Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Standards creep towards year 10

I had this come through my email the other day,
I notice that students in Year 10 may now be able to gain some NCEA credits in Dance and Drama ( Maths and English credits have been offered for several years at Year 10). 
Is this a trend. Are we disadvantaged as a subject if we don't follow suit? Is this even a good idea? I see Hobsonville Point is doing the opposite - removing NCEA Level 1... 
After the initial shock of the email, and the want to type out something rather quick, I thought I would wait to see how the discussion went... also there is a 5 hour flight between Adelaide and Auckland
We have added a very simple 2 credit Unit standard as its being required by SLT. US25659.
Above was the content from the next email, hang on, what does he mean required by SLT? So the question went back?
It was for all departments 
I think the underlying reason is to increase pass rates for NCEA Level 1. Also to give students early exposure to NCEA. Its been going for 3 or 4 years now .
I would have to say I was stunned, "I think the underlying reason...?"
The thread went one for a bit more, more teachers talked about what they are doing at year 10 around assessment, more Unit Standards were talked about.
My reply is below
While I find the conversation that is happening incredible at present, it has raised both joy and sadness. The ideas around creative programs that build on curriculum and dispositions. The sadness is around some of the offering of standards that are being used to support these programs. I have had to think about what is the expectation that is being pushed on teachers by senior leaders. That has been why my replies have been around understanding of the impact of these ideas, some of which I am still working out to understand as there maybe a lack of my understanding. 
I am seeing standards that are around second change learners. Is this really the best offering for students? 
Is it good assessment practice by offering students a unit standard at year 10? 
Is offering students a unit standard at year 10 preparing them best for the learning required at ncea level one? Do students see the amount of work involved in a 2 credits unit standard that the only grade of achieved as an academic equivalent of another subjects achievement standard where the grades can work towards merit and excellence? 
Is this developing the best outcomes for the students? 
Is this starting towards a mentality of is this worth credits?
Is this helping with student wellbeing? 
What is the key driver for this change? 
Many would be asking what standard would could be offered to students at year 10, what does the student voice say? Part of me would like to see a conceptual or prototype standard that works towards students being able to critically reflect about their work, being able to communicate with others and developed through an understanding of learning. If it was to be a digital technologies standard, digital information skills, or digital media skills, however I would want to look at the knowledge based standards and limit the amount of words for each answer, similar to the idea that Julie put out last year around developing one of the knowledge based standards, give students the practical based skills, as well as evidencing the academic requirement of the subject.

Yes, at Hobsonville Point Secondary school we are looking at a 2 year qualifications pathway for our year 11 and year 12 students. 20 credits at level one and 60 credits at level 2. It does have its challenges and new learning that is taking place. I look forward to the end of this year and the exploration of what courses might look like during the next stage of learning.
While the conversation goes on,  One of the interesting emails included;
Last year our school ditched all standards at Year 10. Reasons for this:
- Student wellness.
- If one subject has credits available at year 10 that puts pressure on all subjects to offer them.
- We have no issue with NCEA Achievement so no need to fit early credits in.
I thought it needed something else using one of the resources that has been developed at school. I especially like the idea of the Kete - portfolio of assessment. The graphic below was created by Heemi.
We have been developing a lot of thinking at school around the ideas of what NCEA is and how we are going to deliver it. Though we have the teachers that have been through the process within other schools working at HPSS. We are also challenging the thinking and ideas of what programmes of learning might be.

This is one of the pieces that we have been working through the narrative with the staff on the ideas of NCEA.

The top section is us looking at what is it that we are trying to work towards, we are looking at it in the way of the bird. The Nga Pirere is the fledgling, Nga Manu is Branching, Kua Rere is the Flight.

The second half is the look of the Kete Aromatawai - the portfolio of assessment, what does this look like for a student.

Through the google group(subject association) it has been explained a number of times that the siloing nature of a students learning has not afforded itself to a classroom teacher being able to have a picture of where a students needs are. I know myself when I was a form tutor as well as a classroom teacher that I accessed the Student Management System to see where a students learning was at. Many times the students did not know themselves where they were at. Even with portals and NZQA a number of credits are not normally entered until the end of the year due to the nature of the subject or have been held due to the schools trying to get students to not look at credit counting or due to having moderation of grades before hand. This is tricky as a number of students, those that are going down the non academic pathways don't see the achievement of their work until too late. Even students that used the apps or keep notes usually had some credits wrong as what they were told in class is different to what has been published.

One person provided an example of not knowing where he was at within his own learning when he was at school on the group. He then found out he was at 144 credits in level one. Are students now are looking at the quality of credits, rather then the quantity of credits. With the ideas that came out in this thread, this was also the case. How can we be delivering quality credits? How is the structure of schools that are aiming for academic success developing pathways for students? How are the other 70% of students being catered for.

These are things that are constantly in our minds. What does a Kete aromatawai look like for the students in your class? How full is the kete and what would it look like for someone outside of school?

Though I am not a parent, I do not have a record of learning that I can look at and see, what does one look like for a student that has gone through a course that has a mixture of achievement standards and unit standards?

Maybe this could be a good teaching as inquiry topic?

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