Website plan for national standards data

By Kate Shuttleworth

Education Minister Hekia Parata will release information today on what form the online data will take. Photo / APN
Education Minister Hekia Parata will release information today on what form the online data will take. Photo / APN

The Ministry of Education will use a website to release national standards and achievement data from primary and secondary schools.

The Government has been asked this year if it will publish league tables to compare schools across New Zealand, but it has been careful to refer to the data as public achievement information.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata will release information today on what form the online data will take, but a spokeswoman for the minister said a website and a booklet were part of the plan and emphasised schools would not be compared with each other in league table fashion.

It is likely the information will be released on the Education Counts website - an existing New Zealand website containing education statistics.

The concept of using a website with information for parents has come from the Australian Curriculum Assessment Authority's My Schools website.

On the My Schools website you can view how many students are enrolled at a school, attendance rates, student-teacher ratios, total income of the school, and achievement rates in reading, writing and maths.

The spokeswoman for the minister said achievement data would not be used by the ministry to compare schools.

Prime Minister John Key said in July that the national standards data the ministry had collected from schools on how well children were doing in reading, writing and maths was "too ropey" to provide to parents.

Mr Key said it would be difficult for the ministry to create anything coherent for parents and more time was needed.

The controversial national standards policy for collecting data on achievement was introduced by National last term.

Mr Key originally said schools would be compared within the same decile group.

Last month it was revealed in an Education Review Office report that one in five primary and intermediate schools were not fully implementing national standards in reading, writing and maths.

Labour's education spokeswoman, Nanaia Mahuta, said presenting the data would give parents a blurred picture of achievement, given the data collected by the ministry had been patchy.

More than 100 of New Zealand's top education academics called on the Government in July to stop any plans to compile league tables.

"Data released in league table form will ... misinform rather than inform parent and community judgments about how well children are learning," they said in an open letter.

- APNZ

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