BIG NEWS

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ministry of Education can’t answer school trustees’ questions on National Standards either

It is well known that lots of teachers have been to training on National Standards. In fact more than 80 percent of teachers’ personal development has been on getting to grips with National Standards. However, the teachers and principals have said that many of their questions are not answered, and some princpals and teachers have boycotted further training..

The Ministry is now conducting training with Boards of Trustees. It is offering training to Board members on how to set goals in line with National Standards for their charters. School Charters have to be sent to the Ministry of Eduction early next year and all goals must be in line with National Standards. However, no clear guidance has been given by Ministry officials, hence the training programme for Boards.

While the training for boards is only starting now, trainees still can’t clearly answer questions, this time from Boards of Trustees. This is not good enough. It is clear that assessments of student achievement are consistent, but teacher judgements to make an assessments against the standards are neither clear or consistent.

If the Ministry can’t answer questions in a consistent manner to teachers, principals or Boards of Trustees, there is no way that Boards of Trustees throughout the country are going to be able to present data to the Ministry in a collectively consistent manner. Consequently, teachers will not be able to assess their own students under National Standards in a nationally consistent and valid way.

National Standards sounded like a good policy last year - which is why so many supported it. Support appears to be dwindling when parents, teachers and principals realise that officials can't answer questions on how the policy is supposed to work better than current assessment practices without National Standards adjustments.

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