Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down

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  • HenryB, in reply to Ross Mason,

    The other element of the Parata zero sum equation should be taken with a grain of salt too. As Professor John O'Neill has pointed out in a very interesting letter to the Minister, Hattie himself says that "All the meta-analyses on the relation of the quality of teaching to learning come from student ratings of teachers by college and university students" (Visible learning pg. 115, my empases).

    I would have to admit that, as a long time teacher of first year classes in a tertiary setting, whether there were 150 students or 120 in my class didn't make a huge difference to student achievement in those classes but I would never have thought anyone would think to extend the logic of that to teaching in primary and secondary schools.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    Problem is, we have no reliable method of assessing teacher competency in our public schools.

    I understand the most recent PISA results are out and indicate that NZ school children are in the top five country's across the board. And NZ schools are in the bottom five of funding.
    Perhaps the gap between funding and results might be the teacher competency?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Are you sure? My guess is that such measures exist, they may not be simplistic enough for politicians or herald editors though.

    Kind of question it might be worth asking a graduate with a degree in education.

    Hmmm trust me this is harder than it looks most measures conflate likeability with effectiveness.

    As for tools for assessing quality in HE the majority of those employed do not meet basic requirements of measurement; not least because they are anonymous and therefore direct links to student achievement are hard to make.

    Management don't care as much as they should about this

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    most measures conflate likeability with effectiveness

    though this isn't entirely unjustified, the common ground being the effect on student motivation.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 849 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Agreed but engagement is like water; easy to waste without the right tools. And I would not be the first to admit to falling for that one. The other problem is that likeability/engagement is often tied to expectancy effects.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Can I just say that it's telling and admirable the way you've all gone for the actual policy issue, rather than pontificating about who won and lost?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18503 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to David Chittenden,

    They are certainly rather neo-liberal economically ideological but their overarching (unstated) ideology is to stop the stupid politicians from doing anything too excessive …

    Now if they can at least do an audit on the Roads of National Significance, they'll go some way to earning back some respect.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4055 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to John Holley,

    National Standards and NCEA are modifying behaviour of school management across the country. Here is an OIA for someone to make of secondary schools in relation to NCEA achievement rates:

    How many students, and why, do you exclude from your NCEA results at levels 1, 2 and 3?

    An interesting question. But it involves sending requests to 342 schools, 50% of whom won't answer and will require a followup, and 10% of which will need a complaint to the Ombudsman. In other words, a substantial amount of work. And that's without even thinking about data analysis...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    While Parata cops the flak the head of WINZ has resigned with stuff-all media attention, apparently after failing to come to terms with the realisation that her role was to act as window dressing while Paula Rebstock ran the show from the shadows. Then there's Nick Smith who, despite being sin-binned, talks up totalitarianism while his nominal successor as Local Government Minister does zilch.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3325 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to David Chittenden,

    There are economists who don't go along with the Treasury orthodoxy. In fact, NZ has a particularly hard-core right-wing monoculture amongst economists, compared to other nations. It would make sense for the next left-wing government here to repeople Treasury from overseas.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4355 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    There are economists who don't go along with the Treasury orthodoxy. In fact, NZ has a particularly hard-core right-wing monoculture amongst economists, compared to other nations. It would make sense for the next left-wing government here to repeople Treasury from overseas.

    Come to think of it... maybe there's no need to contract out Treasury, if someone like Tim Hazledine, or Brian Easton, or Ganesh Nana was appointed Treasury Secretary by a 6th Labour-led Govt. Or even Robert Reich, for overseas potential.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4055 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Murphy, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    There is a podcast of Paul Krugman here http://richmedia.lse.ac.uk/publicLecturesAndEvents/20120529_1830_endThisDepressionNow.mp3 (41MB) along with many others of interest available at the LSE here

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    So class size is number 40 but feedback, direct instruction and early intervention are in the top 10 you know all the things a small class size gives you the the opportunity to do… FFS you couldn’t make this up…

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    a frankly embarrassing column

    I’m always amused to find logical failures in basic precepts. For example, that comment is based on some fundamentally flawed assumptions: (A) sometimes, something John Roughan writes would not be embarrassing* and (B) he has the intellectual capacity for embarrassment.

    Anyway, look at his hair – that man is in obvious and deliberate competition with Donald Trump and Peter Dunne. He clearly has not even the slightest concept of dignity, perception or integrity if he sees them as his rivals.

    Jane Clifton said much the same – in longer sentences and even longer paragraphs – in The Listener.

    At least she can write paragraphs. John Bloody Armstrong, oy vey... (I claim the right to use that lament on account of my Jewish stepfather).

    *Are you perhaps thinking of the famous thought experiment of the infinite number of monkeys? Do you suppose that if Roughan writes enough, perhaps he might by sheer chance say something that is intelligent, without pomposity and perhaps even witty?

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    This year, we encountered a situation at tertiary level where, I believe, new, results-conscious management treated our older boy that way – not on the basis of his actual achievement but because he looked like a risk. That was bad enough. Had we been fighting for his rights at primary level it would have been much worse. But I suppose that’s not John Roughan’s problem, is it?

    Flippancy aside, I'm afraid that your experience is probably not going to be unique. As a professional in the tertiary sector with autism, I've had to deal with some very personally demeaning behaviour from a supposedly senior academic who should have known better.

    However on the other hand, I've also worked with another senior academic who has been very gracious, pragmatic and sympathetic and who has allowed and encouraged me to aid a potentially brilliant student with Asperger's who has had to deal with an architectural and teaching situation and assignment briefs that clearly show severe neurotypical biases. I've forestalled a serious panic attack or two by them thanks to having learned my own coping strategies, but really, it shouldn't depend onsomeone with my experience fortuitously being there.

    Of course on Planet Roughan, such people just have "issues" (that was the word I heard from the former... um... "individual") and just have to get over them.

    One would have hoped that university-level faculty would know better...

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    oh look I'M totally reasonable and down with teh gays but we shouldn't let them adopt because my kids will bully theirs

    God, I didn't even read that nonsense beyond the blurb. "Look, don't get me wrong, I'm not a bigot - I'm quite reasonable and, really, some of my best friends are [insert any and every group here], but let's be reasonable..."

    The Oatmeal has the best onomatopoeiac summation: "Hork! Hork! Blorch!"

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kracklite,

    He used to have his moments of usefulness. A sad decline much like Chris Trotter and Paul Holmes. Lot to be said for organisations gracefully easing out those past their prime (which is not necessarily related to age, I'd add).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Can I just say that it's telling and admirable the way you've all gone for the actual policy issue, rather than pontificating about who won and lost?

    I think it is a case of delving deeper than the kneejerks. Having a look at the list it is striking that of the top 15 or so "Quality Teaching" is about the only thing a politician (or Treasury nerd) could possibly suggest they might be able to do something about student achievement. Likewise looking down to the bottom of the list and working up it is fairly obvious that "Classsizes" stands out as something a politician might be able to do something about.

    It was all rather obvious really........

    Why didn't they pick "Calculators"? And remember the Nats were the ones that brought back the school pie and chips to school life. Number 41 and..well...now probably sunk even lower!!!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • James, in reply to Ross Mason,

    5 Quality of teaching 808 0.67
    ...
    40 Classsize 2559 0.13

    These numbers are being quoted as if they're regression coefficients .. which they may be. But in what units? I'd be interested in seeing them converted to dollars. As in, how many dollars does it take to buy one unit of teacher quality per class? And how many dollars to buy one unit of smaller class size?

    Maybe you'd find that adding a million dollars to "class size" would improve education more than adding it to 'teacher quality'.

    Or more than "banish all technical education from years seven and eight, while pretending it's something about class sizes".

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kracklite,

    I've forestalled a serious panic attack or two by them thanks to having learned my own coping strategies

    Onya. Autism NZ are setting up a formal peer mentoring scheme for aspies. Don't really know details.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James,

    banish all technical education from years seven and eight

    Key apparently bandying attack lines today about those teachers being doddery "Aunty Betty" characters. Dick.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16262 posts Report Reply

  • James, in reply to Sacha,

    Real currency traders don't need to know metalwork?

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Sacha,

    I've often described Key as political comfort food for voters. After eating it, you just want to be sick.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Kracklite,

    That said, it's interesting that he doesn't even bother to hide his contempt now - and this isn't the first time by any means. Is that all he has? Is the ennui setting in? Will that be broadly felt soon?

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Sure! I don’t think the Treasury is quite as political as some here have suggested. They are certainly rather neo-liberal economically ideological but their overarching (unstated) ideology is to stop the stupid politicians from doing anything too excessive …

    Which is a highly political viewpoint.

    Fundamentally, the structural set up of the New Zealand civil service is fucked, and has been since the '84 Labour government reformed it. It will need to be fixed, at one point or another.

    The role Treasury has had here is deeply concerning. It raises real questions about Makhlouf's job. He is meant to be an impartial professional civil servant. I do not see how he can continue in his role following such a high profile, and highly embarrassing, intervention in politics. He should resign.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1262 posts Report Reply

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