Reading the published National Standards results in the Southland Times resulted in the following letter:
The countries that have the highest educational performance do not use league tables. League tables turn the evaluations they are based on into "high stakes" assessments that do not focus on the broad needs of children. Teachers and schools will now give an inordinate amount of time to boosting the results in one area of our curriculum to the detriment of everything else. It saddens me that we will soon be changing our successful teaching and learning culture to that of education systems ranked well beneath us.
National Standards have provided us with some unmoderated and highly suspect data with which to compare schools and yet only two of the eight learning areas are covered and there is no reference to any of the following:
- The number of children who have English as a second langauge.
- The number of children who have disabilities (learning, physical or behavioural) and the ability of the school to meet those needs.
- The range of cultural backgrounds within a school.
- The number of transient children in a school.
- The progress made by children while attending the school.
- The other curriculum areas that are also important: Science, The Arts, Social Sciences, Technology, Health and Physical Education, Languages.
- The Key Competencies that refer to the capabilities necessary
for being a successful learner and citizen.
- The levels of emotional and physical safety provided by the school.
- The levels of parental and community support.