NCEA review shows that New Zealand has an appetite for change

  • 30/11/2018

The results of a major review of NCEA are back and they reveal a large appetite for change.

 Only a third of people surveyed thought that NCEA works well.

It's been our national assessment system for 16 years, but the first formal review of the NCEA has delivered a mixed report card from both students and teachers.

Kylee Houpapa, a teacher at Western Springs says that "Credit counting is a big issue so instead of the learning, students are more focussed on assessment and they're counting their credits"

Some don't even need to sit end of year exams, because they've passed enough assessment during the year to tick off the level they're studying.

Of the more than 8000 people surveyed, just half thought NCEA is a valuable qualification.

Only 37 per cent agree it works well.

And just 33 per cent think NCEA helps good learning and teaching happen.

Another concern is inconsistencies in the way credits are allocated.

 Mr Houpapa went on to say that I think you'll find most English teachers will say that there's an unfair distribution with credits".

Those surveyed said teachers need to be encouraged to "teach to inspire rather than to test all the time".

There should be more focus on content and less on assessment.

Kids should be given more space to try and fail without failure being judged, so they begin to take risks with their work, as well as less marking, and more creativity.

But education expert Stuart Middleton says the concern about too much assessment isn't unique to NCEA.

"That's been a theme for fifty years when it comes to people talking about qualification and that's entirely in the control of teachers."

He says teachers just need more support to make the system work for students

"It's not one size for everybody NCEA they can craft their track and the pathway they take to a future in ways that suit them and ways that reflect their real skills".

Recommendations for how to improve NCEA will be taken to the education minister in April with a plan for its future up for consultation later in the year. 



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