Teacher judgments ‘unreliable’
The way teachers are assessing their students’ progress against national standards for numeracy and literacy is not reliable, and in some cases, might be wrong, a new report shows.
The recently-published research drew on data from about 100 schools nationwide. It evaluated the implementation of national standards in schools between 2010 to 2014.
Its findings cast doubt on overall teacher judgements (OTJs), and the way teachers judged students’ performance against the standards for reading, writing and maths.
Evidence of this was the ‘‘marked difference’’ between
‘‘If the ministry is saying national standards results are doubtful, then there's a whole of lot basic reasons why.’’
teacher ratings of students in Year 7 and 8 at a full primary school compared to at an intermediate.
Higher numbers of students at primary schools were marked ‘at’ or ‘above’ the standards than students at intermediate schools.
‘‘It should be noted that there is no suggestion that all OTJs are inaccurate, but evidence indicates that a reasonable proportion may be,’’ the report said.
There was also the possibility of a ‘‘systemic bias’’ in teachers’ ratings, the study found.
‘‘If teachers are making OTJs by comparing the achievement of students in their class, then teachers at low decile schools might tend to judge students more generously than teachers at high decile schools.’’
Porirua’s Corinna School principal Michele Whiting said she was not surprised to hear the results of the study, because of the way national standards were introduced.
However, she was surprised to hear that decile one schools like hers could be judging students more generously.
She did not believe there was a pattern to support that.
There is a department in the New Zealand Qualifications Authority that checked moderation of NCEA across schools, to ensure the judgements teachers made were accurate, but no one was checking the moderation of national standards.
‘‘If the ministry is saying national standards results are doubtful, then there’s a whole lot of basic reasons why.’’
Karl le Quesne, associate head of early learning and student achievement at the Ministry of Education, said the report was commissioned to find out how national standards were bedding in.
‘‘It is useful because it highlights areas where we need to do more to support schools.’’
A lot had happened in the past two years to support principals and teachers using national standards, he said.
Some teacher national standards judgements could be wrong, a report states.