NZ's education ranking plummets - OECD report

New Zealand educational achievement has dropped significantly in the core subjects of science, maths and reading, according to an OECD report.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins revealed the details of the report - which is due for release this evening - in the House today.

It showed that New Zealand's ranking had fallen from 7th to 18th in science, 12th to 23rd in maths and 7th to 13th in reading.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said she could not comment on the details of the report because it would not be released until 11pm.

Mr Hipkins said: "It's a wake-up call to the whole education system but also to the Government that their education approach isn't improving things and under National the decline of our education system is accelerating.

"The fact that is it such a significant decline is something that we should really wake up and pay attention to."

Ms Parata flagged the fall in the rankings in a speech last week.

She emphasised this afternoon that the report measured the performance of 15 year-olds who had not done National Standards, because the data was taken from the years 2001 to 2012.

The minister said National Standards data from 2011 to 2012 showed a "small overall improvement", with reading up 1.2 per cent, writing up 2 per cent and maths up 1.4 per cent.

"Obviously, we have data across two data points only and so it is early days.''

She said parents had told her they valued the clear information that National Standards provided about their children's progress.
 

 

Rapiti din don

Children sing 'Oma Rapiti', a fun variant of 'Run Rabbit Run'. This is a vast improvement on 'Frere Jacques'. I am not aware of Maori as a compulsory subject.

The full curriculum

Throughout the education system we have to watch out for new, add on subjects that clutter the curriculum. For example, years ago there was talk of having Peace Studies as a subject. While I am sympathetic to the principles and genuine intent of this movement, this would have been a bad idea. The sum effect would have been to turn many students off because the course content would have been too drawn out. The same goes with Gender and Media papers at uni. Very topical....and trendy... but do we really need more unemployed graduates from such papers?

Gender in teaching

Skinhat. According to this report (here ) this is not the case. i.e.

"In terms of female teachers, analysis of the New Zealand data was very interesting. It showed that there was indeed a correlation between achievement by gender and the gender of the teacher. It ran, however, against the hypothesis – the gap was smaller in classrooms taught by women teachers."

If this is true, the students should be getting better, not worse.

A rugby schooling

Sporting achievement has pride of place in many schools, taking up student time and money. To be fair, Sport should be in the NCEA, perhaps graduating to Sociology of Sport papers at Uni.

Politically incorrect

Interesting when these results are put alongside the Census report released today.  With the educational system captured by the politically correct treatment of Maori and the huge amount spent on the acquisition of Maori language by means of publically funded TV, radio, pre-school, school and University courses, it seems that it would make more sense to be teaching Hindi in our schools.  Maori seems to be spoken at home by a very small minority of the population and not used by most.  Indeed, there appears to be absolutely no research on any outcomes for this outpouring of public money for an oral expression of the re-writing of history.  It appears that no-one can say that it was money well-spent, or money wasted.

Fair enough if someone wishes to study the Maori language, but surely our resources need to be targetted at things that are going to lead to a difference.  Having a primary school kid learning the invented Maori word for "rabbit" or "internet" seems pointless.

There are only so many hours in the day for teaching at schools and surely to goodness the emphasis should be on teaching subjects that will result in maximum benefit, not to those with agendas to run.

Too much in school programmes.

Whether we have National Standards, or not, there does seem to be the realisation that more students are falling through the cracks. There is far too much packed into the school programmes, causing students to essentially miss out on acquiring the basics of more than adequate  literacy and numeracy. This is where schools should redirect their efforts. There are community groups which can cater for sports and cultural activities, outside of school hours, for those interested or with real ability.

Gender quotas for teaching?

Only 10% of teachers are male. Wondering if the gender imbalance has anything to do with with the lower scores. Back in 2001 the gender balance of teaching was 20% male (http://www.teacherswork.ac.nz/journal/volume3_issue1/harker.pdf page 7) and the student ranking were much higher. Perhaps male students respond better to male teachers.

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