Three-quarters of teachers are feeling unprepared and rushed as they work to implement national standards, a New Zealand Educational Institute survey has found.

Of more than 700 principals, 74 per cent said they had not had enough time or training to implement the national standards, which are designed as benchmarks for reading, writing and maths in primary schools.

However, Education Minister Anne Tolley said the majority of schools were getting on with implementing the standards in a professional manner.

Eight-four per cent of schools had taken part in the first round of national standards workshops and feedback had been positive, she said.

But just 18 per cent of survey participants said the development sessions would help to implement the standards.

Post Primary Teachers' Association president Kate Gainsford said her organisation was "sympathetic" towards the primary sector, because high school teachers had experienced similar problems eight years ago with the introduction of NCEA.

Mrs Gainsford said money and planning had had to provided retrospectively after NCEA was introduced in a similar manner.

"If we are not careful, the emphasis will be on putting these standards in place rather than teaching and learning," she said.

The national president of the New Zealand Educational Institute, Frances Nelson, said implementing the standards had been like "trying to build a plane in flight".

She said schools were under too much pressure and needed more time to ensure teachers were confident to carry out the standards in the classroom.

"The majority haven't even been put through training," Mrs Nelson said.

Only 10 per cent of principals believed the national standards would make a positive difference to student learning.

Mrs Tolley discredited the survey, saying the NZEI had been spreading misinformation about national standards. "This is yet another example of the union trying to manufacture a crisis which doesn't exist."

The New Zealand Principals Federation could not be reached for comment.