Quick response to NZPF Flyer No 5

There are no good national standards.

National standards are incapable of definition (any definition always includes a value judgement that requires further definition).

The so-called national standards in the national standards’ books are not standards let alone national ones (they pass to the curriculum levels, then to a series of jargon-laden achievement objectives).

There are no national standards.

A standard only becomes national when there is a national moderation process in place, and schools are generating data that can be moderated (teacher judgement does not generate such data).

Such a process is expensive and time-consuming.

Such a process has not had funding allocated for its implementation.

We, therefore, do not have national standards, or any immediate prospect of them.

Schools as a result should do nothing about national standards because there are no national standards to do anything about.

Schools should, with their boards of trustees, continue to develop there own school standards, indicators or whatever – and wait for June.

Principals have responsibilities to three sets of sets of rules: basing their school’s education policy on sound evidence (Professional Standards for Principals); giving priority to the needs of learners (Code of Ethics); keeping their boards of trustees safe (NAGS).

NATIONAL STANDARDS ONLY BECOME NATIONAL STANDARDS WHEN THERE IS A MODERATION PROCESS THAT IS VALID, SYSTEMATIC, AND NATIONAL – AND FULLY FUNDED

ALSO, WHEN THERE IS DATA THAT CAN BE MODERATED BY SUCH A PROCESS.

THE PRESENT NATIONAL STANDARDS’ PROCESS CAN NEVER LEAD TO NATIONAL STANDARDS.

WE ARE, THOUGH, HEADING TO A NATIONAL TEST BASED ON SOMETHING PRODUCED BY JOHN HATTIE.

IT WILL BE PRESENTED AS A STANDARDISED TEST BY WHICH MODERATION CAN OCCUR BUT IT WILL BE A NATIONAL TEST.

The comparison of schools is an inevitable outcome of national standards not something that can be negotiated to safety.

The only way to avoid league tables and its spin-offs is to avoid national standards.

Data validity is a euphemism for standardised tests; it cannot be negotiated away to something else.

Data validity means a downgrading of teacher knowledge and judgement.

The only way to be able to present a clear message to parents and boards of trustees is to have a clear message to present.

If something is irreconcilable and harmful, they are irreconcilable and harmful; the only clear message is one that turns on these two qualities.

Harmful can, admittedly, have degrees of harm, but we are ethically bound to oppose anything we recognise as likely to be harmful to children, no matter the intensity of that harm.

Irreconcilable is an absolute – interpreted, it means a national test.

National standards are a moveable wasteland: they are incapable of being negotiated.

We are, or should be, on the moral high ground, not the ditch.

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