What’s the issue?

The Government says National Standards have been introduced to make sure that it can track the level of achievement of every student as they progress through their schooling. It says league tables – a ranking of schools based on their students’ National Standards results – will make schools and teachers more accountable and will identify schools that are under-performing and need further assistance.

The facts:

Every child deserves to have high expectations set by their teacher, along with an understanding of where they are in their learning right now. That’s because every child is unique – they learn at different rates and in different ways, they have different strengths and interests.

Unfortunately National Standards are a ‘one size fits all approach’ that provides a narrower education. The Standards were developed and imposed without any piloting or testing. Many children who achieve at or above the national average for their age group are being labelled as “failures” under National Standards. The Standards do not measure the significant strides in progress a child may have made either.

League tables based on unreliable data from the controversial National Standards will not give parents an accurate picture of how effective their school is. Overseas research shows league tables do not improve student achievement or school performance. Instead, they create “winner” and “loser” schools, cause division in communities and unfairly label schools and their students as failures.

Read why more than 170 Kiwi academics oppose primary school league tables.

Read more research about league tables in the UK here


National Standards League Tables – Talking with Parents

 The publication of National Standards student achievement data may also raise questions in parents minds about ways they can assess schools.  It’s important parents know they are welcome in schools, and that there are many ways of find out about schools – through their child’s teacher, ERO reviews, school website and of course newsletters. It’s also an opportunity to have conversations between teachers, principals and parents about why league tables undermine high quality education – you can download and distribute a flier that asks “Will National Standards make a difference to your child’s learning“, and also use the brief Q&A below to help with these discussions.

1.  Why are league tables for primary schools bad for kids?

League tables will unfairly label many children, their schools and their communities as failures.  League tables would be based on unreliable data from National Standards which only measure literacy and numeracy, not the child’s whole learning progress and achievement.  League tables drive schools and teachers to narrow their teaching to what is measured and ‘high stakes” rather than work out what teaching and learning suits your child.

 2.  Why does the Government want to produce league tables?

The Government says it wants league tables to increase the accountability of schools and give parents more information about how their school compares with others.
However, giving parents unreliable and invalid information is not going to achieve real transparency. Teachers know far more about your child’s achievement than National Standards can tell you. And there are multiple ways of finding out how effective your school is – by visiting it and meeting the principal, reading its regular review by the Education Review Office, talking to other families, visiting the school website and reading recent school newsletters.

 3. Aren’t league tables a good way of comparing how good your school is with others?

Crude league tables are likely to simply reflect the socio-economic status of the school’s student community. They cannot give you a rich picture of how effective the school is. Such league tables will reinforce prejudices about particular communities, not lift performance by schools.

Fight the GERM

Find out more about how League tables and National Standards fit into the GERM agenda

Watch a video showing why National Standards are invalid as an assessment tool