off parents have deeper pockets and tend to support boards and PTA’s better.
    In my sons’ schools here in the U.S, the PTA raised $294,000 in the last year. It’s a good school.

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  9. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    Dime made sure the local schools were decile 10 before buying his estate :D

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  10. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Monique:
    Our daughter will be moving from a high decile primary school to a low/middling decile school when we buy a house shortly.

    I can’t wait. :-D

    The children at the high decile school are the most rotten rude little shits you could ever have the misfortune of meeting. All “I want this” and “I’ve got that” and basically no manners whatsoever. Just the spoilt selfish children of fuckwits.

    We went to check out the decile 3 country school we’ll be moving her into… I held the door open for a little girl, and she said “thank you”… I was utterly gob-smacked, there are no manners like that at the posh school in town…

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  11. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Tis wise you were, Dime :) @RRM. Yeah I can’t argue with that. There’s good high decile schools and ones where everyone needs a good kick in the pants. We chose our school because it was the closest and because the principal was male and we thought it’d be good for the boys.

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  12. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Well said RRM

    Decile ten schools are full of rich little snobs.

    Lower decile schools create well rounded real Kiwi kids.

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  13. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Lower decile schools are sometimes full of the kids of druggies or alkies. I wouldn’t have my kid near that.

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  14. david (2,482 comments) says:

    Regardless of what ERO and the Principals say, the simple fact is that decile rating is a direct measure of funding that the school receives. As such it should follow as a general rule that the lower the decile rating, the better should be the facilities and materials provided (or the lower the pupil:teacher ratio). Because it measures socio-economic standards in the catchment, it should also tell you something about the background of the pupils.

    Now it is entirely up to those who are deciding what school to send their children to to apply their own ratings to each of these factors as well as any other information they may have to hand like bus routes, general reputation, biases and preferences. What I really, really object to is having someone withhold a piece of information on the grounds that THEY think I should not utilise it in my decision -making.

    It is arrogant and patronising to assume that they know better than me.

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  15. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    ***We went to check out the decile 3 country school we’ll be moving her into… I held the door open for a little girl, and she said “thank you”… I was utterly gob-smacked, there are no manners like that at the posh school in town…***

    Hehe.

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  16. campit (438 comments) says:

    Had a look at a few ERO reports at the ERO website. There doesn’t seem to be any hard data in the reports, just general comments like:

    Students make very good progress in the junior school and continue on into the senior school to achieve high levels of success in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and the New Zealand Scholarship examinations.

    The decile rating appeared to be the only comparable factor. Shouldn’t I expect to find some hard data like pass rates, or how many graduates enter university, or at what year are the kids leaving school permanently? Or am I looking in the wrong place?

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  17. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I totally agree with you David@ 3.00p.
    The only way you know if a school sucks @campit, is if they are going to be vsited again by ERO more frequently than once every five years. You may as well look at tea leaves as read the ERO reports. You won’t be looking in the wrong place it is just that they say NOTHING.

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  18. Roflcopter (397 comments) says:

    I don’t care about decile ratings, or even the National Standards ratings for the school at any given point.

    What I do care about is ensuring that over a period of time, those National Standards ratings show improvement from their previous results… that’s what matters.

    If there’s no improvement, it’s not the kids’ fault.

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  19. annie (533 comments) says:

    The decile rating should continue to be included.

    I had the misfortune to turn the car radio on this morning just in time to hear Dr Stoop trying to justify this decision to Michael Laws. He insisted, twice, that “the evidence” was that parents were misusing the information and using it as an entirety in their judgement of a school’s quality. Though since it was included in the ERO report, those of them who were literate enough to read could continue on to read the rest of the report, which is what he wants them to do.

    The evidence he is referring to is apparently nothing more than the impression gained by the ERO from enquiries they have received by phone from some parents.

    Clearly Dr Stoop’s doctorate isn’t in statistics, nor indeed any discipline where well-grounded research is valued.

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  20. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    annie – Dr Stoop is try to ensure parents don’t select a school by decile, as deciles are not an indication of quality.

    The quality of a school is described in its ERO report.

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  21. annie (533 comments) says:

    Hamnida. I know. Why would you think I didn’t?

    My complaint is about Dr Stoop’s arrogant parents-can’t-be-trusted-with-the-facts approach. He’s made a politically correct decision based on evidence that would embarrass an ethical academic.

    And lets face it, the decile rating does tell you something about a school’s catchment. The rest of the ERO report, to which the decile rating was attached, goes on to tell you how pupils are achieving. Both are relevant.

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  22. Viking2 (10,713 comments) says:

    Yep, tywo schools close to me. One high decile and one a lot lower. High decile area is full of wanna be’s who either rent the house or barely survive the mortgae without 3 jobs. Low decile is right plumb smack in the middle of an area populated with golden oldies.
    Guess which gets the most funds. Has the swimming pool, school hall, nice grounds and a not so crowded school with dedicated teachers. The lower decile one. And the kids are nicer, have a big range of ethnicities, have parents who walk their kids to school and home again whereas the others fucking clog up the main rd with their Remuera tractors.

    and even better its right in the middle of the village as oppossed to being on the wrong side of the main rd.

    Decile rating means shit when it comes to quality.

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  23. bc (1,251 comments) says:

    campit @ 4.01
    Yes you are looking at the wrong place. NCEA pass rates, UE pass rates etc for secondary schools are publicly available.

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  24. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    It’s about teaching, learning, school community, achievement and leadership.

    Deciles are a worthless indicator.

    As a parent, you take the time to read ERO reports, not take a quick glance at a number.

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  25. Grant (382 comments) says:

    Hanimex said:

    “Decile ten schools are full of rich little snobs.

    Lower decile schools create well rounded real Kiwi kids.”

    Are you serious, or the world’s most transparent troll?

    What a twat.
    G

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  26. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    The facts are so, haven’t you seen the way private school kids speak.

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  27. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (759 comments) says:

    *Cough* http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/

    *cough cough* http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/find-a-school

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  28. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    ***as deciles are not an indication of quality. ***

    This may be true in terms of the teaching and facilities, but it does have relevance to the student composition. If you have a child who isn’t particularly academic and “at risk” of falling in with a bad crowd or gang, then the chances are much higher in a low decile school.

    On the other hand, a child who is relatively academic and motivated will do well pretty much anywhere.

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