No room for complacency

December 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Kiwi students are falling behind the rest of the world in reading, maths and science, a global report has revealed.

New Zealand’s education ranking has fallen from seventh to 18th in science, from 12th to 23rd in maths, and from seventh to 13th in reading, according to a report released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development () last night.

Just over 4000 15-year-old Kiwi students took part in the assessment, which is done every three years.

Opposition MPs say students are falling behind because teachers are too busy filling in government forms to concentrate on teaching.

But Education Minister Hekia Parata pointed the finger at issues to which the study group has been exposed, including the bedding-in of a new curriculum, under-investment in teachers, and a poor culture of behaviour in some schools.

“This Government is addressing all of these long-standing issues,” she said.

The students measured by the report were in the education system from 2001 to 2012, which meant they had never been caught by the system, Parata said.

This should be a wake up call for those who resist change in the education system. Stagnation and decline is not acceptable. If you talk to secondary teachers, you’ll know that it is too late for them to do much with a student if they get to secondary school with inadequate literacy and numeracy schools.

We’ve had the bigotry of low expectations for too long, where the 15% tail are allowed to fail. Not everyone will be able to get good qualifications, but everyone must leave school with functional literacy and numeracy.

Tags: , , ,

69 Responses to “No room for complacency”

  1. iMP (2,315 comments) says:

    Isn’t this really about all the other CRAP fed into schools and taught to our kids.

    Some politicians with pruning shears please and bang that old drum “The 3 R.s”

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. YesWeDid (1,041 comments) says:

    ‘This should be a wake up call for those who resist change in the education system’

    The ‘change’ I’d like to see is a new minister of education.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 18 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. labrator (1,821 comments) says:

    Any minute now the PPTA will issue a press release saying “everything is fine” and “National sucks” to clear everything up.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Cunningham (828 comments) says:

    These children spent their first 4 or 5 years in the education system under a Labour government yet you don’t hear those pillacks mention that do you?

    YWD I do agree though. She is a liability.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    HekiaParata is making classroom sizes bigger drawing teachers away from personal involvement
    with too large classes and perpetuating failure.

    The last school she closed down was ruled illegal so she tried to circumvent the ruling to close the school down

    Criminal with the criminal intent on failing and dumbing down youth and should be disposed of asap.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. David in Chch (510 comments) says:

    Like most such studies, the devil is in the details, and grains of salt are required. The top 5 countries are all East Asian countries where the pressures on the children to succeed are immense. There is competition to get into the better high schools (there are no school zones), and from the high schools to the better universities. These children have little or no childhood. I prefer the balanced approach we have here.

    In addition, our results are similar to those for Australia and Canada.

    So yes, cause for concern, but let’s look at what needs to be done without throwing out the good parts of what we have.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. lilman (917 comments) says:

    Attended a parent/teachers evening and sat a listened to the staff after the night wound down,can only say I wasnt surprised.
    A bunch of middle-aged ,white labour voters,who hated and I do mean HATED the Government and anything the MOE were trying to implement.
    Without doubt the most anal bunch of bitchy left leaning fat arsed moles I have had the pleasure of meeting in a long time.
    I’m hoping my kids new school is a better fit for the new age.
    I’m not hopeful.

    P.S. Someone made and awesome chocolate cake though.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. virtualmark (1,512 comments) says:

    Some interesting analysis of this in the major UK papers (I know! Journo’s actually doing analysis!), where the UK students ranked even lower than the NZ students did.

    Their view is that the big movers in this new edition of the PISA report are the Asian economies like China (where they break Shanghai out as a separate entry!?), Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Singapore. Their analysis is that these Asian economies emphasis rote-learning and test preparation … so their students become very very good at taking standardised tests but aren’t necessarily well educated.

    They also point to the Asian economies focussing heavily on the teacher quality, over and above small class sizes.

    They also have some great arguments about whether UK students (insert NZ students here as a local equivalent) “just don’t work hard enough”. This largely seems to be in relation to Asian students finishing school each day and heading directly off to after-school tuition.

    First take-away from this is that while the NZEI/PPTA/etc will use this to bitch & moan about the Nat’s education policies I doubt very much that they would be comfortable – or able – to work under the Asian education systems that have risen to the top of this OECD study.

    Second take-away from this is that I’m not convinced that the Asian education systems this study lauds are actually churning out well-rounded and creative students. Having seen many Asian students via graduate recruiting processes the overall impression is that they’re book smart but not creative, adaptable or socially capable. (Note: There’s always individuals that dis-prove that generalisation).

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. BeaB (2,074 comments) says:

    Hekia has been steadfast in her commitment to raising educational standards against unrelenting criticism from the unions who keep on saying we are among the top systems in the world.
    Well, we are not. The unions are wrong. Hekia is right. Is there any chance at all the unions will start to support her?
    Of course not and that one-eyed president of the PPTA gabbled and babbled to try to blame everything and everyone except the teachers and the quality of teaching.
    Time now to get tough on primaries which is where the rot sets in.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. wreck1080 (3,787 comments) says:

    It is easy to identify kids with an attitude problem to education — usually inherited from dopey no hoper parents who have enough time to have huge families without taking responsibility for them.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. wreck1080 (3,787 comments) says:

    @virtualmark — you say what I believe too.

    The big advances in science do not usually originate from asian cultures.

    True breakthrough science requires technical skill and creativity. Bring these together in an individual and boom!!

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. MH (680 comments) says:

    Pimary schools with no men teachers in them at all.
    The NZRFU needs to take responsibility and subsidise men into this profession.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. virtualmark (1,512 comments) says:

    MH, why would it be the job of the NZRFU to do that?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Nick R (498 comments) says:

    DPF – This post makes no sense. It isn’t a matter of stagnation. The results show 15 year old students in 2013 performing worse than their predecessors did 3 years ago. It isn’t (just) a matter of kids in other countries doing better. Ours did worse.

    As far as resisting change goes – on the basis of these results, the net result of any changes made in the last 3 years has been to make matters worse. Maybe if there had been more resistance to change, the kids might have performed better.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. itstricky (1,684 comments) says:

    As far as resisting change goes – on the basis of these results, the net result of any changes made in the last 3 years has been to make matters worse. Maybe if there had been more resistance to change, the kids might have performed better.

    Quite right:

    Just over 4000 15-year-old Kiwi students took part in the assessment, which is done every three years.

    But Education Minister Hekia Parata pointed the finger at issues to which the study group has been exposed, including the bedding-in of a new curriculum, under-investment in teachers, and a poor culture of behaviour in some schools. (from 2001 to 2012)

    The study is for the last three years, not the last twelve.

    Is this not a direct criticism of the current Government?

    You can only continue to blame the previous Government for so long (DPF included, as that’s all he’s doing above) What’s she actually doing now to fix the 15%?

    Incidentally, the Stuff quotes above differ from the article now posted.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. MH (680 comments) says:

    So we can churn out decent blokes who can add up the score at the end of the game,and continue our world dominance in the sport before we end up with a degeneration of argumentative boys who think its OK to hack a player down from behind rather than a good manly cuff about the ears. To hold up the RWC as a Trophy rather than atrophy. Can a mere woman understand the three R’s let alone the 3 P’s of pace possession and….I think it was position,or the rules of Rugby Union,can I hear Dame Kiri one more time,MR Maestro,is there a good number tenor available?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. David in Chch (510 comments) says:

    Actually, NickR, if you had read or listened to any of the deeper analyses, this is a continuation of a trend that began in 2000. It is not new.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Nick R (498 comments) says:

    @ David in Christchurch. The trend may not be new but the Government has had 5 years to change it. How’s that going?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. itstricky (1,684 comments) says:

    Actually, NickR, if you had read or listened to any of the deeper analyses, this is a continuation of a trend that began in 2000. It is not new.

    If so, the current Government has been in power for just about half of the years 2000-2012. Obviously they’re making a massive difference. Keep on blaming the past.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. itstricky (1,684 comments) says:

    You read my mind

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. The only red for me is that of Manchester United (54 comments) says:

    I have a mild interest in children’s literacy.* There was a report early this year that said children’s reading levels had increased, but the reading levels of Maori and Pasifkia had fallen. Dr Peter Sharples spoke on Radio Live about it. I emailed the Maori Party asking if I could be sent a copy (or a link) to the report. I never got a reply back.

    Reading levels in Maori and Pasifkia are behind, but for the rest of the population I wouldn’t be too worried. Teachers are the biggest union stirrers in the entire country. There are some good ones out there, but a lot who have given up. The report needs to be made public so greater scrutiny can been be given.

    * I’m not a teacher!

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. dime (9,611 comments) says:

    Hipkins seems to think teachers have become shit:

    @chrishipkins
    This govt have significantly cut funding for teacher professional development. And they wonder why student achievement is in decline…

    of course, more money is the answer!

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. itstricky (1,684 comments) says:

    Why not. Do you not see a direct correlation between teacher professional development and student outcomes? Or are you just averse to spending money on *anything* because it’s all *your* hard earned tax dollars etc etc etc

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Longknives (4,657 comments) says:

    “Kiwi students are falling behind the rest of the world in reading, maths and science,”

    Surely not a problem when we have the wonders of compulsory Te Reo and Kapu Haka to educate our kids?

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    If all science and mathematics are taught in Te Reo we’ll soon be leading the world.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. oob (194 comments) says:

    itstricky (723 comments) says:
    December 4th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    If so, the current Government has been in power for just about half of the years 2000-2012. Obviously they’re making a massive difference. Keep on blaming the past.

    Another successful product of the Labour Party’s education system, delivered to the Unionised workforce.

    12-4=6, apparently.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. itstricky (1,684 comments) says:

    Yes stuffed that up didn’t I. Quite right for mocking me on that. What I was meaning to convey was that a 15 year old would have had half their schooling under the current Government. The more important half apparently. Keeping on blaming the past, unions etc

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    The old chestnut of East Asian students not being creative needs to be laid to rest. I admire any young person who can arrive in NZ with English as a second language and thrive here. Most of the ones I’ve met are pretty good all-rounders: sporty, musical, mathematically literate and tri-lingual. Sure, the education system in Japan and S. Korea seems really full-on, but with high populations, the reality is that there are more candidates for university and top jobs than there are places…. kids can see from an early age that they’ve got to work if they want a good placement. I can’t see that its much different for students here in NZ if they want entry into restricted courses.
    And what’s so great about being creative? When I go to my dentist, doctor, vet or call in a plumber, electrician etc… I’m not interested in their creativity. I want to know that they’ve mastered their discipline and can apply their skills with minimum damage (to body and bank balance).

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Rightandleft (652 comments) says:

    So those on the right of course blame unionised teachers and those on the left blame the Government and their national Standards. I don’t think either are at fault here. Of course better professional development funding would be good but I really don’t think the cuts National has made there could have made our scores go down. These 15-year olds were never exposed to National Standards so how can they be at fault? Others seem to be blaming rising inequality but I can’t see that being the case either as inequality hasn’t been rising anywhere near the levels it did in the 80s and 90s.

    I think Parata is partly right. Since 2009 we’ve been bringing in the new Curriculum and aligning the assessment standards to it, making significant changes to teaching methods in some subjects. The changes may be positive in the long-term but disruptive in the short-term.

    But more importantly we need to look at how PISA is assessed. As others have pointed out it can be biased towards systems more focussed on rote-learning and test-taking. The East Asians in particular are known for those types of systems. Changes to our system have taken us away from that approach, putting more emphasis on internal assessments over exams. It makes sense that such changes could hurt us on PISA even as they provide our students with better outcomes in the real world, where mastering a standardised test isn’t really a useful skill.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. UglyTruth (4,550 comments) says:

    … allowed to fail …

    Be thankful that the education system allows your young persons to score above average, citizen.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Less schools mean more teachers for bigger numbers

    That’s sound math

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘Be thankful that the education system allows your young persons to score above average, citizen.’

    People aren’t citizens any more, they Consumers

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    @ Right & Left… I was a PISA marker some years ago…. unless something has changed, I can assure you the tests are really well designed for checking student understanding of topics. They are much more like a general knowledge/ logic test than something that can be passed by rote-learning.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Ross12 (1,235 comments) says:

    I see Hipkins is coming out with the great list of excuses , as expected.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Dazzaman (1,130 comments) says:

    New Zealander’s are rapidly churning out trash in their homes, or wherever many kids are being dragged up. Any measurement will only be on a downward trend regardless of the schemes & plans of the Ministry of Education, either left or right.

    The abundance of black t-shirt wearing, skooter/skateboard riding, Holden/Ford loving trash is astounding…..the accompanying lack of morals, manners & entitlement is a brick wall to any rise in standards of achievement.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. BeaB (2,074 comments) says:

    When I look at Asian students I know, in China and elsewhere, I am impressed with their breadth of activities and interests – from violin to soccer.
    It is a tired old union excuse to say NZ students may not do as well academically but they are much more rounded and our schools have a much richer curriculum.
    It doesn’t seem to be doing anyone much good if we are turning out lots of kids who are sub-literate and sub-numerate but had a great time on pet days.

    When primary schools can manage in EIGHT years to prepare EVERY child for high school studies they can faff about with other stuff.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “When I look at Asian students I know, in China and elsewhere, I am impressed with their breadth of activities and interests – from violin to soccer.’

    An American student I met called NZ students lazy with cirriculums far too small and easy.

    Is this why foreign students pay more to study here?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. somewhatthoughtful (455 comments) says:

    For a statistician your interpretations of statistics are always amusing.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. thor42 (964 comments) says:

    @wikiriwhis business –
    “An American student I met called NZ students lazy with cirriculums far too small and easy. ”

    I’ve heard that comment too, but from children of other countries.

    The general theme is that for any given year of our curriculum, it is about 2-3 years behind what is taught in country “x”.

    In other words, our curriculum has been “dumbed down” compared to that of other countries. No surprise there.

    I actually don’t think the answer is *difficult*.
    Back to basics. Times-tables and teaching reading via phonics.
    Those two things would go a long way towards fixing things.

    Some geography wouldn’t go amiss either. In a recent study, I was horrified by the number of children who were unable to correctly show where Auckland and Christchurch are on a map. That is *abysmal*.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    I recently heard of a woman who was a secondary mathematics teacher in Hong Kong, now resident in NZ, but unable to teach in NZ as she wasn’t NZ qualified. Can this be correct?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    My experience of New Zealand teachers falls into two categories.

    First, my son went as a boarder to St Pat’s at Silverstream, in the Hutt. Impression? Excellent school. First class teaching staff. No complaints from son or I. Ten out of Ten.

    I served in NZ Force in Singapore where there was a school staffed by NZ teachers. Whilst not having any children at that school i nevertheless got to know a lot of the staff socially. Socially, nice people all. But what a way to run a school!! The staff were clearly enjoying the perks of the job in Singapore and – boy – did this show in the way the school appeared to be run. I guess the pupils had a look at a schoolbook occasionally, but to the outsider it looked like one long games/external activity period!! Three out of Ten.

    I think its time NZ teachers forgot this ‘broad development of the child’s character’ malarkey, and instead got on with Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmatic. The broader development of a child’s character and personality and outside interests is the parents’ job. These children are going into a World where Asian children will be able to run rings round many of them academically.

    Oh! But I forgot! Exam success isn’t really all that important is it!

    Well, I had to sit and pass extra UK GCE subjects in my 20s to qualify for the job i wanted, so don’t tell me academic achievement isn’t the be-all and end-all of education.

    Rant over!!

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. washo (1 comment) says:

    NCEA has pretty much ruined any sort of work ethic foe senior students. Resubmission anyone? Or will you just wait till the Reassessment?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    I was trying to explain electromagnetic induction to my Yr 12 (6th form) Physics class. A recent arrival from Mainland China put his hand up and said that my explanation was not very “beautiful”. I asked him what he meant, so he came to the front of the room and started writing a mass of symbols on the blackboard. I told him that the yr12 class had not yet encountered calculus in maths and wouldn’t be able to follow his working for at least another year, or maybe not until 1st yr Uni. He just looked at me in astonishment and said NO.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. BeaB (2,074 comments) says:

    Wiki
    Don’t delude yourself. If we didn’t speak English, international students would be few and far between.

    I’ll say it again. The rot sets in during the eight years of primary school when literacy and numeracy must be paramount and the teaching relentless or else too many kids are doomed to failure.

    Let’s forget all the excuses. We know what a good teacher looks like and every child deserves one every year. A good teacher can overcome just about every disadvantage and make sure every kid gets the best start in life.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. thor42 (964 comments) says:

    @Maggy Wassilieff – “I told him that the yr12 class had not yet encountered calculus in maths…”

    Amazing! That seems to be proof of the dumbing-down of the curriculum.

    I went to high school from 1975 to 1979. I was in the sixth form (now called “year 12″, I believe) in 1978, and I definitely remember calculus being taught *then*.

    Since that time, they must have decided that it was “too hard for the poor dears in year 12.” Most of it was ok, but “trig substitutions” still make my brain hurt…… :)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. doggone7 (747 comments) says:

    The only red for me is that of Manchester United; “The report needs to be made public so greater scrutiny can been be given.”

    Two of the books are over 500 pages long. Go to the OECD website. http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/asian-countries-top-oecd-s-latest-pisa-survey-on-state-of-global-education.htm

    You will find many interesting things in there including some positive comments about high achieving New Zealanders. We read the dramatic headlines but have to search to see pertinent background stuff.

    In our press we’re unlikely to see details from the reports like: Andreas Schleicher, deputy education director of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), revealing the finding that the UK demonstrates that increasing school choice and competition does not improve standards.

    “My organisation [the OECD] is very strong on choice, enabling citizens to make choices, and you would expect that systems with greater choice would come out better,” he said.

    “You expect competition to raise performance of the high performers and with low performers put them out of the market.
    “But in fact you don’t see that correlation… Competition alone is not a predictor for better outcomes.
    “The UK is a good example – it has a highly competitive school system but it is still only an average performer.”

    Sort of symbolic reading that on the day John Banks of Charter Schools fame gives notice of ending his very average performance.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. David in Chch (510 comments) says:

    Where are you Maggy? I would welcome the chance to come and explain EM induction to your students. I finally worked out how to do it with my math-phobic students. lol

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. David in Chch (510 comments) says:

    Actually doggone, the Chinese system is EXTREMELY competitive. As are the other systems that made the top 5. His comments about choice and competition are, I think, misplaced.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    @David in ChCH…. thanks for the offer.,… I got out of teaching just as NCEA came on the scene…. I don’t think I did a miserable job of conveying Physics concepts as we did a lot of experimental stuff and some of that class now have PhDs and MScs. Its just that like Thor 42 I had a more balanced maths-physics education in the late 1960s….. tho’ even then I remember a Malaysian student arriving in our 7th form maths class and blowing us all out of the water.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. doggone7 (747 comments) says:

    David in Chch

    I accept the comments about competition in Asia, I know about that.
    “You expect competition to raise performance of the high performers and with low performers put them out of the market.
    But in fact you don’t see that correlation… Competition alone is not a predictor for better outcomes” are obviously observations from his experience and exposure to various systems in a range of environments.

    The relevance to our situation is to the John Banks/ACT school of thought which says that competition is the answer to everything. I believe in competition knowing of positive advantages but it is not the answer to everything. Would the disadvantages in open choice totally competitive systems be less or more than the disadvantages caused by the present organisational patterns?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Tom Jackson (2,479 comments) says:

    It would be nice if there was any real evidence if why this happened.

    If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that social media is to blame – it ruins kids’ minds.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    Wearing one of my other hats, as a BoT member, for a secondary school, I find some of this fascinating and worrying. I am particularly interested in science education. The jury is still out in National Standards, but measurability and comparability are vital to understanding of where we are and what we need to fix.

    The Brits are turning themselves out about their Pisa results and there is some great data analysis in the (UK) MSM that directs the results.

    Many school here are in a no-win situation over NCEA – as students are voting with their feet if a subject is perceived as being too hard. Its designed for the NZ tertiary sector and many of our undergrads seem to have no problems footing it in the big wide world or getting postgrad spots overseas. But let’s not kid ourselves, there is no substitute for hard work – and many of the interns in our hospitals are the sons & daughters of recent migrants. Based on recent experience of dealing with elderly relatives, they are uniformly nice kids, hard working and conscientious.

    The first part of the NZ Institute study is interesting. Put simply, the only reliable pointer to better outcomes is good teaching. In this regard the teacher unions and the NZ Institute are cautiously aligned. The elephant in the room is performance pay.

    Despite the political posturing, this is a work in progress – with the underlying concern that successive govts not bewilder the audience with huge windshifts based on political allegiance rather than hard analysis. There is a seachange and more people choosing the sciences – but early days yet. Ironically given my handle, we need to stop sending so many bright kids to Law School (and we have too many of them). The more productive economies seem to have a far greater proportion of engineering and science grads.

    And of course we need to find ways to make teaching a worthwhile career for more of our good grads.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. bc (1,344 comments) says:

    I see DPF is now talking about a 15% tail. What has happened to Hekia’s “1 in 5″ she keeps banging on about? I notice she was still using that “statistic” endlessly today in the desperate hope that if she keeps saying it enough, then people will start believing it. Either than or she is incapable of having another thought. Hard to say which one it is!

    Anyway, assuming the 15% statistic is now the correct one, maybe it is time to tell Hekia than 1 in 7 should now be her new catchphrase.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    What is perhaps more troubling are the figures for what was once the ‘glorious’ US of A. She is consistently below average overall; no child left behind? it seems they abandoned the children altogether.

    I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords.
    :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. bc (1,344 comments) says:

    Some interesting thoughts ACL @ 11.19pm.

    I agree with your last sentence. It’s a shame that this government seems to be doing everything they can NOT to make teaching a worthwhile career for the up and comers
    - the standard 1% pay rise for public sector workers. Yay a 1% pay rise – that will attract them!
    - endless paperwork, report writing, assessing and reassessing. Yay bureaucracy – that will attract them!
    - a minister that is not only borderline incompetent, but who constantly puts down the profession. Yay not feeling valued – that will attract them!

    I bet if you talked to any high school student (who see burnt out, demoralised teachers every day) and suggested they take up the profession, their reaction would be pretty easy to guess.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. bc (1,344 comments) says:

    Yes it’s interesting isn’t it Tautaioleua – National seem hell-bent on following the failed models of the USA and the UK (constant assessing and data gathering, charter schools).

    I am genuinely interested in why they want to do this.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    bc,

    I’m of the view that more data can only be a good thing? if parents know early on that their children are average or below average, surely they’d want to encourage more of the good things? like homework, reading for leisure, caps on gaming and the internet, etc.

    All too often, parents only discover things like “your child is below average” at intermediate or high school when it is arguably a little too late. Early intervention should start at primary school.

    Interestingly, Labour introduced NCEA in 2002 (a year after this study started), and universities said only last week that it was producing a generation of students who are simply unprepared for tertiary education. All major universities in NZ experienced a drop in their international ranking in recent years (and they weren’t flash to begin with either – Auckland is around the 120 mark from the top of my head).

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    There are a couple of points I should have made but didn’t. First, hat tip to the real science educator in this thread, Dr W. We need more of her ilk.

    Secondly, as a BoT member of a decile 10 school whose other hats include working with not-for-profits in the community, the charter schools initiative is bleeding obvious. For a slice of the population, what we have been doing isn’t working and hasn’t worked for some time. We now have 3rd generation unemployed – and to break that cycle something different has to happen. There are a few educators working in this space for love not money. The rest will need to be paid – and I am all for something that might make that difference. I can’t see it being for more than a few – and its gotta work.

    And the stuff about the Minister is tiresome. Any centre right politician in that space is cannon fodder. You would have to be made of stern stuff to even get out of bed and face a barrage of negative carping. No-one is right all the time, and to err is human. But to have to deal with that portfolio plus the re-shaping that must happen as the population loads change plus Chch schools – try stepping in her shoes.

    And we all need good teachers. The stuff I hear about the paper war is mixed. I would like to get rid of some of the admin from my day job too – but it won’t happen anytime soon. Some of that admin helps them become better teachers and some just goes with the territory. Its called working for a living.

    Good teachers are gold – and those who are willing to lift their game to help their students are in the majority. Sure there are a few who picked the wrong career. As there were when I was a school pupil many years ago. Enough

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    Simple: the current NZ curriculum is obsessed with Values and Key Competencies, rather than knowledge and thinking. It used to be “What type of rock is this and how was it formed?” now it is “How do you feel about this rock, is it sustainable and how would other cultures value it?”

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Gulag1917 (772 comments) says:

    Scrap NCEA.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Our curriculum (primary school level) allows kids to learn maori (useless), learn how to make cookies (also fucking useless), learn how to sing “Kumbaya My Lord” for a whole hour or so (useless), and other bunch of non-essential learning topics which could be taught at home by parents (whether they’re educated or uneducated). The kid’s precious time for learning knowledge that cant be taught at home is wasted on teaching them trivial useless things I listed above. It’s time for the curriculum to be overhauled. Scrap the bullshit non-core subjects or topics from the curriculum and let teachers teach knowledge to children rather than wasting time on teaching bullsh*t useless topics.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua said…
    Auckland is around the 120 mark from the top of my head

    Auckland came in at 161 in University world ranking for 2012/2013:

    NZ Unis plunge down world rankings

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. david (2,548 comments) says:

    For those lauding the Asian system of intense competition just put the suicide stats alongside the educational stats before you decide that it is the bees knees.

    My daughter attended a Foreign School in Korea (US curriculum) and came directly to University in NZ. She was able to coast for the first 1-2 years as she had covered most of the stuff in both sides of her conjoint degree choice. Yes it was a stiff educational environment with clear objectives of getting students prepared and able to gain admission to prestigious US Universities (Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth Yale and Harvard being prominent among the destinations of her classmates). But for all that they offered a broad education with drama, sports etc offered.

    As a very wealthy school they were able to demand extraordinary results from their teachers as they were able to recruit outstanding teachers. It wasn’t a matter of just paying teachers more but of better recruitment backed up by the ability to attract the best.

    Of course my daughter is an extraordinarily bright and intelligent woman as well.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. david (2,548 comments) says:

    C’mon FF 8:26am, stop beating round the bush and tell us what you really think !!!! HEH

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Dave Mann (1,184 comments) says:

    To me the whole education ethos in NZ seems to be rotten. I know two trachers quite well, a primary and a secondary teacher. The primary teacher seems to think (judging by our conversations) that ‘children learn at different rates’ and her job is to just be a child-minder who is there as some kind of facilitator in the unlikely event that a child suddenly becomes obsessed with learning.

    The secondary teacher was telling me the other day that she doesn’t know how long she can stand the stress because her salary and career prospects depend on how many ‘excellences’ (I think that was the word used) there are in her class. This means that either she has to falsely upgrade the stupid, lazy and unmotivated students to raise her average, or concentrate all her efforts on these to the detriment of everybody else in the class.

    I am old, OK, I admit it. People are no longer allowed to call a stupid, lazy or unmotivated student stupid, lazy or unmotivated. Teachers have to (or maybe choose to) dress it up in fancy jargon and they have, it seems, almost zero hope of changing anything because the concept of discipline has almost completely vanished in our schools.

    We had better wake up. And we shouldn’t rely on our being an english speaking country to fill in for our educational stuff-ups, because soon (and I mean *soon*) the world will value Mandarin Chinese more than english.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    @ Falafulu Fisi… I’m fairly relaxed about surplus non-core stuff in the school curriculum AS LONG AS the key competencies of language and mathematics are taught well and mastered by the pupils. .For my daughters I was happy if they were happy at school, because I knew the husband and I could fill in any gaps with their language, maths and sciences….. they were on their own with music, art, dance etc. I know its a bit of a bugger (or an act of faith) for parents who don’t feel so confident about their language/maths/science skills, and its a mine-field trying to interpret the education jargon that goes along with the curriculum. But if your kids aren’t happy at school, then you’ve got a problem…. their learning is bound to suffer.
    I’m not a sporty fan and was pretty apprehensive when I got my first teaching job at a rugby-mad boys’ school (well known to the host of this blog),… but if rugby, soccer, cricket, break-dancing etc was the prime reason those kids turned up to my class, then I figured I could hook them on to science with my brilliant personality and a few explosions or chats on the sex-life of earth-worms.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. Paulus (2,546 comments) says:

    NCEA in its present format should be twigged in that there is no internal marking – teacher’s pets, and ALL children should be marked by exam.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. doggone7 (747 comments) says:

    Akld Commercial Lawyer: “.. the only reliable pointer to better outcomes is good teaching.” That’s why Dio, Kings etc. have the better outcomes?

    Dave Mann: A primary teacher can call kids stupid, lazy or unmotivated if they are not getting it, but the fact is some will get it (what they want them to get) and some won’t. Your primary teacher acquaintance is right “children learn at different rates’ and beating some kid up (metaphorically of course) for not getting ‘it’ might not be wise. All of sudden, 18 months or two years later ‘it’ clicks and the world hasn’t ended in the interim.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. Maggy Wassilieff (310 comments) says:

    Just heard Jim Mora on Nat Radio reading out a comment from a listener that Asian students did well on PISA tests because they’re rote-learners and not conceptual thinkers (or words to that effect). This is a misconception that is being repeated endlessly. As I stated yesterday PISA tests aren’t fact-regurgitation tests…… they’re well designed to check whether 15 year-old students can understand the information they are provided with and then apply that information to solving a problem.
    Some examples on this link:
    http://pisa-sq.acer.edu.au/

    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.