One of the speakers at the ELF conference I’ve been attending today was Minister of Education, Anne Tolley. She spoke to the gathered leaders about the National Party’s rationale for introducing national standards, and alluded to the content of the first report on NS released today.
National Standards: School Sample Monitoring and Evaluation Project has been produced by Maths Technology Ltd, and provides the first insights into what is happening with the implementation process in NZ schools. I’ve yet to read it fully, but here’s a quick glimpse of the key findings:
Results from the principal survey indicate that:
- The majority of principals understand the broad purposes of National Standards.
- Approximately half the principals understand the differing ways that reading and writing, and mathematics relate to the New Zealand curriculum.
- While principals understand the purpose of OTJs, they are less clear about how to effectively make and moderate the summative assessment judgments required. Results suggest there may be some confusion among principals about the differences between norm-based and standards-based assessment.
- Most principals believe information from National Standards will add value to the processes schools use for reporting to families, students and Boards, making informed decisions about how to improve student achievement, and identifying teachers’ professional development needs. While how much value principals believe National Standards will add to each of these processes varies, only a small proportion of principals believe information from National Standards will be very valuable.
- Principals are very concerned about the possible unintended consequences of National Standards: league tables, the demotivation of students who are consistently below Standard, national testing, and the narrowing of the curriculum. Principals are also concerned over the haste of National Standards implementation and the quality of the training offered.
- Principals do not feel well supported in their role to lead the implementation of National Standards in their schools, although in general they feel reasonably confident in this role.
Analysis of reporting formats indicates that:
- Most schools reported National Standards achievement information to parents, families and whānau in mid-year reports.
- There was substantial variation between schools in the ways they had used National Standards to describe student achievement and the ways in which they had presented this information in school reports.
- There was considerable variation in the language the schools used to describe student achievement against the Standards. Many different terms were used to describe each level of achievement, and, in many instances, the same term was used by different schools to describe different levels of achievement.