Test kids when they enter school

July 6th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Children whose knowledge isn’t up to scratch when they start school should be tested so the funding they require can be measured, a new report on says.

Children in poverty “do not leave their daily life circumstances at the school gate”, says John O’Neill, author of the latest report from independent charity The Child Poverty Action Group.

I agree. But considering the primary teachers union is against even national standards, I can’t imagine they’d ever go along with testing all five year olds. But I say it is essential you do know their capacity when they start school.

Teachers could already identify students with learning problems – the challenge was getting the funding to help fix it, Post Primary Teachers’ Association president Angela Roberts said.

“The thing we like about decile funding is that it acknowledges some require greater resources than others.”

But taking a step back and reassessing how much it cost to educate a child and then adding in all their other needs would be a better funding system, she said. “Funding is about the needs of a kid, not the location of a school.”

I agree. The decile system is a blunt tool. It would be preferable to individually assess each pupil, and have funding dependent on what their needs are.

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25 Responses to “Test kids when they enter school”

  1. rouppe (940 comments) says:

    Isn’t that what national standards is supposed to do?

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  2. freemark (509 comments) says:

    Sounds a lot like a voucher system to me, individualised to the child’s attainment so far.
    Brilliant, bring it on…

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  3. doggone7 (751 comments) says:

    “But I say it is essential you do know their capacity when they start school.”

    Capacity? What’s “capacity” when it comes to kids? Do you mean potential? Do you mean the abilities they already have?

    Can kids be tested when they first arrive at school too find their “capacity?”

    I would suggest that all kids are already tested in a variety of ways when they arrive at school to find their abilities.

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  4. NK (1,124 comments) says:

    What freemark said – these are my thoughts entirely. Bring in vouchers; it seems the PPTA agree.

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  5. Harriet (4,614 comments) says:

    “…..Children in poverty “do not leave their daily life circumstances at the school gate”, says John O’Neill, author of the latest report from independent charity The Child Poverty Action Group….”

    ‘child poverty’ doesn’t include parents who are too lazy to teach the alphabet ect to their kids, as poverty is a matter of money – not basic parenting skills.

    Call it what it is ‘those kids who attend school who have extremely neglectful parents’.

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  6. alloytoo (463 comments) says:

    How can they want to test new entrants, but abandon national standards?

    “Funding is about the needs of a kid, not the location of a school.”

    This of course makes a lot of sense.

    yes, you probably will end up spending more in those lower income neighborhoods but at least the funding will be far more focused, and kids in higher deciles won’t be deprived by default.

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  7. flipper (3,819 comments) says:

    Those that have not already seen Mike (Fat Tony) Williams “King Dick” piece this morning (Sunday Herald), it is worth reading as yet another illustration of labours commitment to misconstruction, and even outright lies.

    Fat Tony claims that high decile schools receive “thousands of dollars more” in funding than the low decile schools. At best he may have misread the data. More probably, he had been persuaded by teacher unions to lie about a non-existent disparity. In fact, as the Ministry of Education web site makes clear, the reverse is true.

    But as you say, DPF, any primary entry testing would be presented as a means of keeping the “down trodden” down. When I started at “Intermediate” (more years ago than I care to remember) we were tested, and sorted accordingly. At High School the
    the screening was even tighter. Presumably it still occurs, but is probably PC’d. So, Yes. A testing regime for five (5) year olds would need careful crafting. But much good could result …….

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  8. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    It is so hard to argue against the obvious advantages of these home truths.

    But those that claim to have the best interests of the nation’s children at heart, such as the Primary Teachers Union, will find a way. To us parents of the children being processed through these institutions, we can not see the fantastical dangers and risks that these and other tests (eg national standards) create. In any other sphere of the real world we strive for the most accurate information so as to be able to make the most accurate decisions – our children’s education is no different.

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  9. boonman (3 comments) says:

    So I thought I’d point out that teachers actually assess students all the time, all through the year – not just at “national standards” time. One of the most important times to assess a kid is when they start school – otherwise how on earth are you going to know what to teach them?
    I will assume you were unaware of this because you haven’t talked to a teacher about how teaching works. Calling for a “test” for kids when they enter school proves just how ignorant you are choosing to be.
    I eagerly await your questions about teaching.

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  10. flipper (3,819 comments) says:

    Okay…I lost to my wife, a highly experienced (professional quals and admin experienced at highest level) ECE teacher of many, many years.

    She says the O’Neill theory sounds good, but in practice it is a load of bollocks.

    Ensuring that ALL pre schoolers get quality (not every pre school centre is good, and play groups are, with respect, approaching the rubbish grade) ECE.

    Testing, she says is unnecessary and simply bureaucratic money/time wasting. Move toward an “every child at three (3)” ECE start. And such a policy should be directed at getting more children into ECE, rather than more money into NZEI ECE members pockets. Much better idea.

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  11. Gulag1917 (792 comments) says:

    “It would be preferable to individually assess each pupil, and have funding dependent on what their needs are.”
    Parents are often to ready to leave all the education to the school. A cultural transformation is needed aka a work ethic.
    NCEA is a disaster.

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  12. simpleton1 (158 comments) says:

    I still recall to my surprise when I started school that some of (5 year old) boys did not use the toilets, and just openly displayed and sprayed.
    Also some of the girls just stayed in their seats and just went.

    Even then, I felt sorry/embarrassed for the kids, as I did strongly think that their parents could not care a less to have instructed the kids in some basics.

    I was too young to know how the teachers coped with this. Fortunately with in that week it seemed to be all sorted. I do believe that it was the head master that had an active part, behind the scenes that somehow did get these problems sorted.
    I do not know whether this was a regular problem, or only for my class, though I did hear of other types of incidents.

    Could be any number of reasons, why?; but not financial poverty. Both parents were “stay at home parents” so time was available, if so inclined to raise their children.

    In latter years, I recall one of those parents saying “he would not have a woman teacher telling his kid what to do.” and “no white teacher will tell his child what to do”.
    In those days of corporal punishment (at this school it was very rarely used and I believe parents were consulted) neither would any teacher be allowed to discipline his child, but he would do it himself at home, if he judged it to be right. I knew then that the kid would if it was so judged, would take a pounding, often enough I figured for all the wrong reasons such as shame to the family.

    The worst part is I can still see the inter-generational problems continuing. Only peer pressure from within their own families, neighbours and etc that can effect the change, to learn how to change things in their families.

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  13. Southern Raider (1,730 comments) says:

    Agee with flipper. Only way to solve parenting issues is to bypass the parents altogether and put more kids into ECE do when they get to primary school at least someone of intelligence may have had the opportunity to teach these kids something.

    Question has to be asked though why these people have kids when they don’t give a shit about them and their future.

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  14. doggone7 (751 comments) says:

    “But considering the primary teachers union is against even national standards, I can’t imagine they’d ever go along with testing all five year olds.”

    Is this comment ignorance, mischief-making, lack of intelligence or all of those?

    Kids go to school and are tested for their reading level. Is that incompatible with being against the national standards regime? Teachers do all sorts of testing and observing? Is that incompatible with being against the national standards regime?

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  15. freemark (509 comments) says:

    Hope you’re not a Teacher doggone7, as your last paragraph makes no sense at all.

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  16. Scott Chris (5,960 comments) says:

    It’s a no brainer. You have to test new entrants to assess what they know and to identify their learning needs.

    Amazes me that they don’t.

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  17. doggone7 (751 comments) says:

    freemark:

    If I were a teacher it would’ve made sense. Translation: Because teachers are against the national standards regime does that mean they shouldn’t test kids because they are against testing kids. They are not against testing kids. The notions are non-sequiturs.

    The Farrar comment, “… considering the primary teachers union is against even national standards, I can’t imagine they’d ever go along with testing all five year olds” is idiotic. It shows ignorance of what happens in the classrooms of five year olds and schools. Or he’s just writing nonsense for political ends to rouse some ignorant response.

    Scott Chris rose to the challenge with, “You have to test new entrants to assess what they know and to identify their learning needs.
    Amazes me that they don’t.” Amazed that they don’t? I am amazed that someone who obviously has not had kids at school and/or knows nothing about infant classes is silly enough to post such garbage. (Apologies to Scott Chris if you are being ironic by writing something ridiculous to show how stupid the notions presented are.)

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  18. BeaB (2,080 comments) says:

    Primary schools have made excuses for their incompetence for decades. Secondaries cannot do the same because in year 11 they have to front up to public accountability in NCEA – and in Y12 and again in Y13.
    On the other hand primaries have kids until Y8 and have no public accountability at all. In fact we know they send a disturbingly large percentage to high school unable to read, write or do maths at that level.
    If a kid doesn’t learn to read by the age of 8 they probably never will. Until primaries concentrate on ensuring every kid can read we will continue to turn out these expensively educated young people who are unfit for a modern workforce.
    Thank goodness for National who fight the unions for results while stupid Labour just keep flinging our money into entrenched failure.

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  19. freemark (509 comments) says:

    So are you saying doggone7 that teachers are already testing kids when they start school? So what are they comparing them against, or how do they know what is a reasonable (or average) level of reading, writing & maths skills if not against some kind of National Standard?
    And if they already are, why is some organisation buying into (or profiting from) the Poverty Myth trumpeting this as something new?
    Is this more Labour Party ground breaking Policy?

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  20. goldnkiwi (1,150 comments) says:

    My two cents worth is, grandson started school two weeks ago, his mother informed me on Friday that he has already gone up a reading level..

    He has been in E.C.E since birth pretty much, as both of his parents worked, he has continued to go even though his mother has stopped work to have 18month old number 2.

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  21. UrbanNeocolonialist (222 comments) says:

    If you want to improve education for failing kids don’t give extra money to schools/teachers, give it as a performance bonus to their parents as they are the primary problem in the first place.

    If kids improve (based on testing) they get a payout, give a small proportion to kids as in-school pocket money that can be spent on items in a catalogue (so parents can’t take it off them).

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  22. marcw (237 comments) says:

    We could assess all children at 3 yo, then assign them to a cell, in a big honeycomb type arrangement, distributed in hives. Then the queens would be in charge, the drones would do the work, and the hunnies would do the hivework to raise all the little individuals to produce a utopian community. Identical thinking socialist paradise for all.

    Hell, problem solved – parents not needed. What could go wrong. [satire off]

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  23. doggone7 (751 comments) says:

    freemark: “So are you saying doggone7 that teachers are already testing kids when they start school? So what are they comparing them against, or how do they know what is a reasonable (or average) level of reading, writing & maths skills if not against some kind of National Standard?
    And if they already are, why is some organisation buying into (or profiting from) the Poverty Myth trumpeting this as something new?
    Is this more Labour Party ground breaking Policy?”

    They know the levels in a range of ways using a range of approaches. goldnkiwi says her grandson has already “gone up a reading level.” Do you think this is through guesswork a teachers using or there are some type of measures used?
    My suggestion is that you as a taxpayer go to your local school and be reassured about what happens.

    There are plenty of myths about schooling as witnessed in this forum. I have not read the report of The Child Poverty Action Group to see what they’re on about and the how and why of changes to what already exists.

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  24. freemark (509 comments) says:

    doggone7 (630 comments) says:
    July 6th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I go to my daughter’s school when I’m able, which is not as often as I’d like. I do however get their reports every time, and I have a great indication of their progress from the National Standards – along with the teacher’s comment, my own observation of their reading, writing & maths (and music, gardening, Spanish, kapa haka, etc)
    I’m still not sure what you are saying though (apart from National Standards bad?)
    I’m interested, as I just can’t figure out what is going on with Education Policy from the Left.

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  25. doggone7 (751 comments) says:

    free mark: “… I just can’t figure out what is going on with Education Policy from the Left.”

    Figuring it out is not important.

    My contribution was to see that rubbish in the article, (“But considering the primary teachers union is against even national standards, I can’t imagine they’d ever go along with testing all five year olds’) did not go unchallenged.

    The debate doesn’t seem to be about figuring things out and making rational and true statements but saying what you can get away with and hoping others will jump on board without figuring things out too.

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