Parata vows better standards reporting

ELLE HUNT
Last updated 05:00 29/09/2012
Hekia Parata
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
'BETTER AND BETTER': Education Minister Hekia Parata says National Standards reporting will get "better and better".

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Education Minister Hekia Parata has vowed that national standards reporting will get "better and better" after schools' data was published on an Education Ministry website.

The raw data of about 1900 schools was released on the Education Counts website on September 28, one week after Stuff.co.nz released its school report.

Ms Parata said individual schools' national standards results were now available alongside their annual reports and Education Review Office reports, providing a fuller picture for parents.

"We are addressing the concern that national standards data shouldn't be considered on its own, so on our site it makes that caveat."

Before downloading a school's data, a pop-up message warns parents that "care needs to be taken when considering national standards data".

Ms Parata said the information had been published in the form it was submitted. "Because schools weren't required to report consistently this year, they have chosen different formats, and comparisons between them are very unreliable. Some are in narratives, some are in tables, some are in graphs."

A "significant number" had chosen to report their results using a ministry-provided template, which would be made compulsory from 2013 to improve consistency across reporting.

She said a "progress and consistency tool" to support teachers' moderation judgments was under development, and would be available to all schools in 2014.

Ms Parata stressed that national standards reporting would be improved.

"Overall, it tells us what the picture is for the system.

"We have a five-year plan for continuously getting better."

When questioned on the difference between Stuff's School Report and Education Counts' coverage, Ms Parata replied that she was "pretty focused on what the Ministry of Education has presented".

Fairfax Media group digital editor Sinead Boucher said data for schools not yet included in the School Report website would be added in due course.

"We will be adding the remainder of the schools so that we have a full picture of all the primary and intermediate schools in the country."

Of the 188 schools yet to submit their data to the ministry, Ms Parata said the majority were still "getting to grips with their data", while around 25 were refusing to comply.

She said non-compliance was unacceptable. "Schools are Crown entities, not secret societies. They are public institutions, funded by public money, to do a public job of raising achievement. "This information is therefore public information."

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Prime Minister John Key's message to schools refusing to comply with national standards was that they should "get in line with the programme".

"I mean, everybody else is, and the reason they should be doing that is it's good for our kids."

- The Dominion Post

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