Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Who'd have thought?

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  • Alex Coleman,

    Gosh. Looks to me like he read Metro mag over the weekend.

    If we can only get him to read Bat-Bean-Beam next.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    "As usual, the left has underestimated Key. As he says, his Government is going boldly where no government has gone before. Others are struggling to keep up."
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/john-armstrong-on-politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502865&objectid=10816437
    Where does he get those wonderful toys?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    But why can't schools write their data the same way and in the same formats? I thought that was what Nat Stds was all about. Sameness.

    Hey! Youse schools!!

    Keep sending in data that is "ropey", "patchy", "difficult to interprete" and "difficult to create anything coherent for parents".

    Waaait a minute...we need a competition. Which school sends in the "best" set of (incomprehensible) data wins a special needs teacher.

    Oh dear....

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    John Key’s government did. They rode it as a campaign slogan in 2008, shoved it through under urgency within weeks of taking office, refused to allow a trial, bullied schools and their boards into doing their bidding, ignored most expert advice and came up with something that barely relates to the existing, carefully-developed curriculum. Who’d have thought there’d be a problem?d

    Not sure that that is a fair criticism. Key and his ministers have to have some degree of faith in those who are delegated the responsibility of developing and implementing the Standards and maybe that faith was a little misplaced. I still maintain that the idea is good even if the execution leaves something to be desired. And it is really a work in progress – or a trial if you like.

    Also - since when has significant structural change been popular or smooth?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    sounds like the schools need an excel template or some such modern day marvel to input the data into

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    I think the greatest danger to our education sector is the fallout and insinuation from Key's comment: "the data is ropey".

    This government won't blame themselves for setting up a vague system of measurement with ironically, no standard unit for measurement. Nor will they blame themselves for explaining no clear purpose for the standards. At various times they've been for identifying student achievement, identifying bad teachers, and now for comparing schools.

    This government will blame the education sector, in particular primary schools - and they will be setting up to institute National Testing.

    "If you can't make national standards work, we will make you do national testing. We (the taxpayer) need to see results from our educational system."

    (OECD and PISA results don't count.)

    Which is far more blunt, brutal and pointless than national standards.

    None of this conversation, despite the protestations/spin by Key and Parata has anything to do with educational outcomes, or parental expectations, or raising student achievement.

    But everything to do with a government seeking to control a sector of the public service that both the left and the right, struggle to manage.

    This government will not take the blame - nor will they be around to sort out the mess over the next 5-10 years, if we impose national testing on our education system.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis, in reply to bob daktari,

    sounds like the schools need an excel template or some such modern day marvel to input the data into

    And what data would that be ?

    As Russell says
    "It is inconsistent, narrow and not subject to meaningful moderation. Even the standards aren’t standard – different schools have quite different written interpretations of what they mean"

    Would that be one of those modern marvels of 'garbage in garbage out'

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Key and his ministers have to have some degree of faith in those who are delegated the responsibility of developing and implementing the Standards and maybe that faith was a little misplaced. I still maintain that the idea is good

    Most folks at the Ministry I encountered weren't delighted with National Standards, and worked on rolling them out with an apologetic air. If that means they betrayed the govt's 'faith' ok. They were also well aware of the effects of this type of testing on education in the US and the UK.
    Really curious: why do you 'still maintain the idea is good' ?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    John Key discussed them in that oddly passive way

    I think studying the corporate semiotics of the way John Key speaks repays closer attention. In understanding why he talks in the way he talks, we can perhaps grasp why his government so manages to control the intellectual agenda of a society where a high paying job as a managment bureaucrat in a well-recognised large corporate entity is seen as the ultimate marker of middle class success.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Most folks at the Ministry I encountered weren't delighted with National Standards, and worked on rolling them out with an apologetic air.

    Could be part of the problem. I like the idea because it is compatible with my philosophy of education which is, in a nutshell, setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations. Makes assessment and evaluation of performance so much easier on a broad scale as well as an individual scale.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Scott Chris,

    my philosophy of education is setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations.

    Except this is not a philosophy of education. It might be a suitable summation of the career goals of an obscure apparatchik in the department of weights and measures, but it is most certainly not suitable as a philosophy of education.

    This is a philosophy of education:

    “...every person regardless of background or ability had a right to an education of a type for which they were best suited”. And funnily enough it was uttered by a man gifted with much greater wisdom and insight into education than you.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Scott Chris,

    compatible with

    … but does not entail!

    my philosophy of education which is, in a nutshell, setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations. Makes assessment and evaluation of performance so much easier on a broad scale as well as an individual scale.

    As Tom says, this is not a philosophy of education, but a philosophy of management into which the word “educational” has been shoehorned.

    “Education”, as a social institution, has several (partly conflicting, partly competing) aims. We’ll all have our own ideas about what the relative priorities of these should be – and almost certainly, different levels of education must have different priorities – but we should at least recognise that they exist.
    They include at least the following:

    (i) socialisation to fit at least the minimal norms of behaviour necessary for social cohesion;
    (ii) delivery of information about the world;
    (iii) development of skills;
    (iv) increasing potential for success in life (which should be read as including, not merely “employability”, but enjoyment, thus including the identification and encouragement of students’ own interests);
    (v) evaluation – as a way of measuring students’ levels and abilities in order to assess appropriate further instruction; and as a way of measuring and improving the outcome of the education process.

    To the extent that these compete for time and resources, evaluation cannot be allowed to trump all other aims. And, if different types of education have different priorities among these aims, then it is not possible to apply one standard management solution across the board.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    And funnily enough it was uttered by a man gifted with much greater wisdom and insight into education than you.

    And your point in saying that is?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Apart from the tone, what Tom was saying is the same as what I said, i.e. :
    if you really think evaluation should be the number one priority of education, you’re ignoring a lot of what education is trying to do.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to linger,

    As Tom says, this is not a philosophy of education, but a philosophy of management into which the word “educational” has been shoehorned.

    I disagree. Philosophy:

    Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.

    Education:

    Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next

    Although I should have been more specific. I’m not talking about pedagogical methodology or ‘zones of optimal development', I’m talking about being able to measure the effectiveness of whatever practice is being used. How do you know a child is being ’educated’ if you don’t define what that education is and how that child is performing relative to that definition. First things first.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock, in reply to Scott Chris,

    First things first.

    Seems to me that you're putting the last thing first.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Scott Chris,

    If you're going to trust Wikipedia to define basic concepts without bias, care to have a look at philosophy of education ? Its scope is rather broader than you present it as.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to linger,

    To the extent that these compete for time and resources, evaluation cannot be allowed to trump all other aims.

    Which is what has happened in the US, as Jolisa has explained: the shift to "teaching to the test" has tragically dumbed down education itself there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Does anyone recall much teaching-to-the-test in NZ high schools during the everything-depends-on-your-end-of-year exam era for School-C and Bursary?

    I was 'lucky' enough to go through towards the end of that era when up to 30% of the final grade could be internally assessed ... although some subjects like English remained 100% final exam.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    I do remember some degree of "teaching to the test", especially for Scholarship exams -- though, fortunately, this was not merely in terms of learning facts, but (mostly) in developing strategies for thinking about problems -- which my teachers recognised as the best preparation for the range of possible test questions.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    Readers of the above may be interested in the observation that the Finnish system spends 30 times as much on PD for teachers than it does on student testing. I found this article very interesting and helpful in understanding the aims of education reforms like national testing, league tables etc. http://www.pasisahlberg.com/blog/?p=234

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Scott Chris,

    The philosophy o' education (no, I'm not being jaunty, the letter on my keyboard between d and g has been rendered unusable) is a many splendoured thing. I am a kindergarten teacher in the public sector, and this is our philosophy. I know it inside out, because I wrote it.

    The teachers at <redacted> Kindergarten believe that early childhood education lays the foundation for a child to become an engaged and powerful learner in their own world.
    We make this belief manifest by welcoming children and their whanau, and encouraging the learning community to explore and discover this environment in a way, which recognises individual strengths and competencies. We acknowledge and value parents as first teachers.
    We encourage children to grow as learners by enabling them to explore all areas of the kindergarten, and by celebrating who they are as unique competent, witty, strong human beings with their own view of the world.
    We believe that we build a loving and effective learning community by supporting families in their endeavours and listening to their stories without judgement.
    We value the concept of whetumanawa– that every child has innate creativity and a rich imagination – and we treasure the opportunity to build on children’s’ prior experiences and knowledge, making authentic links for them by allowing them to explore at their own pace, in their own way; by recognising the importance to the brain and body of making connections; and we recognise and value peer learning by encouraging the healthy and organic growth of reciprocal relationships.
    We believe that teachers are most effective when at the child’s level – seeing the world through the child’s eyes and remembering what it is to be a child, and what it means to experience the world in a joyous and wonder filled way. We feel that it is vital that children are heard, and that we make it clear to them that what they say is valid and interesting. We take joy in all that children do and say and we embrace and strive to embody the concept of taha Tinana – “the sheer joy of being human”. (Pere 1991)

    There is another document which I wrote to support this philosophy which breaks down each component in detail to show how our philosophy is enacted. Which is not relevant to this discussion.

    And your supposition that we need to know how a child is being educated? Well, that's what ERO is all about. We already have learning outcomes that are measureable. I have no idea why we need more and more, when we already have them in place.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis, in reply to Scott Chris,

    Could be part of the problem. I like the idea because it is compatible with my philosophy of education which is, in a nutshell, setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations. Makes assessment and evaluation of performance so much easier on a broad scale as well as an individual scale.

    Many of a schools educational aims are not about assessment results and therefore virtually impossible to measure. If a school wants it's students to learn to respect one another, or respect diversity, or relate well to others, or become life long learners, or develop self responsibility, or get involved in co-curricular activities etc etc you can't really measure them aside from rudimentary, unreliable ways. You can work out ways you might 'teach' those things or facilitate them but at the end of the day you'd have to go back and interview every single student a few years after they left and get their opinion about how well you did.

    The way the debate is going in the media and with the government we'll just end up telling the kids to beat the living crap out of each other, wag school as much as you like, deal drugs, abuse your teachers and classmates, and here's the answers for the test, copy them into the blank spaces and wow, we've got the highest pass rates in the schools history!!!!!! I won't be getting fired this month phew!

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Scott Chris,

    How do you know a child is being ’educated’ if you don’t define what that education is and how that child is performing relative to that definition.

    Because you trust the professionalism of their teachers. All my teacher friends are ADAMANT that they know exactly how their pupils are doing. By and large, teachers are overworked, underpaid, and passionate about ensuring every kid achieves their best.

    And the content of what they learn, that’s laid out in the curriculum. That’s already standard.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Scott Chris,

    I like the idea because it is compatible with my philosophy of education which is, in a nutshell, setting clear educational aims and expectations and measuring the level of attainment relative to those stated aims and expectations.

    That philosophy might work for Auckland Grammar and Kings’ et al, which don’t have to put up with ‘problem students’, for the simple fact they’re blocked out in the first place. For those down the food chain, it’s not much more than getting a bigger hammer to fit square pegs in round holes.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

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