National Standards are not Consistent… What the??!?

This morning I was flicking through the tweets and a news item from Radio New Zealand popped up.

National standards lack dependability it said.

“Interesting,” I replied.

Nobody was in the car so it turned out I was just talking to my club lock.

But the talking news item did have a point. The study it was reporting on suggested that around 60% of standards having an issue with accuracy. Some kids marked too high. Others marked too low. Some kids well below last year are now above. And so on. 

Stuff suggest the standards were “unclear.” What is unclear is what the word “unclear” means. Please define.

What interested me the most with the Radio New Zealand item was the fact that the study was government-funded – released by the Ministry of Education. That was the bit that started gnawing at my insides as only spin from this National government can.

What were they up to?

A short while later, during the unlikely interview with the minister Hekia Parata (how long since you heard her being interviewed?), she briefly mentioned the need for consistency. There was something about teacher workshops and then there it was.

National standards would improve if teachers use something like the Progress and Consistency Tool.

There it was. The government told us about the problem and in the same interview offered us their wonderful solution – a solution they have been, “developing with teachers.”

Previously the government, after a complete rejection of PaCT by the entire industry including, eventually, the dithering principals, said we would not be forced to use this tick list computer online tool.

Their tone now is much more subtle. We are working with teachers. National standards are a work in progress. We have a five-year plan. Blah blah spin spin spin. 

I’ll let twitter friend Alan Alach round things off. He sums up perfectly my thoughts on how this government, who got into power largely by painting Helen Clark’s Labour government as wanting to have complete control over everything through micromanagement – dubbed the Nanny state by the ever frothing media. 

Yes. Central control will increase everywhere – not just in education. Just ask the GCSB. 

Mr B.


National Standards Still Lack Dependability – RNZ Morning Report, Sept 4, 2013.

National Standards will Improve – Parata – Stuff, Sept 4, 2013