So the release of the National Standards data makes it easy to do all sorts of incredibly dubious analysis on the incredibly dubious dataset of National Standards results (check out Arahunga School’s results – just one of many ‘what the?’ moments when looking through the raw data).
But looking at the relationship between class size and standards is actually a bit tricky – that information is spread across three different datasets. Standards in one, teacher numbers in another, student numbers in another. And then, when you do measure that data and see the link between class size and results, it’s instantly, really obvious that the special schools are skewing the trend.
So maybe the Herald on Sunday did that analysis, and just didn’t notice the special schools, or did notice and didn’t care. But it strikes me as awesomely convenient that Hekia Parata, the same Education Minister releasing the National Standards data was humiliated and forced to back down on her signature budget policy just a few months ago when she argued that class size didn’t matter, and that larger classes were better.
I wonder if the Herald on Sunday were scammed by the Minister’s office on this one?
Update: HoS editor Jonathan Milne called me to clarify that (a) they ran the analysis with and without the special schools, and acknowledged that the trend is less-pronounced without them, but still there – which is why they angled on it, and (b) there’s commentary and analysis of the data and results in the hard copy that hasn’t made it online yet.