Posted in Teaching and Learning

Are you in or out?

Today is the last day for ‘X’ing students out of external NCEA exams. We have been reminded of this off and on every briefing for the last 2 weeks. I have been scowling and muttering about how we don’t have our practice exams till next week so how can I possibly give any reasonably advice on whether students should enter or not if I don’t have any evidence to base it on. Yes, I have gut feelings, but I always hold out hope that students will surprise themselves and me 🙂

But there is increasing pressure to get the results looking good. I keep hearing the words ‘participation based results’ bandied around, along with ‘roll based results’. Articles like this one (and indeed the idea to ‘publish’ poor results) doesn’t seem to be helping the core idea that exams are not the be all and end all. The idea the principals ‘manipulate’ data is scary – but everyone wants their school to look good. But is the measure of a ‘good’ school only the NCEA results. I am thinking of a post from Paula talking about low staff turnover indicating a ‘good school’. Surely a good school is one that supports all students to be the best they can be – even if that means that NCEA is still out of reach…. why should I remove those students chances when they are doing the best they can.

All in all, this is leadning to uncomfortable feelings for me. I am lucky that I work in a school willing to let the students have a go. My dept head says if they aren’t sure, keep them in and we will ‘wear the SNAs’ and Not Achieved results. It is also of a concern that if students who aren’t going to pass an exam don’t sit it, then the profile of expected performance for that exam will get skewed, and the standard will get raised even higher, meaning any borderline students might miss out.

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Do ‘other’ schools really cross students out if they are concerned they won’t pass? Or if this some myth that has been made up to make us distrustful and competitive. If it is true, is publishing poor results like the minister suggested really the answer? Or should we just focus on doing the best we can for the students in front of us, and let them have a go?

So, rightly or wrongly, I’m not going to be removing many students from standards. Hopefully I won’t get judged on my results……

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One thought on “Are you in or out?

  1. Interesting point/s to raise and I can see why you are unsure about this. As far as I know, we don’t pull students out becasue we don’t think they’ll ‘pass’. We have the option there in case students end up being absent for the teaching or whatnot, so couln’t realistically be expected to reach the standard. I guess it’s becoming more and more common for students to select the standards they want to sit, and perhaps, by this time of year, it would be reasonable for students to officially ‘opt out’, as opposed to simply leaving the paper blank in the exam. Withdrawing students simply for the sake of statistics, doesn’t sit right with me, either, however.

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