How our schools rate
National Standards results in reading, writing and maths from close to 100 Waikato schools, and more than 1000 nationwide, are today being made public for the first time.
And it is a move that has been condemned by Waikato principals and education academics, who say the data is unreliable and destructive.
After months of resistance from unions and hundreds of schools trying to withhold results, Waikato Times and sister Fairfax publications have obtained and analysed the data.
The Times has chosen not to rank schools or create league tables based on advice that the information is unmoderated, inconsistent and incomplete.
Prime Minister John Key has described the data as "ropey" and Education Minister Hekia Parata said it was variable.
However, Ms Parata said it "does give sufficient information to indicate how well we are doing across the country".
The data collected from Waikato schools shows that, on average, 31.7 per cent of the region's students are above national standards for reading, writing and maths and 41 per cent are at expected levels.
This is slightly below the incomplete national average of 34.4 per cent above and 42.4 per cent at the standards.
The results showed 17.9 per cent of Waikato students were below the mark and 9.4 per cent well below.
This is higher than the national average of 16.2 per cent below and 7.1 per cent well below.
Waikato students appear to be struggling most with writing, followed by maths and reading.
And the statistics confirm the longstanding trend that girls are outperforming boys in the classroom, both in Waikato and nationwide.
Maori and Pacific Island students are also over represented among those falling below and well below National Standards.
Ms Parata said the complete data collected by the Government was consistent with international figures.
"Given this is the first year schools have reported their National Standards data, it is variable between schools," she said.
However, the concern among Waikato principals and education experts is that this is not good quality data.
"We don't support the publication of data in a raw form," Waikato Principals' Association chair John Coulam said.
"Within an individual school it will highlight areas schools can work on, there's no problem with that at all. And that's what schools are using the information for - to make a difference in their school, but not to be compared with other schools."
University of Waikato school of education dean Roger Moltzen advised parents and the public to take the information "with a grain of salt" and not as a "blunt instrument" to measure schools.
"I think that looking at that data you've got to consider the bigger context of what happens in schools.
"And this maybe gives you, at best, a glimpse of one aspect of teaching and learning."
University of Waikato education professor Martin Thrupp said the data was misleading and potentially harmful to children as well as schools.
"It's like putting out a tide chart where half the tides are wrong and you're just going to have a lot of shipwrecks."
Hauraki-Waikato Labour education spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta said releasing unreliable data could prove "destructive" and create "unnecessary fear" in the community.
Of the more than 2000 schools in New Zealand about half have ignored the request for information. The Government will release a full set of data from all schools online next Friday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with Hamilton City Council's plan to introduce a minimum living wage for its lowest paid workers?Related story: Hamilton City Council backs living wage