Kahikatea Tree at Papakura South School

Kahikatea Tree at Papakura South School
Martha-Lee and Madeline

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Operation Orange Day is May 21

Teaching Matters

Operation Orange Day is May 21. It's a day for NZEI members to focus on the call for a trail of National Standards. In the lead up to May 21 our aim is to have all members collect 10 signatures on the Trial the Standards Not Our Kids petition. On the 21st members will be holding Orange themed events, wearing orange, eating orange morning tea, flying orange balloons and more.
Join the discussion on ideas for Operation Orange Day activities, download an Operation Orange mission pack and sign up for campaign actvity and, most importantly, collect 10 signatures on the petition.



My opinion of National Standards

Untested National Standards
The Government says National Standards assessment will raise children’s achievement. There is no supporting evidence that they will raise children’s achievement. Teachers already use assessment practises to monitor children’s progress and identify those children who are struggling. Teachers then provide programmes to cater for the needs of these children. Why is this Government spending tens of millions of dollars to roll out National Standards, which are untested and have failed in other countries, to replace robust assessment practises that already exist in our Schools and at a National level through the National Education Monitoring Project.
National Standards encourage schools to match children to various levels for reading, writing and maths based on their age. As teachers and parents we know children develop at their own pace and will peak and ebb in their progress, because of cognitive development. Children also come to school with strengths and talents in areas of the curriculum that are not literacy and numeracy based. Some children enter school without early childhood education and need to learn skills to socialise and respond to programmes at their level, other children take longer to read and write, surely labelling these children as failures will damage their motivation to learn. We want enthusiastic children who progress their learning and have a sense of self worth to better live in our communities.
The reporting process developed for National Standards will lead to data that can be used in simplistic forms of league tables. These tables will compare schools, creating a perception of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ schools and failing children. Data that is collected for league tables does not reflect the effective teaching and social mentoring that has raised student achievement from where the child was to where the child is now. Lots of children start behind the norm and will make progress but not at the rate of others.
At the cost of tens of millions of dollars the Government continues to push the rollout of the Standards in the face of public and education sector support for the Standards to be trialled. The effectiveness of these standards needs to be tested.
The tens of millions of dollars would be better spent on providing programmes and support to address the needs of the children already identified in our schools as our failing tail. This tail reflects children who are educationally disadvantaged, affected by poverty and in some cases from dysfunctional families.
As a parent and teacher I need to know that what we do for our children is of benefit and is educationally sound. Trial the Standards, so that I can make an informed judgment, that is best for teaching and learning in our Primary Schools.