Primary school league tables a bad idea

CATHERINE WOULFE
Last updated 05:00 20/06/2012

League tables for primary schools, huh? Surprise surprise.

The Nats say the reason they're pushing league tables is that parents want them. I say they're doing it because their entire education policy is formulated around the legend "raising achievement" and they know league tables will help them erm, "achieve" that.

Achievement is an easy thing to raise. 

- Just set up a testing system that's open to abuse - tick
- give teachers cash incentives to raise "achievement" - tick
- and put out league tables, forcing schools to compete - tick.

Give it a couple of years and boom! Achievement up, parents happy, votes secured.

The whole set-up is rotten, and the rot goes all the way back to that "raising achievement" mission statement. Put synonyms in there and it's "boosting marks", "lifting grades", "increasing scores". Which doesn't sound nearly as nice.

What we should be emphasising is "increasing understanding" or "boosting learning" or "teaching more kids more stuff that is actually useful, like personal finance, and how to get and keep a decent job, and how to not swallow government spin hook, line and sinker".

Honestly. Home-schooling is starting to look like a great option for my potential future children. In the meantime I'll just be in here, banging my head on my desk.

The Nats say parents want league tables - do you, parents? Why/why not?

- Auckland Now

1 comment
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marionvirgil   #1   09:11 pm Jun 20 2012

No one has given any reasoned expose of how mixing up the bright pupils with the duller/illiterate pupils will improve the overall results of all pupils? It might improve the failing schools results and make the teachers feel a little happier, it may even improve the results for a few poorer students lucky enough to go to a better school! But is the objective to produce happier teachers or to improve the overall performance of all pupils? Then it has to be the failing schools we address, in staff and discipine, and leave the good schools alone to carry on their excellent work!

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