The following from the Manawatu Standard adds weight to my campaign to have recognised the corruption that is occurring in the manipulation of NCEA results. It takes a provincial newspaper to do it. The major papers won’t do it because they want to protect the education system their editors have worked industriously to construct and illiberally to defend.
I am focused on the matter because I see it as a symptom of decades of a narrowed, unchallenging, and disengaged schooling beginning with primary.
The government uses NCEA results as a marker of success for their education system.
And could I point out that charter schools and international schools will continue to have close to 100 per cent NCEA level 2 pass as a result of this corrupted system, in particular internal NCEA credits.
Yes – the campaign is making me unpopular, but that has been the name of the game for me for 25 years.
Note how NZQA does not answer the main question which is the reference to ‘some pretty shonky things going on’ and that’s only the half of how it could be described.
NCEA manipulated for better results, principals say
Principals are frustrated with the publication of NCEA results, saying they are not a fair representation of school achievement.
Several Manawatu principals have expressed frustration about the importance placed on participation results. They said participation rates play a role in the number of enrolments schools see.
The number of schools choosing to manipulate NCEA results to improve public perception had increased, they said.
NCEA results were broken down into two sections, with participation-based, those actively working towards NCEA, the most widely reported.
Another set of results, also released annually, were the roll-based results covering all students at the school.
Boys’ High rector David Bovey said there was no way of comparing schools based on NCEA results because there was no consistency.
“What we’re seeing is some schools will withdraw students from some academic standards so it allows them to present academic results that are quite distorted.
“There are NCEA qualifications and then there are NCEA qualifications.
“A qualification from school A might be completely different from the qualification from school B.”
Feilding High School principal Roger Menzies said the Ministry of Education target to have 85 per cent of students pass NCEA level two by 2017 had shifted the focus for schools and resulted in many schools lowering the bar to increase achievement.
The only core requirements for NCEA were ten literacy and ten numeracy credits, and Menzies believed there needed to be more structure to the system.
He said some schools were fixated at getting 85 per cent pass rates and would do anything to get credits.
“Some pretty shonky things happen to make sure students pass,” Menzies said.
READ MORE: Menzies: The truth about NCEA
“It’s a game. A lot of schools don’t do external assessments because they will be compared to other schools.
“Schools are choosing easy standards, not the right standards for their kids.
“It’s all about pass rates not the next step.”
He said schools had lost focus.
“It’s a competitive market place. Any old credit will do so long as they get their credits.”
Awatapu College principal Gary Yeatman said the results were skewed either way and did not think they should be released.
He said because Awatapu College had a high number of special needs students, their participation rates were a lot better than their roll based rates.
“If you’ve got a school with a large number of special needs students then they would never look as good on that data.”
He said the calibre of students entering school was not evenly spread across the region, with some schools attracting more students with learning difficulties than others.
“It’s just the nature of the system.
“If all schools were given a fair in-put, it would be a fairer out-put.”
He said he would prefer the data was not published.
“My biggest thing is I don’t know why we publish any of these because all it does is raise this issue.
“What’s more important for a school is to look at the students and say “have we done everything we can for these individuals.”
An NZQA spokesperson said the difference between participation based results and roll based results depended on the individual school.
“It could be anything…for some schools it could be they are doing some other qualification as well.”