How New Zealand schools rate

JOHN HARTEVELT AND CLIO FRANCIS
Last updated 05:00 22/09/2012

Education Minister Hekia Parata talks National Standards.

School Report

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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Controversial National Standards results from more than 1000 New Zealand schools have been revealed.

After months of resistance, obstruction and stalling tactics from unions and hundreds of schools, Fairfax Media has obtained and analysed nationwide results and published them on a new section of its Stuff.co.nz website, School Report.

This is the first time National Standards results have been made public - a move that has infuriated teachers' union the New Zealand Educational Institute, who say it will hurt the self-confidence of schools considered "not up to standard".

Many principals and academic experts insist the data is still too unreliable and should not be used to compare performances between schools.

But Education Minister Hekia Parata said the standards were "in good shape".

"National Standards gives us an opportunity to dig deeper and finer grained in to information at a learner level," Parata said.

"It's both about progress and the reporting back to parents of that."

She drew parallels with New Zealand's successful Olympics campaign.

"I obviously am not a top athlete but, you know, they collect consistent data about their performance and feedback and how they need to adjust in ever finer adjustments to get to that level of exceptional achievement," Parata said.

"Similarly, in schooling, National Standards is about collecting data consistently, understanding how it can be used and applying it."

The School Report website launched today is not a league table and does not rank schools according to their results.

But nationwide analysis of the results obtained by Fairfax appears to confirm long-standing trends in the education system and lines up with an official snap-shot released yesterday.

Kiwi kids are struggling the most with writing, where 32 per cent were below or well below the standard.

In maths, 28.4 per cent were below or well below and 23.7 per cent in reading.

It also emerged that Maori and Pasifika children were over-represented among those below and well-below the standards in reading, writing and maths. And boys trailed girls across the board.

Just over 2000 schools were required to report their National Standards data - hundreds ignored Fairfax Media's request for data last month, despite instructions from both the Ombudsman and the Education Ministry. Some provided data that was unusable.

NZEI national president Ian Leckie said children being told their school was "not up to standard" would undermine self-confidence and decrease their motivation.

"For families and communities, National Standards league tables or other forms of public comparisons simply reinforce people's prejudices about communities and leads to increased educational inequity, Mr Leckie said.

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Labour Party leader David Shearer said the Government wanted to use National Standards to rank all schools by using league tables.

"The problem is that ranking will be based on shonky figures because data is collected differently from school to school and the results are not moderated. The results going in, therefore, can be quite different and comparisons cannot be fairly made."

The data handling carried out by Fairfax was checked and approved by international research company Ipsos. Fairfax has removed some of the data supplied by schools for privacy reasons.

On the School Report site, each school has its own information page, including demographic data, funding details and a link to the school's ERO report.

BY THE NUMBERS

* 23.7 per cent: Reading below or well below the standard.

* 32 per cent: Writing below or well below the standard.

* 27.6 per cent: Maths below or well below the standard.

BOYS V GIRLS

* 72 per cent: Boys at or above the reading standard.

* 80 per cent: Girls at or above the reading standard.

* 61 per cent: Boys at or above the writing standard.

* 75 per cent: Girls at or above the writing standard.

* 72 per cent: Boys at or above the maths standard.

* 73 per cent: Girls at or above the maths standard.

Source: Education Minister Hekia Parata

- Stuff

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