NZCER – National Standards in their seventh year
National Standards in their seventh year – NZCER
At the mid point of 2016, we were presented with a survey which was sent off to NZCER for the current views of teaching proffesionals views on National Standards. 6 months later, and NZCER have done the collation and inquiry around the survey results, and have presented the following report.
As one of these teaching professionals who completed the survey (selected at random by the school principal) I was quite interested in the results and findings. Below are some of the key quotes from the report, and hopefully it provides a good summary and synopsis of the entire article for you.
- While (the National Standards) are part and parcel of teaching and school decision making, questions continue around their impact for students, differences in their interpretation and their impact on the rest of the curriculum.
- Over half of teachers and principals still feel they have not had the support they need to work with National Standards.
- Over two-thirds of teachers reported a narrowing of the curriculum they teach, associated with National Standards
- Many teachers indicated that their school has a shared understanding of National Standards that means that overall teacher judgements (OTJs) at the school are consistent…
- Only 41% of the principals and 49% of teachers thought they had had enough support and guidance to feel confident about their work with National Standards.
- Only 16% of teachers agreed the impact of National Standards on students’ achievement overall has been positive.
- Most parents and whānau reported receiving clear information in their child’s mid-year report about their achievement of National Standards… Fifty-one percent of parents thought National Standards provide a valuable record of their child’s learning.
- Nine percent of the teachers who responded to the survey had used PaCT to support their OTJs in 2016. PaCT is a Ministry-funded online tool that was developed to support teachers to make consistent judgements of students’ performance in relation to the National Standards.
- Teachers’ support for National Standards remained around the same as 2013, when it was 35%. The proportion who agreed National Standards provide a valuable record of student learning was stable at 23%
- In the comments made by 43% of the principals about National Standards, the unreliable nature of National Standards data was the most frequently mentioned theme (18% of all principals).
NS are a joke. Data coming to us from schools when students enrol here is highly unreliable. Our view is that without a National Test (WE DO NOT WANT NATIONAL HIGH STAKES TESTING!!!!) there is no accurate way of assessing whatever the data schools are submitting is truthful/correct. We are hard in our marking, we do not overstate student achievement, most probably we understate it. It is obvious that schools are not being truthful in their reporting of data because of the high levels of inaccuracy. OTJs cannot be accurately moderated within a school, let alone between local schools and definitely not between suburbs/cities etc. NS data being published by the MOE on Education Counts cannot be trusted.
- Nine percent commented that the focus should be on students’ achievement, rather than their achievement of given standards.
(National Standards) Do not acknowledge the progress of students who are not achieving at the Standard but are making progress, but it is not enough to move out of the ‘below’ categories.
- Seven percent of principals voiced concern about the negative effects of National Standards on students and their learning.
Good idea but each child will have different abilities. What about the child who is ‘below’ from 5 years–12 years old. How do they feel?
It is soul destroying for students who are well below—we used to celebrate their small achievements—now they are just well below! 🙁 Overall, National Standards have led to a deterioration in the educational deal our children are receiving.
- Forty-four percent of teachers wrote comments about National Standards, and concern about negative effects on students and their learning was a main theme (13% of all teachers).
Labels children from an early age. National Standards has helped label our Pasifika and Māori students as ‘below’ achievers, it doesn’t take into account the added value of the child’s own learning.
I find the whole push for acceleration very dangerous as many children are getting insufficient consolidation and fall down later because they do not have a solid grounding.
- The other most frequently mentioned theme in teachers’ comments was that the focus should be on identifying and reporting a student’s individual progress, rather than their achievement—or not—of a set standard (10% of teachers).
National Standards do not accurately recognise the progress of some students, in particular ‘well below’ and ‘below’ students. A student can arrive at ‘below’, work as hard as they can all year and still be ‘below’. National Standards do not acknowledge or show this progress. This can be very demotivating for these students.
National Standards are a terrible way to measure student achievement as it does not include specific progress within a level. Students may make huge individual progress within their own ability, however parents/caregivers are only concerned if their child is ‘AT’ National Standards.
- Overall, the picture from the 2016 NZCER national survey responses indicates that, while the National Standards have been incorporated into teaching and learning and used by school leaders as indicators of student need, experiences of using them continue to raise questions about their role in student learning and performance, more than 6 years later. To make the National Standards more productive for teaching and learning, it would seem that the recommendations from NZCER’s 2013 analysis of its national survey data (summarised on p. 6 of this report) are still applicable.
What are your thoughts on National Standards and their role in today’s education? Are they relevant or are they a distraction from your teaching?
What did you think of the report above? Anything stand out for you? Please Comment below.