School Tests

Government Gets Fail Mark
on New School Tests

3rd November 2009

The announcement by John Key that the Government will bring in national tests at primary and intermediate school level has caused a furore among teachers and parents — and a lot of confusion.

So Kapiti Independent News has asked Janet Secker,a well-known local educationalist, to  appraise the scheme.

Janet Secker taught at secondary school level in the UK for many years, served as a deputy school principal, and has wide experience in community education.

She was president of Kapiti WEA for many years and is now chair of  Friends of the Kapiti Coast District Libraries.

Janet SeckerJanet Secker reports:

It seems to be the usual story.

New Zealand is about to instigate testing in schools at the same time that the UK has decided that this policy, which has been in place for more than ten years in Britain, has led to a much lower standard of education.

The British scheme has also penalised the very pupils which it was supposedly set in place to help.
National testing in N.Z. schools will mean that the curriculum will be limited to pushing the Three R’s and teachers will have to concentrate on these.But of course reading and writing are learned through widening children`s interests and stimulating their intelligence, and the primary school years are the time to open children`s minds to new experiences.

Children who have learning difficulties are in more need of this sort of stimulation than any others.

Our government claims that parents want to know how their children are progressing.

I suggest that parents who care already know how their children are progressing, and if there are problems they will seek help. Parents who don`t care, or who struggle to earn a living, will have other priorities.

The truth is that pupils` difficulties at school have always gone hand-in-hand with their socio-economic status, and this is where attention should be centred and money spent if we are to improve their lives.
Finally, when we discover the pupils who are below standard (as if teachers would not know already – but that`s another argument) is there going to be extra money to give them one- to- one tuition?  I don`t think so.And what about pupils who are proved to be above average? Will there be extra money to accommodate their special needs and encourage their intellectual growth?  I think not!


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