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WHY TEACHERS ARE RIGHT TO PUSH FOR A TRIAL PERIOD Warwick Elley NATIONAL STANDARDS: A FOOLISH FORMULA FULL OF FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS, FAULTS AND FANCIFUL FORECASTS.

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Presentation on theme: "WHY TEACHERS ARE RIGHT TO PUSH FOR A TRIAL PERIOD Warwick Elley NATIONAL STANDARDS: A FOOLISH FORMULA FULL OF FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS, FAULTS AND FANCIFUL FORECASTS."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHY TEACHERS ARE RIGHT TO PUSH FOR A TRIAL PERIOD Warwick Elley NATIONAL STANDARDS: A FOOLISH FORMULA FULL OF FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS, FAULTS AND FANCIFUL FORECASTS

2 WHAT IS WRONG WITH NATIONAL STANDARDS? 1. The National Standards policy assumes “One Size Fits All”. BUT - each child should work to his/her own standard. 2. The Standards have been hastily prepared by committees, and untested for difficulty. 3. The wording of the Standards is vague and capable of many interpretations. 4. There is no research showing that NCEA Level 2 lines up with the progress levels indicated by the National Standards. 5. The sources that teachers make their judgements on will vary widely, making comparisons quite unfair. 6. The advice on moderating teacher judgements is naive, and ignores the problems which have dogged such policies.

3 7. When results are made public, league tables will follow, and many assessments will soon become “High Stakes”. 8. High Stakes testing for accountability in this way interferes with the formative value of assessment. 9. Teachers will feel pressured to waste time coaching their children on standardised tests, thus invalidating them. 10. Overseas experience shows that other key subjects in the curriculum will be downgraded. 11. Teaching will lose much of its spark and spontaneity, and children become bored. 12. Bright children and slow learners will be ignored, as gains in their achievements won’t be reflected in schools’ results. 13. Schools will be judged unfairly, as the assessments largely reflect the school’s socio- economic status, not progress made.

4 14.Overseas experience shows these policies do not reduce the size of the tail of under-achievement. 15.Many of the students who do not reach the standards will be judged and labelled as “failures”. 16. Dedicated teachers who work in low-decile schools will soon seek to move, rather than remain in a failing situation. 17. More teacher time will be spent on assessing, reporting and moderating, rather than teaching. 18. The “long tail” is dominated by ESOL pupils, Maori & Pasifika pupils, and others who are disabled or disturbed. Standards won’t change this. 19. This policy will require full cooperation of teachers. Most disapprove, so full cooperation is unlikely. 20.“Big Shake-Ups” always require a period of trial before implementation, as so many things can go wrong.

5 1. “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” All students are expected to be judged in relation to the same standard. BUT students vary enormously in backgrounds, interests and abilities. New Zealand has a cherished tradition of challenging all children at their current level. “The Government’s objective is that every person whatever his level of academic ability, whether rich or poor, in town or country, has a right to a free education, of the kind for which he is best fitted, and to the fullest extent of his powers”. There should be different standards for different students.

6 2. THE STANDARDS ARE NOT “CLEAR” The Standards were prepared in haste by Committees and are untested for difficulty. The description of the Standards is full of vague words and relative terms. Teachers will disagree over whether their students have attained the Standard or not. Parents will not get the simple “Plunket-Style” reports they are expecting.

7 SOME CLEAR STANDARDS CAN THROW THE SHOT PUT 18 METRES. CAN RUN 1500 METRES IN 3 MINS 52 SECS.

8 MORE CLEAR STANDARDS CAN RECITE THE ALPHABET CAN COUNT TO 20 ALPH

9 NATIONAL STANDARD FOR YEAR 4 READING “By the end of Year 4 students will read, respond to and think critically about texts in order to meet the reading demands of the NZ Reading Curriculum. Students will locate and evaluate information and ideas within texts appropriate to their level, as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes....”

10 WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS STANDARD? 1. It does not state how well they should read the texts. 2. It does not state how difficult the texts need to be. 3. It does not tell how difficult the questions are that assess the student’s ability. 4. It does not tell how well they should evaluate the text.

11 FURTHER GUIDANCE FOR TEACHERS The texts used for assessing will often include: Some abstract ideas Some implicit ideas, to be worked out by inference. Straightforward text structures Some compound and complex sentences Some unfamiliar words and phrases Other visual language features Figurative language (similes, metaphors, etc)

12 WHETHER A CHILD REACHES A STANDARD DEPENDS ON : - 1) the difficulty of the text chosen 2) whether the child has seen it before. 3) whether they have time to read it before the test. 4) whether they read it aloud or silently. 5) whether they’re assessed by their teacher or a stranger 6) whether the questions are literal or inferential. 7) whether the questions are multi-choice or open-ended 8) whether they are arranged in the same order as in the text. 9) whether they are arranged from easy to hard. 10) whether they are answered orally or in writing. 11) how harshly the teacher marks the answers.

13 EXAMPLE OF HOW PASS RATES VARY Miss Latham, Principal of Dymchurch Country School, UK. Tested 58 Yr 2 pupils 3 times, for National Standards trials. She selected passages from 3 different books from a prescribed list for Yr 2. She prepared comprehension questions on each and tested each child individually. On Book 1, 90% of the pupils passed the standard. On Book 2, 72% of the pupils passed the standard. On Book 3, 38% of the pupils passed the standard. Which result should she report to the Board?

14 STAR READING TEST SCORES, BY DECILE Year 3


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