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Parents 'desperate' for league tables – Key

Tuesday 19 Jun 2012 11:32 a.m.

Prime Minister John Key (Reuters)

Prime Minister John Key (Reuters)

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With parents "desperate" to measure school quality, league tables created by the Ministry of Education could be the best solution, Prime Minister John Key says.

The Government has previously said data from its national standards programme will not be used for league tables, which would rank schools in terms of their literacy and numeracy results.

But Mr Key is raising the possibility of tables being collated by the Ministry of Education so parents can get a better idea of school achievement.

He says if the tables aren't put together by the ministry, they'll be put together by journalists, "and that could be very misleading".

"Parents are desperate for this information," Mr Key told media on Tuesday.

"Measuring the progress of your child and seeing whether they are, in fact, achieving the national standard is absolutely critical information."

Mr Key spoke out on the issue before discussing it with Education Minister Hekia Parata, but she says she is also on board with the idea.

"We want meaningful and useful data and information, and we want that to be available in ways that helps schools to get better, helps students to get better, and helps parents to understand [what's occurring]," Ms Parata said.

The Ministry of Education will work with schools to develop a way to compare the data, she said.

The tables - which teacher unions strongly oppose - have come up again because of a report that the decile ranking system is causing a drastic drop in the number of Pakeha children attending schools in poorer areas.

The decile rankings depend on the socio-economic circumstances of communities, with decile one the lowest and decile 10 the highest.

Mr Key believes parents are using the decile systems to assess school performance because "it's the only piece of information they realistically have".

Labour leader David Shearer says it will be impossible to get accurate league tables from national standards data because the way standards are assessed differs between schools.

Mr Key says he expects those differences to settle down over time.


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