The government’s target of 85 percent of students achieving NCEA level 2 risks ‘credit farming’ in schools, warns secondary teachers’ union, the PPTA.
The PPTA’s president Angela Roberts says the 85 percent target is undermining the NCEA.
“The way that it’s being misused now, thanks to government pressure, risks damaging it beyond repair.”
Roberts argues that the target creates perverse incentives, which put teachers under pressure to get students as many credits as possible without regard for the quality and coherence of their learning programme.
TEU national president Sandra Grey says problems with NCEA will flow through to tertiary education.
“If students are getting qualifications that don’t match their skills and education they will end up under-prepared for the tertiary education qualifications that they later undertake.”
Grey said targets for qualification pass rates were also a problem in tertiary education.
“Qualification targets are bad for students because they pressure schools, institutions and teachers to make choices that are about statistics and reporting and not about good quality education,” says Grey.
However education minister Hekia Parata told the New Zealand Herald she made “no apologies for setting out to lift achievement rates by setting a challenging target”.
She told the paper between 2011 and 2014 the percentage of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2, or an equivalent qualification, rose by almost 7 percentage points to just over 81 percent.
“That means thousands more of our students are leaving school every year equipped with the skills they need to undertake further education or training.”