The Herald editorial:
You would think everyone involved with education would be gladdened by the second year of national standards results for primary and intermediate schools released yesterday. They show a slight improvement in all three essential subjects: reading, writing and mathematics.
You would think everyone in education would find the results useful, particularly as they have not been presented in a way that permits ready comparisons of different schools, which was the concern of many educationists when national standards were first mooted. But two years on, leading figures in the field still seem determined to discredit them.
The public has grown tired of criticism of the Government’s efforts to do what the profession should have done long ago.
Professor Thrupp leads a project called “Rains”, an apt acronym perhaps, that stands for research, analysis and insight into national standards. Six schools have been studied and they showed, he says, “extreme variability in processes underlying national standards judgments. For instance, schools are on different trajectories around the national standards related to their diverse contexts and past practices …”
That is the jargon of minds looking for problems where none need exist.
Teachers and schools will never be perfectly consistent in their testing and marking but with professional guidance they can be consistent enough to provide their pupils and the paymasters with useful measures of the education system’s performance. That is what the Government was seeking. Now, with two years of figures to compare, the minister can begin to act on the results.
Exactly. The reason we have national standards is simply to allow the Government to identify areas and schools where achievement is not at the level it should be, and provide greater assistance to those schools.Tags: editorials, national standards, NZ Herald