A new an­swer to school decile dup­ing?


Feel­ing mis­led by the decile sys­tem, an Auck­land tech team con­cocted a per­for­mance-based sys­tem for rat­ing schools.

Bill Ma and Leon Hong have cre­ated SchoolS­core - which rates schools from one to 10 based on aca­demic re­sults - af­ter notic­ing real es­tate agents hyped up the ben­e­fits of buy­ing in pricey decile 10 zones.

‘‘We wanted to get par­ents out of the men­tal­ity that decile de­ter­mines ed­u­ca­tion qual­ity and where you should live,’’ Ma says.

SchoolS­core is part of Ma’s in­de­pen­dent prop­erty val­u­a­tion web­site RELab. He de­vel­oped the project in his ’’spare time’’ but has since left a job with Spark to fo­cus solely on RELab. Ma doesn’t have chil­dren him­self, but as part of Auck­land’s Chi­nese com­mu­nity says he of­ten saw ’’re­cent im­mi­grants in par­tic­u­lar’’ set­tling their kids’ ed­u­ca­tion solely by decile.SchoolS­core had ranked most pri­mary, in­ter­me­di­ate, and high schools in Auck­land us­ing open source per­for­mance data, av­er­aged over the past three years, in its al­go­rithm.

Pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate schools got scored on their na­tional stan­dards re­sults, while sec­ondary schools were ranked on NCEA re­sults, univer­sity en­trance rates, and schol­ar­ships earned. But since some sec­ondary schools used Cam­bridge In­ter­na­tional Ex­ams or the In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate in­stead of NCEA, Ma ad­mits his scor­ings weren’t per­fect.

Mt Roskill Gram­mar has be­low av­er­age lit­er­acy and just slightly above av­er­age nu­mer­acy, but a SchoolS­core of seven thanks to the dozens of schol­ar­ship stu­dents in at­ten­dance each year. On the other side of the coin, Whanga­paraoa Col­lege has well above av­er­age lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy rates, but scored a achieve­ment Karl Le Quesne said the scores’ un­der­pin­ning method­ol­ogy was not made clear enough on RELab’s web­site. He urged peo­ple seek­ing houses in Auck­land based on school zones to ‘‘be sure of the va­lid­ity of in­for­ma­tion and how it’s an­a­lysed be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion’’.

SchoolS­core co-cre­ator Bill Ma hopes his per­for­mance-based school rat­ing sys­tem will help par­ents de­cide both on where to buy and where to ed­u­cate.

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