The metropolitan newspapers, in neoliberal fashion, are always working to construct a narrative that has teachers at fault – all that is needed being a drop-in hero principal.
This website believes the best way to help all children is schools being freer to organise programmes to allow increased teacher and student creativity; a change to the review process; reduced class size; and increased funding for children with special needs.
The government has imposed a propaganda blanket over school education – there is now no independent evaluation of school performance (the excellent NEMP programme was dumped, NCER has sold out, university research is compromised); and high stakes testing means NCEA and national standards are a joke.
The very slight addition of another test to NCEA level 3 has, by chance, momentarily let some light in.
But only the provincial newspapers are on to it.
Remember how the Herald lauded a newly-appointed principal at James Cook High School as a principal hero and the subsequent reported dramatic turnaround to 95.3 (1), 89.7 (2), and 80.0 (3); well, for comparability, it should be: 58.7. 48.8, and … wait for it … 30.4?
See below for how it’s done.
But Education Inc. (SPANZ, NZQA, STA, and the metropolitan newspapers) will talk and laugh it off. The universities will just sit on their hands.
This is education in New Zealand today.
NCEA results not being fairly publicised claim principals
Principals believe they are getting a raw deal with NCEA, with the way it’s reported skewing results.
Many principals said including participation rates had a major impact on how a school was perceived by people and could make a school with a smaller roll appear as though they’d done better than they actually had.
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, was the roll based (those enrolled at the school) results.
Taupo-nui-a-Tia college principal Peter Moyle said the participation based results were only for those who were entered for NCEA as of July 1, while the roll based result was all eligible students on the roll as of July 1 for that year.
Moyle said if the roll based participation was also reviewed it would show a “stark contrast to the participation based results”.
James Cook High School in Auckland – used to highlight a dramatic turnaround in NCEA results – was a recent example of this.
When the school’s roll based results were compared with their participation results the picture improvement wasn’t quite as stark.
Their participation based results were high – 95.3 per cent pass rate at level one; 89.7 per cent at level two and 80 per cent at level three.
However, the roll based results present a very different outcome. Just 58.7 per cent at level one; 48.8 per cent at level two and 30.4 at level three.
Tokoroa High School were another, with their participation based results 88.7 per cent pass rate at level one; 97.6 per cent at level two and 91.6 per cent at level three.
But their roll based showed 76 per cent at level one, 94.3 per cent at level two and six per cent at level three.
Taupo-nui-a-Tia College’s participation based level one results were 89.6 per cent, level two was 89.9 per cent and level three were 78.6 per cent.
Their roll based participation shows only a slight variation, with the exception of level three – 83.3 per cent for level one; 88.1 for level two and 58.8 percent in level three.
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.”
Moyle said he didn’t think participation results were the right information to be releasing to parents.
“I really do think the roll based is a much better indicator of a schools achievement because it indicates the students actually staying at school are paying attention…and they are not open to manipulation as much as the participation results.”
Feilding High School principal Roger Menzies agreed with Moyle.
“The participation versus roll based are just a shock,” he said.
“They are so shonky it is not funny. I watched the publicity of James Cook High School and I thought this is not right … there is just something going on.
He said one way to manipulate results was to make sure a student entered into subjects could not gain 80 credits, as it meant they were not capable of achieving NCEA so would not count on the participation based roll.
“That is how you manipulate things, and the other way is you enrol kids in all the easy courses.”
The only core requirements for NCEA was ten literacy and ten numeracy credits, and Menzies believed there needed to be more structure to the system.
“There is no core curriculum and we are just a small country, why should a kid studying level one math somewhere be any different to someone doing it somewhere else.”
Menzies said the manipulation could trickle right down into individual subjects, with the school able to decide if they let their students sit the harder assessment standards or the easier unit standards within each subject.
“When you have a deregulated society set up you will have people who will really push that to the limit,” Menzies said.