Thousands of parents will have been left confused about whether their children were on track to meet National Standards judging by the state of their school reports.
A new Ministry of Education report has found that only a third of the reports sent home at the end of last year contained the required National Standards information - and were easy enough for parents to understand.
Schools are now required to tell parents how their child is achieving in relation to National Standards in maths, reading and writing and they must do it in a way that is free of any educational jargon.
However, according to the ministry's report, part of a three-year study into the implementation of the controversial standards, almost half of the country's primary schools still have work to do to meet those requirements.
Although it found 48 per cent of the schools sampled sent home reports adequately describing achievement, nearly a third failed to sufficiently say how they were doing in relation to National Standards. A further 21 per cent did not even mention the standards.
The survey also considered how clearly reports were set out in terms of text, tables and graphics - and how easy they were for parents to understand. It found only 42 per cent were easy. However, only 35 per cent were easy to understand and contained the required information.
However, schools were better at telling parents their child's next learning steps and nearly two-thirds included actions families could take to support learning at home. Just over half of all schools designed a new report format last year, while nearly two-thirds of teachers said it took them longer to write the reports than in previous years.
The ministry's report also found most principals felt they were minimally supported or unsupported by the ministry and that they continued to be "very concerned" about the unintended consequences of National Standards, such as league tables and the demotivation of students who are consistently below the standards.
The other key area of the report looked at Overall Teacher Judgments - the way teachers work out where each child is at in reading, writing and maths in relation to the National Standards.
It found teachers used a variety of assessments and were "very confident" in both the accuracy of the OTJs they had made and the consistencies within their schools. Approximately a third of the schools were involved in moderation with other schools.
Education Minister Anne Tolley, who has faced a lot of opposition from the sector on the standards, said the report was "really encouraging" considering the evidence was gathered during the first year of implementation.
"Despite the fact that schools had just started working with the standards, the study found that most boards had the confidence to implement the National Standards, and felt they had a good understanding of them.
"It was also heartening to see that teachers were very confident in both the accuracy and consistency of their judgments- something which was shared by principals."
She said the reporting was "very promising, and I know that great gains have already been made this year".
However, educational sector union NZEI said the report provided yet more evidence that National Standards would not work.
President Ian Leckie said: "The Government must engage with the sector on finding meaningful ways to raise student achievement."
USE OF NATIONAL STANDARDS IN SCHOOL REPORTS
* None - 21% of schools don't mention the standards at all.
* Insufficient - 31% of schools refer to the standards but don't sufficiently describe achievement measured against them.
* Sufficient - 48% of schools sufficiently describe achievement in relation to the standards.
A GOOD REPORT THAT'S EASY TO UNDERSTAND?
* 35% contained the required information and were easy to understand.
* 26% had the information but weren't difficult to understand.