OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Because Statistical Rigour

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  • Steve Parks,

    I think it’s pretty disingenuous to say that the data isn’t moderated so schools aren’t directly comparable, then feature a school comparison tool as the main way of navigating the data.

    Also, as Giovanni Tiso pointed out on Twitter, you have John Hartevelt saying: "Anyone who read the National Standards results as a proxy for quality would be quite foolish."

    Meanwhile, the Dom Post exclaims "NATIONAL STANDARDS: HOW YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL RATES

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The same day the NS data was published there was a post on Facebook from a sad but resigned mother reporting that her local school had rejected the enrollment of her almost 5 year old autistic daughter. She had decided she hadn’t the energy to fight for the legal right of her daughter to attend the local school, and had found another more inclusive – although further away – school where her daughter could start her school career.

    But the publishing of the NS league tables will only reinforce the efforts of a large proportion of schools to do everything possible to exclude students who might ‘damage’ their data.

    I think some of us predicted this in December 2008, at the beginning of the NS saga.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3213 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Steve Parks,

    Meanwhile, the Dom Post exclaims "NATIONAL STANDARDS: HOW YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL RATES

    Praising Hartevelt's "good reporting" may be gracious but it is also quite misguided, since at the same time as he appears to be saying look, a school is not only those things, and you have to consider what it does for the most vulnerable, his paper sells the tables that directly harm the right to an education of those very same kids. It's hypocrisy of the highest order.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ben Gracewood has considered the Herald on Sunday's dumbarsed attempt to use the data to back a proposition that large schools and classes improve your child's education and demonstrated that the key to your school achieving well is for it to have a name starting with "i".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Dim Post also has a look at that class size point: Well below standard in analysis.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    But wait...
    There is more
    Dolphin vote 'tarnishes NZ's reputation'

    New Zealand is the only country to vote against further protection for the critically endangered Maui's dolphins at the world's largest conservation summit.

    This is truly innovative thinking. By doing this our guvnorment can sell the rights to drilling for oil on the seabed without breaking an international treaty to protect our own wildlife. We could even render down dolphins for lamp oil for the poor to use in the mines. Oh joy, prosperity is on the horizon (just beyond the dead mammals).

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the key to your school achieving well is for it to have a name starting with “i”

    An Apple for the teacher.
    Yay, the Apple iSchool.
    <pads off to another Galaxy with friendly Android, i have an awful pain in the diodes down my left arm>

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Parks,

    Dim Post also has a look at that class size

    and his post before that one shows a shocking relationship between notional standards and decile.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Sacha,

    The list of people who should be writing for Stuff Nation is increasing.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Parks,

    cos there's no other way to get read, right? :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • lynne walker, in reply to Sacha,

    Hi A friend who teaches at a decile 1 school just told me this tale. Class news, Birthday. The child gets given $40.00 for her birthday from her uncle.. She is very happy. Her news is that he mum needed it to take the washing to the laundomat.
    She tells her news in a usual way, not upset, this si the way life is. This is the reality for so many of our children. So don't make light of it
    And it's kind of refreshing ( not in an ideal way)_, none of that precious I want the new ipad or new nikes.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2011 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to ,

    the only ones making light of this are dolts like Hide, thanks

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    But the publishing of the NS league tables will only reinforce the efforts of a large proportion of schools to do everything possible to exclude students who might ‘damage’ their data.

    I think some of us predicted this in December 2008, at the beginning of the NS saga.

    Despite coming from a high-decile background, I was a 'socially maladjusted' special needs student, probably due to undiagnosed Aspergers. My parents sent me to private under the mistaken belief it would sort things out - they found out the hard way that money doesn't always buy achievement, and that bigger hammers can't fit square pegs into round holes. In hindsight, they pointed the finger at Tomorrow's Schools for failing to cater for people of my type. I had a good rant about my educational experiences on my blog a few months ago.

    The Internet has done far more to get me to where I am now, than the education system ever did.

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    And this is perhaps one of the starkest statements on National Standards so far:

    "As Wendy Sheridan-Smith walks through the playground, children run to hug her. Their fingers toy with a keepsake penny on the deputy principal's necklace.

    "Is this money Miss?" one asks.

    This is Rowandale Primary School in South Auckland.

    These children do not have toothbrushes at home. Many rely on the decile 1 school for breakfast and sometimes lunch. Some - extraordinarily - have never driven across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

    These children are not the national standard.

    Principal Judd McLauchlan says it is impossible to measure the pupils against national standards when they come from backgrounds of poverty and sometimes violence."

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    And John Hartevelt could do worse than to read the wisdom of his compatriot Jonathan Milne on the class-ridden British education system.

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

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    At the recent Autism NZ conference, Tony Attwood mentioned that he now reckons that 100% of kids on the autism spectrum experience bullying. Having to deal with National Standards against that background must be even harder.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3213 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Back in the 80s at Auckland's Avondale College the 'specials' were let out 20 minutes early so they could make it home without being rolled for their bus fare, which the bullies reputedly fed to the spacies machines. As special classes were thinly spread it could be an awfully long walk home.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Steve Parks,

    That's my view. What we can learn from the data published so far is that... the bought media have no clue when it comes to statistics but will do anything to get a reader. Well, we can reiterate that point. Most of us already knew that.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    a sad but resigned mother reporting that her local school had rejected the enrollment of her almost 5 year old autistic daughter. She had decided she hadn’t the energy to fight for the legal right of her daughter to attend the local school, and had found another more inclusive – although further away – school where her daughter could start her school career.

    A common story from what I hear. It’s fucking atrocious that schools are getting away with this … and everyone knows they’re getting away with it … and nothing ever happens to make them, y’know, obey the law. Basically I think parents need to start covertly recording the conversations in which it’s made clear their child is not welcome at their local schools. These conversations would illustrate that as far as the schools are concerned the law (as well as basic human decency) be damned.

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

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    On the subject of 'failing in writing':
    Within a short space of time, my Year 8 lad received the following assessments of his writing:
    'Below expectations' from one teacher.
    'At expectations' from another teacher a short while later (having moved schools/cities).
    And a Distinction pass in the ICAS exam for writing run by the University of New South Wales.

    It makes me really, really angry. I'm not for a moment suggesting that we should be looking to some overseas system for validation, but just pointing out the wild inconsistencies. And it was horrible to see the confidence sapping effects of that poor assessment.

    Meanwhile the Press wades in with more obnoxious sniping at the profession.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 825 posts Report Reply

  • Aaron Dick, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    While I understand your frustration with this, it is exactly this sort of story that they are going to bring in actual National Standardised testing, which brings with it all the non-creativity, teaching to the test, etc that we have been warning about this whole time.

    Did you get any reference to the actual tests or OTJ activities used to make those judgements? Were the schools telling you where your child would be at the end of the year or just where they were now (Often below as the Standard is for the end of the school year)?

    We have never been told where the line is for the Standards properly. A lot of us are hoping we've guessed right when converting the developmental, precise, well-understood (by us) tests that we were already using to the W/B/O/A of the Standard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    After last week's false start, John Hartevelt may actually have redeemed himself.

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

  • Bart Janssen,

    Over the past 30 years the New Zealand education system has taken itself from a fairly standard empire derived system that performed pretty much on the average worlwide, to a world leading system.

    It did so largely because decision making was taken out of the hands of politicians and put in the hands of knowledgable educators who make careful tested changes and carefully monitored the system to make sure their changes did no harm. We had a system of which we could be proud.

    In less than two terms this government has made huge progress towards the destruction of that education system. With the pretty clear intent of shifting the education system into the hands of "for profit" enterprises and special interest groups.

    It is disgusting that newspapers like The Herald seem only too willing to play along and make a profit with sensational yet meaningless demonising of some the best schools in the country. At a time when the media should be leading the charge to save our education system from this mindless political meddling it is instead profiting by scaremongering of the worst kind.

    We had a world leading education system, we can still save it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    After last week’s false start, John Hartevelt may actually have redeemed himself.

    But the data is rubbish. You can't say anything from it. It's like prescribing chemotherapy on the basis of a consultation with a psychic.

    Even if what you say is kind of what you'd expect (poor schools struggle) it's still wrong to say it because it implies the data have any value at all. It also ignore the fact that we've known for ages poor schools need help, we've known long before these stupid standards were put in place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interesting commentary from the Herald on Sunday’s Jonathan Milne, who used to work for The Times Educational Supplement:

    The English regime is beginning to fall apart amid revelations of grade inflation – schools and bureaucrats pushing up the numbers each year so politicians can boast about education successes on the hustings.

    And, this year, the UK Government abandoned standardised writing tests for 11-year-olds.

    England’s stringent assessment regime has been widely panned. Yet strangely it is actually better in some respects than New Zealand’s new and shonky national standards.

    At least in England, the test results are checked and moderated before the inspectors print off the spreadsheets and decide which schools to close down.

    English schools are ranked on value-added data – how much children improve from one year to the next – rather than having the raw test results of privileged kids from the leafy suburbs compared directly with those from the concrete council estates.

    Value-added data has revealed some of the best teaching was being done in some of the poorest schools. It was in these schools that teachers were really making a difference.

    Here, the raw, unmoderated results of 5- and 6-year-old kids in the poorest corners of Otara and Cannon’s Creek will be lined up alongside those from Parnell and Khandallah.

    It’s odd how the papers are telling us national standards are misleading and destructive – but also drawing wild conclusions from the same standards data.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22811 posts Report Reply

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