Dom Post on National Standards

June 20th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

The time has come for teacher unions to accept that in reading, writing and mathematics are here to stay.

Parents clearly want plain-English reports about how their children are progressing in the three most important building blocks for a sound education, and the policy has been overwhelmingly endorsed at the last two elections.

It is therefore in teachers’ interests to work with the Ministry of Education to ensure a sound system of assessment and data collection. Sadly, the signs this week are that teacher unions and representatives will continue cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

One of the strongest arguments teachers have advanced against the standards is that there is a lack of consistency in the way they are applied and insufficient moderation at a national level. It is therefore difficult to judge, on the raw data, how well one school, or even pupils within the same school but with different teachers, are performing compared to others.

That is a valid concern, and one that the ministry has always acknowledged would need to be addressed as national standards were bedded in. Its solution is an online tool designed to assist teachers to make more reliable and consistent assessments, thereby giving more confidence in the integrity of results. Known as the Progress and Consistency Tool, or PaCT, it is being trialled this year and will be compulsory from 2015.

Given the fears teachers hold about the inconsistency of national standards results and the lack of moderation, the public could be forgiven for thinking they would fully support the introduction of the tool. Instead, the primary teachers union , the Principals’ Federation, the Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools and the Catholic Principals’ Association have called on school boards and teachers to boycott PaCT.

It’s the solution to the very thing they have been complaining about – and their response is to boycott it. It’s appalling.

They say because the system requires them to judge national standards by working through tick boxes of achievements to generate a result, it will undermine their professionalism and reduce quality teaching.

The claims are ridiculous. Ensuring consistent assessment in reading, writing and mathematics across schools will have no impact on how individual teachers seek to inspire, guide and educate their charges. All it will mean is that when an 8-year-old boy at a decile 1 Auckland school and an 8-year-old girl at a decile 10 Wellington school are assessed as being above the standard for reading, there is a much greater degree of confidence that the results are accurate.

If I was a primary school teacher I’d be embarrassed by having a union that is so hostile to consistent assessment.

Maybe the Government should play the same game as the NZEI, and remove it from every working group on educational policy in the country? They’ll get to represent their members on pay negotiations, but why should they be treated as a professional body on other issues when they so clearly are not?

If teachers fear the information being released is inaccurate, then the answer is to work with the Government to make sure the system in place is as robust, reliable and fair as possible

Most teachers are doing that. But the union activists are doing everything possible to stop this.

Tags: , , ,

23 Responses to “Dom Post on National Standards”

  1. jcuk (501 comments) says:

    If I was a teacher I would be embarrased at having to belong to such a collection of f-wits.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Redbaiter (6,463 comments) says:

    “Maybe the Government should play the same game as the NZEI, and remove it from every working group on educational policy in the country? ”

    Should have done it decades ago.

    Now the only alternative is to fully privatise education.

    There is no good reason governments should be in the education business.

    That has only allowed the education system to become the plaything of left wing extremists.

    Long past time this crippling impediment to the development of our culture and civilisation and prosperity was rectified.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. In Vino Veritas (136 comments) says:

    The issue with the Unions is that they can see that data will be able to be used to identify dud teachers. As each cohort goes through the school, if there is a consistent dip in performance of a discipline under the same teacher, bammo, identified and given a hurry along. The school on who’s board I sat, has had this sort of info for years, and it was blindingly obvious from the data, after a couple of years, which teachers were letting the students down.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. flipper (3,261 comments) says:

    Bring on the proposed new professional standards/registration organisation…. and do it BEFORE 2014.

    Oh…by the way, time to extend Jamie L-Ross’s private members bill to cover teaching, nd their unions.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Fisiani (848 comments) says:

    Teacher unions are nowt but Labour hacks resistant to educational progress.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. burt (7,083 comments) says:

    You are all missing the point – Schools exist for the advancement of union membership numbers which enables unions to donate to the Labour party so they get more union friendly policy which helps them increase union membership numbers….

    These things called students and parents… they have nothing to do with union membership numbers – stop worrying about them.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Kiwi Dave (45 comments) says:

    One of the minor frustrations of secondary teaching when I was in the job some years ago was to encounter third form parents at report evenings who couldn’t understand how their child could have done well in mathematics and English according to seven years of primary and intermediate school reports but were suddenly doing markedly less well according to their first secondary report, even allowing for the euphemistic and positive spin we had to put on bad results.

    Whereas we teachers saw children arriving with huge gaps between their performance and the standards required if they were to have any hope in national tests, the parents saw secondary teachers as failing to teach their children.

    Red, just how uninvolved do you want the government to be in education? I think there’s a good case for requiring a core national curriculum, national testing, and minimum national standards in school and teacher performance. These require some government involvement, in my opinion. And educational policies won’t work well if they ignore the practical realities of schooling, something in which teachers and school administrators do have considerable experience.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. alloytoo (337 comments) says:

    The headmaster of my child’s primary school commented that national standards had the pleasing result of getting parents more involved in underperforming students.

    Of course this is a decile 10 school, your milage may vary elsewhere.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Harriet (4,001 comments) says:

    Education is the progressive discovery of our own ignorance. :cool:

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Redbaiter (6,463 comments) says:

    “Red, just how uninvolved do you want the government to be in education?”

    As it once was. No involvement at all.

    Let the market rule.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. doggone7 (486 comments) says:

    The next Dom Post editorial

    “The time has come for everyone to accept that poverty and child abuse are here to stay. People clearly want plain-English reports about how their children are suffering but the policy has been overwhelmingly endorsed at the last two elections.

    It is therefore in everyones interests to work with the Government to ensure a sound system of assessment and data collection of the situation…”

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. doggone7 (486 comments) says:

    So Kiwi Dave, Red wants no involvement and you want, like many others, a North Korean approach. What do we do?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Sometimes I do wonder why dishonest people don’t make their lies a little more convincing.

    I mean, in this instance any reasonable person can now clearly see that the unions are not taking the stances they are for teaching quality.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    doggone7: the answer is:
    1. Government sets minimum standards that schools are expected to teach to. I’m talking the sort of standards that would fit on one page.
    2. Government gives vouchers to all parents with school age children.
    3. Parents use vouchers (and any additional money they care to pay) to purchase private education of their choice.
    4. Government sets an exam at set periods to make sure basic standards of education are met.
    5. Government also sets reporting requirements on schools, so that parents are by-law kept informed of their child’s progress.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Paulus (2,289 comments) says:

    There are many very good Teachers. Probably more than bad ones (who are dreadful).
    Therefore legislate to allow Teachers to pay Union fees directly themselves to the Unions, if they wish, and not through the Pay schemes which deduct fees and pay the Unions on each Teachers behalf.
    Jamie Lee-Ross’s bill has the opportunity.
    Now is the time to stop this nonsense finally and simply.
    The only people to object will be the Unions and their junior partners Labour, and Greenpeace of course, and Winston for good measure because he will do anything to try and upset National irrespective of its virtue.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. doggone7 (486 comments) says:

    scrubone:

    Explain how “Government sets minimum standards that schools are expected to teach to… the sort of standards that would fit on one page” works.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. dave (985 comments) says:

    National Standards were designed with assessment validity at the forefront. As validity is all over the place it is obvious that NS is badly designed. The PacT tool is designed to fix this bad design. Its a bit like changing bald tyres on a car – replacing them with tyres with good tread – on badly designed car wheels which are actually shaped like a hexagon.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. doggone7 (486 comments) says:

    “Its a bit like changing bald tyres on a car – replacing them with tyres with good tread – on badly designed car wheels which are actually shaped like a hexagon.”

    … and what you were really after and needed in the first place was a boat!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Did anyone see the Campbell Live segment about the St Peters senior boys coming to the St Theresa school to help the primary kids with their reading?

    Aren’t these effectively unregistered teachers? Isn’t this an example of how that actually works for the benefit of everyone…?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Kiwi Dave (45 comments) says:

    “So Kiwi Dave, Red wants no involvement and you want, like many others, a North Korean approach.”

    No. Your false binary is beyond stupid.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    The problem is that NZEI is run by the PC brigade who think telling a child they are below standard will hurt their feelings so badly they’ll just give up. They really don’t want to be grading the children at all, just making sure everyone tries, since that’s how the real world works after all.

    Honestly as a secondary teacher it just annoys they hell out of me to see NZEI refusing to implement a policy to finally bring some much needed moderation to the NS. We have to deal with NCEA so I really have no sympathy for their complaints about having National Standards.

    rouppe,

    They are acting as teacher aides, not teachers and in fact more teacher aides really would be of huge benefit to the system.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. burt (7,083 comments) says:

    rouppe

    Isn’t this an example of how that actually works for the benefit of everyone…?

    Well no – these people probably don’t pay union subs…. Please… don’t think this is about education for the teachers unions… it’s about money and power. Command and control…

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. doggone7 (486 comments) says:

    Redbaiter says There is no good reason governments should be in the education business.

    Kiwi Dave thinks there’s a case for a core national curriculum, national testing, and minimum national standards in school and teacher performance. A majority of bloggers on here (and some other sites) want the same and necessarily to achieve their aims will need those put into practice in a down-the-line manner. Prescribed programmes, delivered verbatim will see everyone on the same page so the right thing is being done everywhere. This will ensure that everyone is getting the same deal. There cannot be room for personal interpretation, no room for movement. If there is some kids may miss out. Testing will see who has passed, who has failed, both students and teachers. It takes teacher decision-making, personal judgement and attitude out of the process. I’d call it a North Korean level of government control.

    Kiwi Dave is obviously not so extreme as to take this notion to this logical limit like others, probably because he is a teacher.
    It might be beyond stupid to suggest he has that opinion. It is not beyond stupid to suggest those are outer limits common in the current debate about schooling.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.