Concerns over online school ratings

Education sector union NZEI has voiced concerns over Education Minister Hekia Parata’s comments to establish a new website to compare the performance of secondary schools.

After a visit to Australia, Parata said she welcomes the idea of parents being able to rate the performance of schools and teachers.

NZEI President Ian Leckie said international experience shows league tables “unfairly label children, schools and their communities and do nothing to improve student achievement”.

Minister Parata said NZ invests billions of dollars in the education sector and everyone is “entitled to know what value we are getting for that money”.

She said making information available is part of NZ’s democratic tradition and was one she wanted to see continue.

Establishing national standards for primary schools was one of National’s flagship policies in its first term.

Data about student achievement is due to be sent to the MoE by 31st May 2012.

Leckie said national standards for primary schools are not moderated and there is huge variation in the way schools are implementing them.

“It would be a case of junk information in and junk information out,” he said.

“Schools want to be held accountable, but that accountability cannot be based on a measure which is neither fair nor accurate,” Leckie said.

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