Academics against primary standards

This from The Dominion Post this morning.


I find it interesting that the 'quote' from the minister telling schools to get used to standards does not appear with quote marks.  Is this an attempt by the paper to create more friction than already exists?

The Government's national standards policy for primary schools will lead to children being labelled failures, damage their self-esteem and turn them off learning, leading academics warn.

In a letter to Education Minister Anne Tolley, four university academics – including one credited with inspiring the system – warn that flaws in the standards are likely to lead to "serious" side effects.

"We are very concerned that the intended national standards system wrongly assumes that children are failing if they do not meet the standard for their age," the letter said.

"There are many successful New Zealanders with unexceptional school records who would not have succeeded had they been constantly labelled as failures during their childhood."

But Mrs Tolley has dismissed the letter, saying the standards are coming and the sector better get used to it.

"This has nothing to do with labelling children as failures. We are addressing the fact that almost one in five students are leaving school without the basic literacy and numeracy skills that they need.

"National standards are all about identifying children who need extra help in reading, writing and maths and making sure they get the support they need to make progress."

The group is Professor John Hattie, from Auckland University, Professor Martin Thrupp, from Waikato University, and Otago University's Professor Terry Crooks and Lester Flockton, a senior research fellow.

Prime Minister John Key has previously credited Professor Hattie with inspiring the system, but now he is among those warning the system could be a disaster.

The group wants the Government to focus on the progress children are making, rather than have them work towards a national standard, and trial the initiative in up to 200 schools. There is also concern that there will be no consistency in the way teachers report to parents.

The group also warned against standards data being turned into publicly available league tables comparing schools.

Hundreds of primary school principals have said they will boycott the policy unless changes are made to limit public access to schools' performance data.


* In place from the first day of school next year.

* Pupils from years 1 to 8 will be assessed in numeracy and literacy against national academic standards.

* Parents will be able to follow their child's progress with a chart that shows strengths and weaknesses, and problems.

* The reports, which will come out at least twice a year, will include teachers' comments, practical steps parents can take to help their children improve, learning goals and whether children need extra support at school.

It keeps growing and growing

Fullan Quotes