1 November 2017
(updated 15 Nov)
No More National Standards
The NZ Herald report (31 Oct 2017) on the abolition of the National Standards may have given parents a bit of a scare. Or maybe not, that's just a weak attempt at halloween humour.
Many in education will not be sad about losing National Standards. I am pleased that there will no longer be a means of centrally collecting this data as (IMO) this only ever served newspaper reporters to make poorly interpreted comparisons between schools.
Chris Hipkins is quoted as saying that primary schools will still have to report to parents on children's progress, but will use the eight levels of the curriculum to do this. Schools have a number of assessment methods that provide good information about children's achievement and at Ridgway we use the tools mentioned in the article (e.g. asTTle, PAT) as well as some others. These levels are enough. Our New Zealand Curriculum and supporting documents are sufficiently detailed to allow very clear understandings of what can be expected at each level. We may need to spend some time explaining how our curriculum works and what its aims are (it's obvious from the Herald article that not everyone is well informed about this), but that's fine.
We still don't know exactly what the new rules for reporting to parents will be. Currently National Administration Guideline 2a requires that we "report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to .... National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing must occur at least twice a year". It may well be that we will still be required to report in writing at least twice a year, but instead of reporting 'against the National Standards' that we report against the NZ Curriculum levels.
For now, it's 'business as usual' until the National Administration Guidelines change.