Online NCEA upsets ‘thunderclap’ for educators
Dozens of NCEA standards may be provided as online tests in the future. Photo / Provided
By John Gerritsen of RNZ
Secondary school principals have told officials to rethink plans to offer NCEA tests online during the year.
Earlier this year, the Department for Education suggested that up to 80 NCEA standards could be provided as online tests.
Each would be available for one week during the year and a few would be offered two or three times.
Principals told RNZ the proposal would make scheduling extremely difficult and increase teachers’ workloads.
Epsom Girls Grammar deputy headmaster Karyn Dempsey said the school had been piloting online exams with the Qualifications Authority for five years.
She said that despite her familiarity with online assessment, a recent quiz of a supposed 60-minute math test for 10th graders disrupted the whole school.
“They’re in class for about an hour and 45 minutes, so that’s quite long and certainly doesn’t fit into our schedule which is about an hour per subject, so we had to use two teams of teachers to take on at that time, which meant we needed to train 40 teachers.
“The only way to do that was to hold off the rest of the school until later in the day,” she said.
Dempsey said she was worried about how schools would cope if they held such exams every few weeks.
“It’s just a small grade 10 assessment that the NZQA asks us to keep in proportion and in perspective, but the logistics behind it mean we needed to have 45 teachers by the time you include those with conditions of special assessment and we’re trying to run the rest of the school and it’s just not possible.”
The Department for Education said external assessments were not formal exams and could be given in regular classrooms rather than in proctored exam conditions.
He said students who couldn’t work on a computer could do paper-based assessments.
“We are committed to designing NCEA assessments that are practical for schools and the impact of non-exam external assessments on school calendars is something we are actively reviewing and seeking feedback on.
“For example, non-exam day trips while flying can be delivered in scheduled classes and therefore do not require separate accommodation or supervision,” he said.
“The ministry is working closely with stakeholders who represent schools to ensure that pilots and assessments meet the needs of learners and are practical for schools to carry out.
“The pilots also provide us with feedback on the evaluation and what can be improved. We have already received a lot of feedback which we will take into account and take into account for future planning.
Principals expect the department to revise its plans and they hope it will design tests that can be completed in 45 minutes and would therefore fit into a 60-minute school period.
Meanwhile, James Cook Secondary School principal Grant McMillan said the curriculum suggested earlier this year fell far short of the ideal of offering online assessment whenever pupils were ready.
“There’s almost no need to have a New Zealand Curriculum refresh or anything like that because Wellington examiners are going to determine when they’re ready to assess classics, when they’re ready to assess calculus, when they are willing to assess these other things.
“So really it’s going to be massive centralization and shrinking of the default program.”
He said delivering around 80 tests in different one-week blocks throughout the year would make planning difficult.
“There will hardly be a week in the school year where there is not a high-stakes online exam held within the school for a large number of students.
“That means there won’t be a week in the year or school term where we can do school production, school camps, senior proms, that sort of thing,” he said.
Nelson College tumuaki Richard Dykes said the implications of the suggested changes were “a thunderclap” for many teachers and principals.
He said teachers would teach the standards shortly before they were tested, making lessons more assessment-focused than ever.
Dykes said there were also early indications the change would increase the number of derived grades teachers must calculate for students who missed exams because they ran into events such as sports tournaments or competitions. educational outings.
He said it would create even more work for teachers.