29 Feb 2024

Teachers turn down $5000 to help fast-track new NCEA guidance

7:51 am on 29 February 2024
No caption

Photo: 123rf

Some teachers refused offers of $5000 to help the government fast-track critical guidance for new NCEA standards just days before Christmas.

With a late-January deadline, the Education Ministry had to write nearly half of the 33 "subject learning objectives" (SLOs) itself, and said a third of the objectives were not up to scratch and later had to be rewritten.

The ministry said the objectives - four-to-six-page documents briefly describing what students need to know for each of the four level 1 standards in each subject - and the development of workshops to introduce them to teachers cost $270,000.

The government announced publication of the learning objectives at the end of January, saying they were needed because the previous government had rushed the introduction of the new level 1 standards and teachers wanted more support.

Education Minister Erica Stanford told Parliament's Education and Workforce Select Committee this week that most schools did not feel confident about introducing the new level 1 standards.

"Teachers were saying, the science teachers especially, it is really difficult to know what we're supposed to be teaching with this new level 1, because there's a real lack of guidance," she said.

Stanford told the committee the government moved quickly to ask teachers' subject associations to write the learning objectives.

"I admit it was tough for them over Christmas to ask them to do that, but they stepped up and they did and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude."

The ministry asked subject associations on 20 December 2023 to complete the objectives by 22 January 2024 for publication on 31 January.

RNZ understands some teachers were unhappy with the tight timeframe and the fact the work was expected over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

They warned the government the rush would not result in good work and one teacher described the learning objectives for their subject as "a cut and paste job".

However, other teachers agreed the work was important.

Education Ministry acting hautū (leader) curriculum centre Pauline Cleaver said teachers were asking for more explicit guidance about the new achievement standards.

"Nineteen subject associations worked through January to complete SLOs for their subject area. This was a lot of work in very tight timeframes and we were grateful for their expertise and willingness to undertake this work over January. Ministry staff who work on the NCEA work programme developed another 14 SLOs. It was important that this resource was available from the end of January so that teachers could use them to prepare for the new school year," she said.

"We were have since undertaken a quality assurance process to be sure this new type of resource is of a high standard and useful to teachers by being as clear as possible in guiding teaching and assessment. Work is underway on 11 SLOs to further develop the clarity and useability for teachers. Work to improve SLOs, and other NCEA resources is ongoing as we receive feedback for teachers."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs