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National standards have no place in classrooms of today

By Catherine Knowles, Thu 4 Jun 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Denise Torrey, president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), has released a statement saying ‘judging learning by standard responses has no place in modern schools’.

This statement was in response to the news that a sample of schools’ national standards maths results compared to results using a newly developed online tool were considerably different.

This led to Torrey highlighting the flaws of standardised systems and how these tools have no place in a twenty-first century classroom.

According to Torrey, standardised practices are out-dated, can never have a positive impact on children's learning, and cost millions of dollars. She says the NZPF is strongly opposed to such tools.

“Any tool based on national standards, whose flaws have never been resolved, is not going to offer helpful information to advance children’s learning,” she says.

Torrey recognises that it is easy to rely on standardised practices, but says it’s important to focus on other areas.

“Politically our education system has been captured by the OECD and its obsession with standardised measures such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which produces country-level league tables.

‘The OECD has been publishing these league tables for years, but there is no evidence that they have had any impact on student achievement,’ she says.

“As school principals we listen to international experts who are telling us that the skills children need to be global citizens and contribute in a twenty-first century work force are critical thinking, problem solving, team work and entrepreneurship.

“That is why as leaders of learning in our schools, we are encouraging teachers to pursue pedagogies such as ‘inquiry learning’ and placing our children at the centre so they are fully engaged with what they are learning and how they are learning it,” she says.

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