Yesterday, Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced that the requirement to report on National Standards will finish at the end of this year.The new government has talked about removing National Standards since it got into office a couple of months ago. However, yesterday it confirmed that it would be going ahead with this policy from next year.
I am aware that there has been a mixed response to this announcement from parents around the country and that some are wondering how they will get clear information about where there children are at in their learning in 2018 and beyond.
As a school, we have a comprehensive assessment process and collect many forms of data - some of which are nationally- normed - to support our judgements about progress and achievement. Making National Standards OTJs (overall teacher judgements) are only one measure of progress and achievement. Therefore, we are confident that our current assessment processes will continue to serve us well post-National Standards.
The big change may be with how we report to you. Currently we provide you with lots of information about each student's learning through ALF and the matrices. Twice a year we provide you with a summary report which tells you where your child is at in relation to National Standards - at, above or below, etc.
Early next year I will be seeking your thoughts about how you would like us to provide you summary information about your child's learning. What would you find most useful?
I also have as one of my priorities for next year to look at increasing the scope of what we assess. Currently the summary reports have been focused on the three core curriculum areas. However, recent consultation with our school community has acknowledged that good achievement of the basics in reading, writing and maths is important, but just as important are:
1. Happy, socially confident and adept young people with a can do attitude and a positive outlook on life (this encompasses good mental health and well being)
2. Motivated, self managing, continual learners
3. Resilience and grit
4. Ability to be inclusive, embrace diversity and work collaboratively and positively with others
5. Living "CAREfully" in the world - caring for our world and all its inhabitants.
One of my jobs next year will be to explore how we can usefully and meaningfully provide evidence of progress in relation to these very important characteristics. We have some ideas, but we will also seek input from you. The trick will be to ensure it is manageable but also meaningful.
I will organise a session next year to which you will all be invited to workshop ideas related to assessment and reporting.
Nga mihi nui
By Lesley Murrihy