Education today

Hello Kelvin

Below is my email to Hekia. I am appalled at the suggestion from MOE to do with my national standards data. I don’t know where our system is heading. The only certain fact is that national standards data is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Thank you


– – – –

Date: Friday, 9 May 2014 12:38 PM

To: <>
Subject: National Standards data

Greetings minister

A little while ago I sent the spreadsheet of national standards data to my MOE office as required.  Some of the columns to do with ethnic group achievement levels did not tally. I checked my school assessment data carefully and confirmed the numbers in each ethnic group at each level, but this would still not tally with overall ethnic group numbers. The overall numbers did tally to my school roll at the time, so there is a ‘glitch’.  I believe the glitch is to do with the priority ethnic group system the MOE uses which places students as Maori if they indicate at any level that they are (a student listing themselves as Asian, Pakeha, NZ Maori will automatically default to Maori for instance).

I received a phone call and email today from MOE regarding certain ethnic columns not tallying with ethnic totals. I told them I knew that, but the individual ethnic totals in each level (‘well below’, ‘below’, ‘at’, and ‘above’) tally with my school assessment data. MOE are desperate to have columns all adding up nicely, so helpfully suggested a way to make my reading achievement data look tidy. They suggested I take the three Asian students in the ‘below’ column and place them in the ‘above’ column. That would eliminate one red tag. I pointed out that I did actually have three Asian students in the ‘below’ category. That, however, was of no interest to the MOE person who indicated that it would balance things up.

After the phone conversation I requested guidance via email on what it was suggested I do. I received an email back from MOE with the stated suggestion confirmed as above.

What they are suggesting I do is in fact manipulate my data to make it fit.  In this case it would make my data look better as I would now have no Asian students in the ‘below’ category and three more Asian students in the ‘above’ category.

There are three other columns with red tags on the spreadsheet so I presume I am expected to follow a similar process – juggle around numbers until everything is tidy.

As I stated, there is definitely a ‘glitch’ and I agree with MOE’s idea that it most likely has to do with the priority ethnic question – however, I will not accept that the answer is mindlessly to alter achievement data to make things tidy. Professionally and morally I am appalled by this suggestion which simply reinforces that the national standards data that makes its way to the public, via MOE, is rubbish data.

We seem to be sinking to new lows in New Zealand education when this type of thing is happening. I do not blame the individual in the MOE who has suggested this to me. It is a fault of a high stakes testing and reporting regime we have had imposed. I feel sorry for all parents and communities who look at 2013 national standards data and make assumptions about school performance based on manipulated data, and I am appalled at the thought that schools will be judged and ranked on such data.

I will not be altering my data. No doubt this will lead to serious phone calls from my MOE office and pressure to conform. I have too much professional integrity to be influenced by that.

I have no problem with someone working alongside me to try to discover the spreadsheet glitch affecting half a dozen students out of 452 so the red tags disappear, but I will not be party to suggestions of data manipulation from the Ministry of Education.

Thank you


This entry was posted in Ministry of Education and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Education today

  1. joceje says:

    Hi kelvin Oh my god.. We need this to go viral!

    And just been updating my AUT talk on curriculum and Elwyn Richardson and I seem to have discovered that the tki version of National curriculum May 2013 that I built my talk round, is different from the current version presented on line. Also I have apply to access certain pages. Have just spent four hours going backwards and forwards to find various words, which I knew were there! Oh well we need to remember that there may well be a conspiracy going on!

    Sent from my iPad please excuse any typos and wrong words caused through predictive texts etc.


  2. Brent Godfery says:

    It was insisted by moe that I couldn’t have the statement in our analysis of variance, “the students that did not move a stage during the year were not able to because they did not have the capacity to do so.” This in relation to students identified as well below in mathematics getting small group attention from a specialist teacher over two terms. These children have always progressed at a differing rate to their peers. They have global delays and in some cases paediatric assessments that tell us why they will progress differently. Alas they didn’t put their reasoning in writing. A waste of time. Apart from moe and bot I don’t know anyone who has read an analysis of variance????

  3. Judy Johannessen says:

    Please send this to the opposition parties to those who have the education portfolio . This is really the kind of information parents need to have .to understand just how ridiculous National Standards are . Chris Hipkins for the Labour party, Metiria Turei Green party . Tracey Martin New Zealand First should have this information a.s.a.p. It really concerns me how dishonest these people are to prove their worth.

    • Kelvin says:

      Hi Judy: Yes – I agree, Tracey is a superb performer in the House, and truly understands school education. She is a keen reader of this site and we are in regular communication.

  4. Ian Skipper says:

    Greetings Kelvin

    This sort of action does not surprise me given what has taken place with regard to “National’s Standards”.

    As for the ethnicity rigmarole it is symptomatic of the Ministry’s bureaucratic nonsense in wanting to pigeonhole individuals regardless of how people actually see themselves.

    I can see Hekia denying this as “official’ practice and slam some poor Ministry underling as having misrepresented MOE’s position on such matters.

    It does however need to get in to wider media circles as another example of the nonsense of “National’s Standards” data.




    • Kelvin says:

      Hi everyone, I enjoy reading your comments. And hi Ian, I hope your trip to the airshow was refreshing. The principal concerned has set Chris Hipkins up. The issue was on the edge of being covered on Campbell Live (John O’Neill, Frances Nelson, and I were involved) but the ministry promised to correct that ethnic priority ranking business. Obviously nothing was done. In some ways it is useful as a symbol of where primary education is today. All best to networkonnet readers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s