NCEA encouraging minimum targets?

Stuff has just reported that “thousands of students will pass without… entering the exam room”
This sounds fine on the face of it but in actual fact there is a growing trend for the students to do just enough to pass because that is all you need; that’s what NCEA encourages.

These quotes from the Chairman of the Canterbury-Westland Secondary Principals’ Accocaiton Denis Pyatt…

“it was “churlish” to criticise students who “take responsibility for their learning and say, `I don’t actually need to do that (exam)”‘.

Kids just have to pass and that’s all. There is no longer pride in getting 61% instead of 50% as it is not rewarded. All you get is A M or E and the upper and lower ends of those grades are wide indeed. A 10% increase in your performance is not often expressed in your final grade.


‘What has changed is that students are far more strategic in their thinking,’

Strategic thinking? Yeah if you count ‘what is the minimum that I need to do to pass’ as strategic thinking.


The ones who don’t turn up for exams at the end of the year may well be kids who have set themselves a target for the year of getting NCEA Level One or Two, and by the time it comes around to do the exam, they don’t need any more credits they’ve got there,That happens to a lot of kids, and that’s fine. We mightn’t like it but who are we to grumble? Those kids have met their goals for the year.”

No sorry it’s not fine. It’s fostering mediocrity. Mr Pyatt needs to identify exactly who he is so he can grumble. It’s his job to grumble. The schooling system should be set up so that we empower students to achieve their potential, not just empowering them to pass. I get the impression that Mr Pyatt has passed the power of his position to the students. If he doesn’t like it he can lobby to get it changed. For godsake man GRUMBLE LOUDLY.

I guess this entry can be summed up by a quote from NZQA deputy chief executive Bali Haque

“huge number of students” who had met their minimum targets in terms of credits and did not have to turn up to exams, but did so anyway.”

Yeah sure kids did turn up to exams but please, please do NOT talk about minimum targets. Minimum targets are the problem in a nutshell. It may just a simple matter of giving the students their actual grades, expressed as percentages, and their competitive spirit may resurface.

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