Wednesday, 5 July 2006

NCEA: Stick a fork in its ass, it's done

NZ HERALD: NCEA cuts students' drive to learn, says report

Who would have thought it? Introduce a system that cuts up knowledge, removes context from information, and ignores system-building and the hierarchy of knowledge ... and you find students don't learn and don't want to learn? Amazing. Who would have thought it?

The report's authors found:
  • the NCEA encouraged a "minimalist approach", with many students lacking the motivation to do more than the bare minimum to pass.
  • two-thirds of students' feedback criticised the National Certificate of Educational Achievement as having a negative influence on the motivation to learn.
  • design flaws were a disincentive for "high achievers and all students" to want to achieve.
  • there was little motivation to aim for "merit" or "excellence" when these credits carried no extra value.
  • students perceived the system as "illogical and unfair."
And is any of this really surprising? When is it time to say of NCEA, "Stick a fork in its ass, it's done"? When is it time to say of the NCEA's promoters: "You've had your time. Go!" The NCEA has been a disaster for learning, as was obvious from the day the bureaucrats devised it and Lockwood Smith introduced it. Gum-chewing insolence and cynically amoral ignorance are cultivated in the state's factory schools, and you lot are paying for that to happen, and you deliver your children there every morning so they can get more of it. Why do you put up with it? We rightly revile child molestors of the body -- so why aren't child molestors of the mind equally reviled?

"Steve Benson, senior manager of learning policy frameworks at the ministry, said more students than in the past were leaving school with higher qualifications." What an idiot. And PPTA president, Debbie Te Whaiti says the research "shows the system is a fundamentally sound approach to qualifications," it's just that "more work is needed to refine the qualifications system." What a disgusting, excuse-making pair of melon-farmers. With functional illiteracy climbing, it's clear to everyone but Steve and his inbred chums that higher qualifications are worth less now than they ever were, thanks largely to Steve and Debbie and their chums and the politicians that give them power over children's lives.

"Education Minister Steve Maharey admitted there were concerns and promised to resolve them." Getting the Mahareys and the Lockwood Smiths away from the schools altogether would be a start, now wouldn't it? I have no doubt that any twelve parents taken at random could do a better job of education than either of those two jerks, and any number of bureaucrats employed at the Ministry and NZQA. Why not remove schools from government control altogether and simply hand them over to the parents and teachers presently there to run them as they see fit? Do you really think the result would be any worse than we presently see?

  1. Do you think the Herald's picture is intentionally flawed? Did you spot it? Did the Herald?
  2. Did you notice that dance is now a recognised NCEA subject, meaning that "secondary school students will now be able to dance their way to university"? TVNZ report here. Chair of the PPTA Principals Council, Arthur Graves, says the changes that make this possible "show there are no longer narrow boundaries to what is considered valid learning." Do you really want this man in charge of your children?

LINKS: NCEA cuts students' drive to learn - NZ Herald
PPTA says NCEA needs refining - Radio NZ
Dance approved for NCEA - TVNZ

TAGS: Education, Politics-NZ


  1. Venge-what?

    I wrote a press release about this. The concerns expressed precisely reflect my own experiences, as part of the first group to sit NCEA. I've been told many times that those concerns were just teething problems, but this proves that they are ongoing, and I would argue, fundamental to this type of system.

    Minimimalist approach - well, when Merit, Excellence, and Achieved are the only categories, and they are worth exactly the same, that's completely predictable. Whether intentionally or not, it attacks the best students and devalues their real achievements. Other problems from my experience were meaningless and subjective marking guides, massive inconsistencies, teacher bias, and the frustrating fact that the complexities of marking meant that sometimes a single wrong question could fail an entire test, even when all other answers were of Excellence standard. A specific exmaple of this was a very good essay I saw which was failed because some of the paragraphing was incorrect, even though the quality of writing was superior to the other essays from the class.

  2. This from the Kiwi Herald


    Moenui teenager Mike ‘Eminem’ Moore today slammed NCEA claiming that when the new qualification was introduced he lost the will to learn. “Yeah Nah,” said ‘Eminem’ “As soon as they brought in that NCEA I just was prepared to be really average.”

    Mike’s mother Eva agreed. “Michael was always such an inquisitive kid, always asking
    why and how come, but since NCEA came on the scene he never asks any questions
    except ‘Why do I have to go to that suck-ass school.”
    She said that she worried that he unquestioningly adopted the fashions of hip-hop
    culture and rap music. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard him ask anything about the
    historical and socio-cultural significance of hip-hop.”

    Moore's girlfriend, 14 year old Melodie-Ann Lewis was asked by the Herald whether
    she had ever heard ‘Eminem’ wonder aloud, “What effect is the appropriation and
    exploitation of hip-hop forms by the media and the music industry having on the
    ideological discource in authentic hip-hop milieeaux?” After a short silence
    Ms Lewis said she had not.

    Melodie-Ann, who chairs the Moenui Area School Student Council, said that she
    knew ‘heaps’ of students who had been ‘robbed of their youth’ and their will to
    ‘achieve greatness’ by NCEA. “I know lots of excellent kids who have just got really
    mediocre. Like it’s school holidays now and they’re all just … on holiday,” said

    Meanwhile Moenui school Principal Hone Morris said that NCEA needed a major
    “From where I stand, which is currently overlooking the magnificent Mt Hutt ski-field,
    NCEA stops high achievers wanting to achieve. The only reason we know they
    are high achievers is because they sometimes tell us they are or they are from
    Asian backgrounds.”

    Mr Morris went on to say that design flaws in the NCEA meant that students lost
    their natural inclination to “attempt to answer really difficult questions rather than the
    easy ones and study really hard subjects like bio-chemistry and Russian.”

    The Principal said however that, "there is evidence that the 80-credit requirement encourages a minimalist approach by students which tends to work very well with some of the schools design students.”
    Meanwhile local Commentator Frank Lush, speaking from the Sports Bar of the Masonic Hotel said that reports that students found the NCEA “illogical and unfair” suggested the authorities had finally come up with a qualification system that mirrors life.

  3. I offer a differing opinion.

    (I also know how to use a bloody hyperlink, Mr. Cut'N'Paste from Kiwi Herald).

  4. VENGENACE or PEACE? Intersting spelling on the girl's monitor.


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