Alarm bells should be ringing in education

The Education Review Office warning of a ‘slippage of expectations’ in mathematics teaching must be the catalyst to turnaround declining achievement in foundational subjects, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“It is critical our education system is internationally competitive so our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a competitive world. But instead we are slipping off the pace.

“Maths is one subject where performance has deteriorated in international and domestic measures, but the Office (ERO) has also identified achievement in literacy has suffered a similar long-term relative decline.

“To turn this declining achievement around we need to accept we have a problem. Greater curriculum guidance, subject materials and support must be made available for teachers in core subject areas.

“Getting to grips with our truancy crisis is a critical step to improving education outcomes. The link between regular attendance at school and achievement in maths and literacy is well established by research, but it should just be common knowledge. How can you expect a kid to do well if they’re not turning up to class?

“We need to have some way to measure achievement and learning progress prior to NCEA. We can’t help students who might be falling behind if we don’t have consistent markers of progress.

“If we want our young New Zealanders to experience world-class living standards and incomes, then they need a world-class education system to provide them with the opportunities to succeed.

“The Government must prioritise turning around the long-term decline in education outcomes and look into providing some way to measure achievement and learning progress in our students.”