21 Oct 2010

Surveys highlight national standards concerns

6:27 pm on 21 October 2010

Many school principals still have serious doubts about the impact national standards will have on student achievement, according to new surveys.

A Ministry of Education survey found most principals understand the national standards.

But 98% of the 82 respondents were worried students who achieve below the standards would lose motivation, and most did not feel well supported to implement the standards in their school.

A separate Council for Educational Research survey found that fewer than one in five principals thought national standards would give them better information for making decisions.

Eighty-five percent of principals surveyed do not believe the standards will change patterns of student achievement.

The council's survey covered 350 primary and intermediate schools.

Call to postpone reporting date

The Council for Educational Research says the Government might need to postpone the date schools report to it on the national standards in reading, writing and maths.

The Government had originally intended results to be reported to the Ministry of Education in 2011, but the council says even the later date might be too soon.

A senior researcher, Cathy Wylie, says schools are unlikely to provide consistent and comparable figures by the deadline of 2012.

"I think there'll be considerable variability within schools and between schools. So using that data in 2012 to make decisions about resourcing for schools, or how well the country is doing as a whole would be very problematic."

However, the Education Ministry's curriculum group manager says there is no need to delay schools' reporting.

Mary Chamberlain says the ministry will provide support to help ensure schools' results are consistent.