Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Getting school basics right


Struggle to understand the backlash from schools after the announcement that National Standards performance is to be published on the internet next month.

The information, which will include Education Review Office reports, schools' annual reports and NCEA data, will provide parents with a snapshot of how their child's school is performing.

The Ministry of Education will add National Standards results to the existing government website, Education Counts, and the data release will be for literacy and numeracy only.

However, schools fear the information will be used to unfairly compare schools' performance and maintain the information will be misleading and damaging.

Greenpark Primary principal Graeme Lind says there is more to schooling than reading, writing and math. He says National Standards results should not be published, as schools use their own tools and teacher judgment to determine student ability, and the standards will not reflect the fact schooling now encompasses all aspects of the development.

I don't buy this argument.

The ministry says the website will not rank schools in league table fashion but will show achievement data in regions and how individual schools are performing against the National Standards in each region, and nationally, and the information will be published in the form the schools submitted it.

The data will be variable, so comparisons will be difficult. What it will hopefully provide is an indication on how well a school is delivering the basics.

Sure, schooling has evolved and now focuses on a child's overall development but it's always reassuring to know that a school is getting the basics right.

To me, literacy and numeracy are the foundations of a good education and any information on how a school is performing in these areas will be helpful for parents.

We are already given school reports on our child's performance and this new information will hopefully allow parents to get an indication of how effective their child's school is at delivering those skills.

Publishing the information is a step in the right direction and schools need to get over their fear of being compared. Parents will be able to assess whether their school is reaching the set standards and, if a school is not performing, be able to ask for improvement. This is a good thing.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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