A guest post by Alwyn Poole:
A week or so back I talked about how the NZ system is creating a hole for boys within our own nation.
Latest data shows that our systems are failing a great many of our children vs the world. Even against Australia – where Muldoon could no longer say that someone shifting to Australia from NZ increases the IQ of both nations … and not just because he is dead.
Before commenting on the recent international release of Science and Math stats (TIMMS) and before I state the method of how easy it is to catch up to them (next post) – I should also comment that I enjoyed the interaction after listing some of the athletes I had studied and had the privilege of seeing in the flesh. In terms of understanding how people become good at something my other love has been rock(ish) musicians. They are fascinating so, as for the sportspeople, in no particular order, these are some the people I have seen in concert and chosen to study:
Muse, Foo Fighters, Dave Dobbyn, Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, Midnight Oil, Fleetwood Mac, Alicia Keys, The Who, Santana, Tom Morello, Smashing Pumpkins, Kanye West, Water Boys, Florence and the Machine, Don McGlashin, Jay-Z, U2, Liam Finn, Kimbra, Split Enz, Bruce Springsteen, Stereophonics, The Angels, Eddie Rayner, Elvis Costello. Hugh Laurie, Cliff Richard, Roger Waters, Nickleback (I didn’t say they were all good), Sting, Paul Kelly, Supergroove, Jack White, Jack Johnson, John Legend, Neil Finn, Crowded House, Jon Toogood, Jimmy Barnes, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Hello Sailor, Imagine Dragons, Live, Counting Crows, Hot House Flowers, Switchfoot, Michael W. Smith, Dragon, Mi-Sex, Cranberries, Stray Cats, Bic Runga, Chris Cornell. RHCP, The Killers, Simply Red, Pearl Jam, Ben Harper, Mumford and Sons
The point? Not just to annoy people. The key thing about these people is that – to a very significant degree they have mastered their skill set through many, many hours of significant purposeful practice. They are worth learning from. Some of them – e.g. Matthew Bellamy of Muse – has several instruments at the highest level.
It now appears that NZ is locking our young people into a learning spiral that is opening out towards terminal velocity and has very little about it that could be regarded as aspirational in any form.
“New Zealand’s 13-year-olds have recorded their worst-ever results in a major international maths and science test.
It found New Zealand had one of the biggest achievement gaps in maths based on the number of books students had at home with 90 percent of students with lots of books meeting or exceeding the study’s benchmark for low performance, while the figure for students with few books at home was around 60 percent.
McNaughton said the TIMSS report showed where New Zealand students were weakest, such as biology and statistics, and that would help with targeted solutions.
“These are really tough challenges and to be honest we should have solved them but we’re now in a better position to do that.”
He said the Year 9 scores were the cumulative result of teaching in Years 4-8.
Compared to other countries, New Zealand’s scores ranked as follows (with the previous 2015 ranking in brackets) Year 4 maths 40th (34th), Year 4 science 34th (32nd), Year 9 maths 23rd (21st), Year 9 science 19th (16th).
Last year, New Zealand’s 15-year-olds recorded their lowest scores ever in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests reading, maths and science. Of the 79 participating countries in PISA, New Zealand was 11th equal for reading, 12th for science, and 27th for maths.
Is this what we really want? New Zealand leading a race to the intellectual bottom. I asked a journalist today what has the response of Hipkins (occasional Minister of Education been) … he hadn’t even bothered to ask. Who will hold him and his government to account?
It is okay though. The ABs won the tri-nations.