Fewer students leaving school unqualified

February 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Hekia Parata announced:

The number of students leaving school with an Level 2 qualification has seen a significant increase across the board in 2013, says Minister Hekia Parata.

The provisional results for 2013 show that 76.8 per cent of students left school with at least NCEA Level 2, compared with just over 74.3 per cent in 2012.

That’s an increase of 10.3 percentage points since 2008.

10% more students leaving school with a basic qualification is a great result. Students who leave with no qualification have a very dim future. If you want to make a difference to poverty and inequality, then having fewer students leave school without NCEA Level 2 is an important step along the way.

The change for Maori and Pasifika students is pronounced:

  • Maori students achieving NCEA Level 2 has increased 14.2% from 44.4% to 58.6%
  • Pasifika students achieving NCEA Level 2 has increased 16.5% from 55.3% to 71.8%

Parata notes:

“Over the past five years we’ve focused on collecting data from across the whole education system so we can see how it’s performing at every level and where we need to target resources.

“It has helped us identify which students need what kind of support through programmes such as Pasifika Power Up, Youth Guarantee, Achievement 2013-17, and Trade Academies.

“As part of our Better Public Service Targets, we are focussed on 85 per cent of all 18 year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification in 2017. This target has encouraged schools and their communities to set their own targets and work towards achieving them.

Using data to target resources is sensible. Scary how so many people oppose the Government collecting any data on school and student achievement. Great to see so many schools successfully working to lift achievement rates.

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22 Responses to “Fewer students leaving school unqualified”

  1. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    If you want to make a difference to poverty and inequality, then having fewer students leave school without NCEA Level 2 is an important step along the way

    Yeah but that’s just too hard and time-consuming. Much easier for Labour, the Greens and Mana to keep increasing taxes on those who do study and work hard, and redistribute it to the politically-defined poor, i.e. their base.

    Kids leaving school without basic education is merely incidental to the Labour / Greens / Mana political strategy.

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  2. Harriet (5,200 comments) says:

    “…..10% more students leaving school with a basic qualification is a great result….”

    True…..but how beneficial is it to anyone?

    How many of these kids go on to getting jobs, what type of jobs, and how much further can they go in the workforce with them?

    That’s what is most important, as that tells us if the market place values these qualifications or not. It’s ok to have polytec value them….but then they would wouldn’t they?

    So far we have educators and National PR valueing them greatly……as would be expected but nothing new here……

    NCEA maybe just all show – employers may ignore them – and Polytec ect talk them up.

    I’d seriously consider Mr Craig asking for the Education portfolio. As Key doesn’t seem to have anyone else in mind. :cool:

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  3. Camryn (481 comments) says:

    It’s the same in public services as it is in business… if you don’t measure it, it won’t happen. Glad to see National proving its measurement approach is the right one… you wouldn’t think common sense needs proving, but it does.

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  4. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    Alas it is all smoke and mirrors – a bit like printing money really as more students achieve NCEA Level 2s they become less valuable – once upon a time a BA could almost guarantee you a good job now they are a dime a dozen and actually worth far less than a pass in school certificate was 50 years ago

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  5. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    Fairfield College is apparently best to steer clear of. Fraser High has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country. Can’t help wondering if the system is creating failure when parents in school districts can’t change their schooling zone to get their kids away from trouble schools. Parents actually have to change their location.

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  6. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    “It’s ok to have polytec value them”

    So level two is helping create student debt

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  7. Psycho Milt (2,423 comments) says:

    a bit like printing money really as more students achieve NCEA Level 2s they become less valuable…

    Yup. I’m picturing Parata celebrating as we finally make it to 100% of pupils achieving a qualification that’s by then worth exactly nothing.

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  8. Jack5 (5,278 comments) says:

    Andrei (10.26) is correct.

    NCEA parallels the view of no winners in school sports.

    You can’t define academic skills into existence.

    When our schools, typically madrassas of PC’ism, preach green wash, multiculturalism, kappa haka, feminism, “civics”, pacifism, safe sexual practices, general sexual morality, and the philosophy of non-religion, there is little time for traditional academic subjects such as arithmetic and geometry, English, other languages, introductory science, geography, and history.

    Before someone raises use of tablet and laptop computers for NCEA, I would like to know whether NCEA includes really useful digital-world subjects such as touch typing, basic programming, and introductory electronic circuits.

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  9. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    So all those Level 2 achievers went through primary before National Standards.

    “Using data to target resources is sensible.” – but not if you’re a NACT government who refuse to collect poverty or environmental data.

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  10. E. Campbell (91 comments) says:

    On the face of it, great news. But…despite this, in international rankings, we are falling further behind. How can this be, if more students are achieving our qualifications than ever before, but comparatively we are slipping? The same thing has been occurring in Britain when they were shocked they too had gone down in the PISA rankings. Their conclusion? The school system was suffering grade inflation. I suspect something akin to that is happening here with NCEA. I expect that when we reach the target of 85% leaving with NCEA Level 2, there will be a backlash against the system as being too easy and it’ll be a return to more rigour. There is something wrong with a system where credits earned learning to drive a forklift or scuba dive count the same (or more) as writing an analytical essay!

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  11. doggone7 (846 comments) says:

    If no-one learns to drive a forklift the world of those able to write analytical essays would come crashing down. Why shouldn’t a kid learning to drive a forklift be considered less important than one writing an analytical essay?

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  12. doggone7 (846 comments) says:

    Harriet; “I’d seriously consider Mr Craig asking for the Education portfolio. As Key doesn’t seem to have anyone else in mind.”

    Mr Craig for Education Minister? Because Key doesn’t have anyone in mind? Or because he is the guru with the ideas, experience and leadership in Education? Or are you simply intrigued by the idea of him asking for the portfolio with the same sort of intent as me asking Steve Hansen if I can be in the line up for the first test against England this year?

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  13. Bill Courtney (163 comments) says:

    “On the face of it, great news. But…despite this, in international rankings, we are falling further behind”

    Great point, E.Campbell.

    It was only a month or so ago that David Farrar was analysing the PISA 2012 results and saying that there was no room for complacency. He repeatedly says that there is no place anymore for those “resisting change” and that the reformers need to take over. But hang on a minute.

    The students who took part in PISA 2012 were aged 15 in that year and likely to be in, or very close to, NCEA Level 1. They did Level 2 in 2013. So, which set of results tells us more? Our predominantly internally assessed standards based NCEA or the internationally benchmarked PISA results?

    No single assessment system is always going to be more right than others but the two trends here are critically important.

    QPEC member Warwick Elley (Emeritus Professor at Canterbury University) has written an excellent analysis of the trends he has seen developing in the PISA results over several cycles now. His strong warning is that the combination of standards based assessment and publication of results by way of league tables is fatal.

    Everyone learns how to game the system (including Ministers of Education) to make their figures look better. But are the PISA results now really starting to bite and tell us something about NCEA? And, the future may be bleaker still with another standards based assessment system, National Standards, beginning to take effect at younger ages.

    As Einstein understood, not everything that can be counted counts; and not everything that counts can be counted.

    Beware the morbid business-like fascination with counting for its own sake. But are our kids learning what really counts?

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  14. E. Campbell (91 comments) says:

    @ doggone7

    My point is not that the forklift driving learning is any less important. It’s that they sit equal within the same NCEA qualification. The very diversity of NCEA and how credits are acquired in order to achieve it, is its inherent flaw. This is a problem as NCEA is our foundation school qualification. It’s also the reason why there are only set subjects that count at Level 3 for University Entrance.

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  15. doggone7 (846 comments) says:

    Bill Courtney “…Everyone learns how to game the system (including Ministers of Education) to make their figures look better…
    Beware the morbid business-like fascination with counting for its own sake. But are our kids learning what really counts?”

    What our kids learn does not really count. What really counts is what the figures look like.

    In the next few months the Minister of Education will be telling us how greatly improved the National Standards results are. She will effusively spout that all the hard work is paying off. Those who are pathologically opposed to teacher unions, teachers in general and our schooling system will praise Parata for her achievement and vote for John Key.

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  16. doggone7 (846 comments) says:

    E. Campbell
    I understand. Is the answer to make a list of different qualifications? To rank and rate subjects? Physics is the real McCoy in the Gold qualifications, Accounting on the Silver list, Art on the Bronze and Forklift Driving on the Steel? The ‘EA’ after all means Educational Achievement.

    I understand the need to have only set subjects at Level 3 for University Entrance and why Forklift Driving is not one of them.

    What is the solution to what you see as a problem? Arbitrary listing as I have done above? To me that’s a bit like saying when the All Blacks score a try they get five points but if someone in the Hoktika under nines scores, their try it is only worth two or three points.

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  17. HB (331 comments) says:

    Jack5

    http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/assessment/search.do?query=Digital+Technologies&view=all&level=01

    this link lists the standards available at Level 1 (Year 11 or 5th form)

    http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/assessment/search.do?query=Digital+Technologies&view=all&level=03

    lists the ones at Level 3 (Year 13, 7th form)

    I’m not quite sure what you are on about in your post but student numbers are highest in the ‘traditional’ academic subjects such as English, Statistics, Physics, History and much less in the ‘newer’ courses such as Gateway.
    The students who are enrolled in the less academic courses are usually the type of students who would have left school much younger in the old days and gone straight into a job or apprenticeship.

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  18. HB (331 comments) says:

    DPF ” Scary how so many people oppose the Government collecting any data on school and student achievement.”

    considering this post is about NCEA…. not sure where any high school teachers (or the PPTA) have said they are opposed to the collection of data?
    Who are these people who are opposed?

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  19. doggone7 (846 comments) says:

    HB; “Who are these people who are opposed?

    Exactly. It’s a garbage, non sequitur, irrational comment designed to appeal to those ignorant anti-teacher readers prepared to latch onto anything with a semblance of seeming to be pertinent.

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  20. Concerned (39 comments) says:

    Just a small point:

    An increase from 44.4% to 58.6% is an increase of 14.2 percentage POINTS. It is actually a 32% increase in Level 2 achievement.

    Either way, pretty impressive.

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  21. Muzza M (294 comments) says:

    Can someone tell me what was wrong with the old system. School Certificate, University Entrance, Sixth Form Certificate, A & B Bursary, Scholarship, and Higher School Certificate.

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  22. doggone7 (846 comments) says:

    Muzza M

    The world has changed. The old systems must have suited the the working world back then.

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