John Morris on NCEA

John Morris, Headmaster, note he is Headmaster not some wishy-washy Principal, of my alma mater has an article in the Herald this morning decrying the current and proposed status of NCEA.

[quote]The key recommendation of this ministry paper states: "That consideration be given to all external achievement standards being also available as internal achievement standards so that schools have a choice of assessing internally or externally."

If this recommendation is implemented this will inevitably result in a qualification that will, by virtue of its assessment regime, be second rate and lack comparability because not all schools will be totally internally assessed. Given pass rates for internally assessed standards are much higher than those externally assessed, there will be no national standard possible.

Unfortunately, there has always been a view in the ministry (and NZQA) that they alone have a mortgage on wisdom in these matters, and outsiders have nothing of value to contribute. I have witnessed this so many times, especially during the 1990s when I was on the Principals’ Lead Group, again between 1999 and 2002 when I was a NZQA Board member, and in the same era as a member of the Leaders’ Forum.

It was even displayed in meetings with regard to the debacle over the Scholarship examination in 2004. The NZQA and ministry staffers were the only ones around the table not prepared to see that, perhaps, they just might have got it wrong. And that if they were going to commit to a competitive, elite exam for top scholars, then it was absolutely essential to rank students, and the only certain way to get sufficient discrimination between students to ensure accuracy and fairness in this ranking was to have marks.[/quote]

He is right on the money, the grand experiment in dumbing down our education system is beginning to reap the poor rewards it was always going to.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.