National Standards 'may aid rating of teachers'

JOHN HARTEVELT
Last updated 07:30 25/09/2012

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National standards results could have a role in assessing the performance of teachers, Education Minister Hekia Parata says.

Stuff published the national standards results of more than 1000 primary and intermediate schools at the weekend in a new section called School Report.

Yesterday, Prime Minister John Key welcomed the publication of results as a "very positive" step.

Parata said the standards were aimed at raising "learner achievement" but also "raising teacher capability in the classroom".

"Performance pay has been raised. I'm keen to see it located in a context of overall quality management in schools, not something as a silver bullet because it just isn't."

National standards could help schools understand who they needed to employ and to help set targets for teachers.

"You [might] say - here are the expectations for you in this school and how they will be monitored and measured - that then leads to the next stage of either professional learning and development in this regard is needed or reward and acknowledgment is needed or indeed sanctions [are] needed.

"It needs to be located in an overall quality management system."

Performance pay of a sort was already in the school system through "management units", she said.

Adding national standards results could be "part of a continuous improvement chain in the employment and management cycle".

"It is part of moving the mindset from a whole range of inputs . . . to what are the outcomes that schools need to be producing, student outcomes. It is finetuning. It's finetuning to why kids are in schools and what we need to be focused on."

Dean of the Victoria University education faculty Dugald Scott said the standards were "far too blunt and far too uncertain" to be considered for teacher performance at the moment.

"In principle you can, and good schools do, look at the results that different teachers are achieving with either similar groups or the same groups of students and then you can see if the success rates for this teacher are that much better than another teacher then arguably the first teacher has something that other teachers should learn from," Scott said.

"That's good school management practice and schools at the moment are struggling to get that kind of fine-grained information."

The national standards could become a tool that helped teachers improve children's learning but could not be used for that now.

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