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Friday, 8th June 2018
Kia ora tātou
Living in La La land
You may have noticed that the public debate on NCEA following the government releasing some discussion points around the possible future of the qualification. I welcome this discussion though preferably without the soundbite rhetoric. It is neither helpful to say suggested changes to NCEA are in ‘La La Land’, or to say exams are an anachronism. Similarly, the Ministry needs to provide considered policy options for the public to discuss.
The debate is important. We must continually review our practice to ensure that we best prepare our students for life - at and beyond school.
That was the rationale behind introducing the MYP into years 9 and 10. We want a junior curriculum that is engaging, challenging and rigorous. What students learn in years 9 and 10 should set them up for success through to Level 3, NZ Scholarship, and on to tertiary study.
To keep you informed about this ongoing development, I have asked Mrs Hewetson and Ms Gibb to provide regular updates about the programme in the newsletter. You will have seen the first article last week. As a side note, it is interesting that some of the Ministry’s thoughts on NCEA, e.g. personal projects, mirror what happens in MYP.
Historically, Level 1 NCEA, or School Certificate as it was known then, was needed for the significant proportion of students who left school after Form 5 to start work.
This is not the case today at Glendowie College. Over 90% of Glendowie students stay through to year 13. Almost 100% of our students gain Level 2 NCEA, and most gain Level 3 by the time they leave school. The majority gain NCEA endorsed with merit or excellence.
Another point of view is that sitting exams in year 11 prepares them for sitting exams in year 12. There is some truth in this. However, the purpose of assessment is to gauge how well students are learning, not teach them how to sit assessments. Year 11, for example, must be more than just a practice run for year 12 as some people have suggested in the media.
Broader than this review is how do we best prepare Glendowie students for success beyond school, in particular in their tertiary studies where the majority of our students will go to after college. Part of that preparation is continuing to see our students succeed at the highest levels in NCEA (especially levels 2 and 3) and NZ Scholarship.
The Board of Trustees will conduct a community consultation next term as part of its 4-year strategic review. We will specifically seek your views on this and other matters. Your child(ren)’s academic qualification and readiness for life beyond school is fundamental to all that we do at Glendowie College and we want to listen to your opinions and thoughts.
Ngā mihi nui,
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