The kids have headed back to school and are settling back into the curriculum. But how will parents know how their child is progressing now that the National Standards framework has been removed from schools with immediate effect?
National Standards was controversially brought into effect for primary and intermediate schools back in 2008. Parents, teachers and kids were introduced to the new system and meetings were held at many schools to explain how the changes would affect not only what was reported back to parents, but also how teaching would take place in classrooms. National Standards data was reported back to the Ministry of Education and results were published for each school in the country.
The problem with National Standards
National Standards was criticised for pigeon-holing students and not acknowledging the different ways and pace at which children learn. The National Standards system rated a child’s performance in maths, reading and writing against a set of standards. Children were either “above standard”, “below standard”, or “well below standard”. Some schools adopted different ways to communicate these ratings to parents, often softening the language used in reporting to, for instance, “exceeding standard”, “meeting standard”, or “working towards standard”.
The framework did not reflect on how an individual student had progressed in their own learning. Whilst children were striving to do better, they were constantly compared to an imaginary student who met all expectations.
National Standards also did not take into account other subjects, like science, music, art, technology and practical subjects. Children who were more “hands-on” were forgotten within the reporting. Schools felt pressure to meet targets and in some cases, more resources were seen to be put towards getting those children who were “below standard” over the line, often at the expense of those who were “well below standard”.
Now The Ministry of Education is working with the Government to replace National Standards with a new system that they hope will better refelect the individual progress that a child makes throughout their schooling with a focus on developing key competencies for all.
Until the new system is introduced, schools have been advised by The Ministry of Education to use the tools they now have for reporting on progress and achievement by students.
“Schools and kura will still be required to report to parents, at least twice a year, on their child’s progress and achievement, especially in the foundational learning areas of maths, reading, and writing. But schools and kura will no longer be required to use National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori for this reporting.” The Ministry of Education https://www.education.govt.nz/news/national-standards-removed/
General information on how children are progressing on a national level will come from the National Monitoring of Student Achievement (NMSA). The NMSA tests thousands of students on different areas of the curriculum to report on our current education levels and has been in use since 2012.
How would you like schools to report on your child’s learning?
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