Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: From soundbite to policy

401 Responses

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  • Ian MacKay,

    Tim: Great learning program! Enjoyed it muchly. Teaching/learning should be fun and meaningful. I do know many teachers whose enthusiasm is catching like yours, but have the feeling that the so called accountability over the last ten years has diminished that excitement. As for testing to standards what a disaster that would be!
    Someone above reckoned that the policy (Truancy or Testing?) was prepared by the Min of Education?????
    The long history of innovation in NZ Education has been driven from the classroom upwards. Huge strides in consttuctivism like Tim's program have come from the troops. Nearly all downward spirals like "behaviourism" have been driven from the top down. And they have failed. As for Politicians deciding Health decisions (Pharmac), or classroom practice (Testing) they must fail too.
    Taxpayers should demand that Private Schools should be subject to the same testing as State Schools---taxpayers money!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    if they're not relative to other countries

    You're the one who keeps talking about league tables. My points related purely to the situation here. So many 15 year olds operating at less than level 3 isn't good enough. Expecting that we should want more kids operating at above Level 3 isn't exactly reaching for the stars, unless you have particularly low expectations of our education system.

    Can we condone having over 30% of 15 year olds operating at level 2 or below? I'd have said that such a result is pretty appalling however you cut it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    And there will always be about 15-20% of a population who will be mentally unable to attain an average level. They simply can't but they are entitled to feel confident and proud of what they can do, rather than tested into believing that they are failures.
    80% plus are well and truly able and many are achieving far higher than we did but luckily we have forgotten the realities of our own failures.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    wouldn't you want their results listed along with all the others?

    Nobody is supposed to see any results. At least that is what Tolley thinks she can have (not thinking through freedom of information for a start) These Standards are Tolley set standards with a, for her eyes only results. This is a reason for a lot of the opposition. Here we have an inexperienced person with no expertise, making tests and results available to only herself, rushing a Bill through the House, under urgency, without any advice via Select Committee, thinking the entire country should let her decide what is best for all the children and parents of NZ. It is the duty of other parties to advise us of what is happening. Hell, I think this kind of presumptuous behaviour is not just arrogant, it is dangerous, and, I don't even have kids!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    AS: What a load of nonsensense.
    You could as easily say that it is dismal that there are not at least 80% of the adult population with Uni Degrees or higher. Or it is terrible that there are less than 30% who can high jump over 2 metres.
    Wasn't terrible that 50% could not pass SCert! Even if only the top brains in say Maths sat SCert, 50% would fail! Shame!
    Even people who write here might show a lack of intellect which might cause others to consider them to be ignorant and ill informed!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Ian,

    Taxpayers should demand that Private Schools should be subject to the same testing as State Schools---taxpayers money!

    so your in favour of these tests being introduced?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    If private schools got no state funding then I wouldn't be so concerned about them being excluded from testing. But since this new law seems to be about accountability I would like to see all schools included in the same testing regime. And have full ERO reporting.

    I think parents of private school students could be quite shocked by the results that could show quite poor levels of achievement. There are some commonly held false assumptions out there including that private schools have better quality teaching. Just as people assume that private hospitals provide higher quality surgery and care.

    By the way are the Exclusive Bethren schools included in John Key's extra millions for private schools?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    AS, it wasn't me that mentioned league tables, but we are already well linked in with proven global educational measures and I don't see many alternatives for setting standards.

    I'm all for aspirational targets as long as we're clear that's all they are. We simply don't have the resources or the classroom time to apply to reaching perfection. Although overall NZ seems to be performing above-average there's always room for improvement - and no, our bottom-end results aren't any more OK than our income disparity figures.

    I just doubt that Tolley's proposed approach will help improve those results. We can easily agree to disagree about that and I'll be happy to be proved wrong in another five years.

    Call me pragmatic but I figure if other countries have no better performance than ours then doesn't that say something about what is achievable in the real world? That's where our students will be living, working and applying their learning.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    perfection? in education?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    NO offence Sacha, but your (and not just your)reliance on statistics, and whatnot,, as opposed to an understanding of education as a very personalized process rendered student by student, day to day, lesson to lesson, point by point, is exactly the same supermarket production line line, that the politicians are pulling out.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    There are some commonly held false assumptions out there including that private schools have better quality teaching.

    Quite - it's rich parents that make the difference. Some years back I remember a big Christchurch study reported conclusively a direct correlation between a school's academic performance and the wealth of the families of its students, allowing for all other possible influencing factors. Funnily enough I don't recall the media making much of that finding.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    The testing in China is over the top, the sole purpose of education, is to prepare for the tests. the sole purpose of learning is to pass the test. the knowledge becomes secondary to the purpose of learning the knowledge; people emerge from the system having passed exams and learnt nothing.

    A student when asked, 'what is the population of Beijing?' Answered 'four billion'. The numbers were written on the board to clarify whether or not it was simply a language error. 4,000,000,000. (and only 9 million bicycles). This is an all to common problem , resulting from an education system emphasis testing over learning for learning's sake.

    having said that, he had learnt the numbers in English. But essentially what we have here, is a nation of ignorant specialists. A very useful demographic for mind control/ propaganda assimilation.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    And there will always be about 15-20% of a population who will be mentally unable to attain an average level. They simply can't but they are entitled to feel confident and proud of what they can do, rather than tested into believing that they are failures.

    In my classroom this is probably about right and no amount of standard setting is going to change this. These are not special needs children either. I see that my job as a teacher of these children is to ensure they reach their potential which may in fact be nowhere near the standards that will be set. For these kids there are still successes that they can achieve and these can be celebrated. I attended the ULearn conference in October and Professor John Hattie spoke. His message was yes, we have a tail of children achieving at lower levels and that our job is to see that they achieve to the best of their ability. He is also the man that has developed the AssTle resource which is an assesment package that can evaluate what the children know and can do and what their next steps are to make further progress. A far more valuable and educationally sound way of approaching assessment of children's learning.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Mark, I don't mind being pulled up but I reassure you I didn't mean to imply that numbers are more important than people (must knock off the demographic work) or to be reductionist about the learning process. I remember my father marking homework and discussing in the kitchen the individual encounters with students who made up his day. It's certainly a rich and complex dance even from the outside.

    Seemed sensible to reference stats to address statistical claims here, although it's not a specialist area so I may have missed some nuances.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And yes you're right it was numerical perfection I was talking about...

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    i hear you Sacha. Sorry, to be fair, I was picking on you in light of general trends emerging on this thread. Having mentioned your father, I can appreciate you have a deeper understanding of the forces at work than i gave you credit for.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Tony, Asstle, a rather unfortunate name. But, sounds like a goer... Yeah, I think the only real relevant measurements made are by those teachers and concerned parents directly involved and contributing to the students individual progress.

    When the teachers are alienated from the process, and relegated to the backseat in terms of helping to improve the system as we see with this legislation, then of course the Education system will suffer.

    There's been a lot of talk here about the students who develop slower etc, but I think, it's also worth mentioning that other side effect of standardized testing; the more capable students (of which there many), who, finding the standards easily attainable, lack necessary motivation to further themselves beyond maintaining these standards.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Ian

    You could as easily say that it is dismal that there are not at least 80% of the adult population with Uni Degrees or higher.

    Who is talking nonsense? We're talking about LITERACY and NUMERACY, you know being able to read or write or add numbers.

    We're not talking calculus or physics. We're not even talking school C, we're talking about kids who struggle to read and write. We should all have a problem with that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    You may have nailed it there. I recall a story from the production of Pinocchio , about the difficulty of creating an insect character. The solution was "a little guy with no ears".
    Whatever his strengths, fount-of-all-wisdom Roger has never given the impression of being a good listener.

    Thanks Joe. You've certainly improved on my metaphor. And to continue with Roger Douglas and metaphors, the only time I saw him in the flesh he was propping up a roulette table at the Christchurch casino. (I of course was merely a tourist, passing through.)

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    There are some commonly held false assumptions out there including that private schools have better quality teaching. Just as people assume that private hospitals provide higher quality surgery and care.

    Once again, I can personally attest to that. I was sent to an exclusive Decile 10 private school in ChCh in the mid-1990s, and what I experienced was partly something right out of Paul Graham's masterpiece, "Why Nerds Are Unpopular". I commonly found myself at the mercy of cashed-up-bogans and hyper-parochial farmers' sons.

    To cut a long story short, it was proof that money doesn't always buy intellect.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    AS: The point that I was making was that you would have to know what level is normal or average and that has changed steadily over the last 100 years. The IQ Tests from even 30 years ago have to be adjusted because each generation of children are more intelligent than the one before. Some will never reach the average.
    In NZ there is a higher standard of literacy and Numeracy than most other countries. But there is concern quite rightly for the bottom 20%. Many of these have health/social problems. Many have English as a second language etc. If you or they were really concerned, you/they would pour resources into helping this group. The millions it will cost to set up and run a standards testing system would go a long way to helping this tail including mentally impaired, featal alcohol syndome, autistic, deaf, blind, English second language, bullied, peer impaired and so on. But instead you think that testing and comparing will change things. It would depress and kill the necessary flame of excitement in learning. Think Tim, Jolissa and others.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Tony Parker: You know what you are talking about. Spot on. Now would you and Tim mind taking Min Ed Tolley into a dark corner and enlighten her, but do be gentle. She is really in the 20% tail end of understanding and needs gentle help!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    Kim Hill interviewed Malcolm Gladwell over the weekend and Education was one of the many things discussed.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    __You weren't prosecuted under the identical offence when it carried a $15 fine (max $150), why are you concerned that you would be now that it carries a $30 fine (max $300)?__

    Fair point - though the figures you give are wrong if the news reports are anything to go by: add another 0 to all of them.

    Different penalties for first offences and second offences. I'm presuming no-one who is concerned here (or about whom those who are here are concerned) has a previous conviction for truancy? If so, the fines are certainly as I describe them, and the law otherwise unchanged.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Kerry Packer, built a media empire, and he was profoundly illiterate.

    Not exactly - Packer was the third generation of an existing media empire, which was already pretty substantial by the time his dad Sir Frank - also rumoured to be somewhat cognitively challenged - popped off and left him in charge.
    Doesn't detract from your point, though. One thing about cognitive/behavioural disabilities, they certainly highlight the importance of personality.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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