NZEI President Doesn't Understand Education Project

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education (Early Childhood Education and Maori Education)

The Associate Minister of Education Brian Donnelly says the president of the primary teachers' union, the NZEI, Liz Patara, has a very poor understanding of the National Education Monitoring Project.

Ms Patara, in a press release, said the latest NEMP evaluations released today, confirmed New Zealand had quality national student assessment and that proposed national testing could never provide such valuable information.

"I don't wish to get into a slanging match with Ms Patara," Mr Donnelly said, "but her misconceptions cannot go unchallenged.

"The NEMP results provide no information at all for schools on how well their students are achieving. The project is designed to provide information on how well the system is achieving.

"It is not necessarily even in concordance with the existing curriculum and could be used as a critique of the national curriculum statements.

"The project is based upon a very light sampling of students across the country. Ms Patara is correct in saying it is highly regarded but only as a macro device. It certainly cannot be used to evaluate the strength of a school's programme"

The Green Paper "Assessment for Success in Primary Schools" proposes to develop masures which will allow schools to evaluate their own programmes and hopefully to use that information to the advantage of their pupils, Mr Donnelly said.

"Ms Patara has been an outspoken critic of the proposals in the Green Paper," he added. "If her criticisms are based upon such unsound comprehension of the nature of NEMP, it brings into question the validity of her criticism.

"It is sad that her evaluation of the government's assessment procedures is based on such misunderstanding."