Thursday, May 31, 2007

NCEA - The improvements

For those readers outside of New Zealand, NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) is this country’s main national qualification for secondary school students and part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Its premise was to recognise the skills needed for an information age and to remove the sense of failure associated with the traditional teaching methods that did not meet the learning and certification needs of some students.

It’s been said that it all depends on your child's learning Style. Anecdotally, examinations such as Cambridge are better suited to students who excel in the sciences - typically sequential learners, while NCEA is better suited to those who think creatively and outside the square - typically simultaneous learners. (Does your child prefer to process information sequentially or a simultaneously? Please click on to find out.)

Be that as it may, ever since its introduction in 2002, the public opinion’s been divided into “NCEA is a world class qualification” and “It’s a total failure”.

Those in favour point out that university entrants are now far better prepared for their first year of tertiary education. Those opposed point out the inconsistencies in the external marking system, which can award the same piece of work with grades as diverse as “not achieved”, “achieved” and “merit”.

Following severe criticism, the Ministry of Education has come up with the following improvements:
- Introducing 'excellence' and 'merit' to NCEA certificates from 2007
- Introducing 'excellence' and 'merit' at subject level from 2008
- Including 'not achieved' in NCEA results notices for both internally assessed and externally assessed standards from 2008
- Up to 10 per cent of internally assessed standards will be moderated by full-time moderators appointed to NZQA from 2008.

Do you think the improvements are adequate? A step in the right direction? Off the mark? Have your say here.


Sherry said...
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Sherry said...

Must admit to being a bit under informed, and not keeping up with NCEA. Gut feeling is removing fail grades is wrong. Failing is a part of life. Unfair sure, but education must always be a merit system surely. Subjects overcome the intellectual differences, not the grading system. Art, biology, french, different abilities needed for each. Introduce more subjects rather than fiddle with the grades. Make it relevant for all and while this may be seen as 'dumbing' down the system and shades of american schools with their courses on 'family, marriage, divorce' etc, it as least keeps the kids in school, gives them a sense of belonging and achievement. Keep the academic subjects, and mark them hard, fail grades and all.

Anonymous said...

The changes sound like a move in the right direction, but it still seems strange not to use easily recognised grades like 'A+', 'A',... 'F'. Clearly the politically correct approach of making it hard to compare the achievements of pupils isn't working, so why carry on pretending?