The majority of people polled think schools should publicly release their national standards performance data.
Results from a Herald-Digipoll survey showed 60.3 per cent of people agreed that schools should be forced to release the information.
However, NZ Principals Federation president Paul Drummond said he had spent years telling people why teachers felt the information would not be credible.
The opposition to National Standards has been based on the principle that lots of similar countries have tried this and it always turns into a disaster, but I think this opposition to the idea of national standards has diluted the criticism of the actual policy as implemented by Anne Tolley and Hekia Parata.
The case for national standards is that parents should be provided with meaningful information about schools so they can make informed choices about their children’s education. But National hasn’t done that – instead they’ve provided meaningless information so that parents can make uninformed, and possibly terrible choices about their children’s education. I’m not sure why they’ve done this, but they have, and the Prime Minister has been pretty relaxed about admitting so.
Here’s a graph showing the results of the individual schools performance weighted for decile (I’ll put the methodology in the comments section). It shows roughly similar outcomes across the deciles and a huge range of variation within the deciles. But the raw data doesn’t show this – so will the government’s policy cause people to take their kids out of a high performing decile one school and move them to a low performing decile five school, say, thus reducing the quality of their education? Probably. I also suspect we’ll see problems based on the narcissism of small differences: people seeing that other local schools have higher – but statistically meaningless – results, and moving their children there because they want their kids to have ‘the best school.’ That’ll happen even if the data is robust, but because of National’s incompetence, many of those parents will be moving their children out of good schools – which are close to where they live and filled with their friends – and into bad schools.
(That decile 2 school at the top – technically the ‘best school in the country’ – is the small, mostly Maori Bluff Community School. Congratulations guys.)