Union says standardised tests will not help young learners

Standardised testing is not helpful for children, NZEI President Mark Potter says.

NZEI Te Riu Roa says that standardised tests twice a year for children in primary schools is not the way to improve their achievement. The union says that teachers and principals have been calling out for more learning support to help children and that the announcement of standardised testing is a backwards step.

Standardised testing is not helpful for children, President Mark Potter says.

“Adding in more tests for children whose learning needs are not being met is only going to increase the anxiety in those children. Most schools already use a range of assessment tools to monitor progress and achievement. The purpose of the assessments we use now is to inform the teacher’s professional judgement on what the next steps are for an individual student.

“The best thing the Government could do would be to fund a teacher aide in every classroom and enough specialists to support those children with additional learning needs.

“We saw the standardised testing approach fail with National Standards under the former National Government. Standardising tests risks creating league tables that compare children and schools and encourages harmful processes like streaming. Children and school communities are not standard. To us this looks like National Standards in disguise.

“Teachers and schools want to work as partners with parents to understand their children’s learning progress and successes. Standardised test results cannot replace the need for quality conversations to build that shared understanding and knowledge of each child.”