The Ministry of Education has backtracked on its decision to make the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) mandatory for every primary school student in 2015.
“We have previously said PaCT will available for all schools and had expected them to use it. We still expect teachers will want to use the tool, but it will not be compulsory,” says Rowena Phair, the Ministry of Education’s deputy secretary, student achievement.
“It is being designed with teachers to support them to make consistent judgments about their students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.”
PaCT is a digital tool that is expected to strengthen teacher confidence and capability in making judgments on a student against the National Standards.
The tool will hold a record of previous judgments and, according to the Ministry of Education, will help to provide a clearer overview of where a student is in relation to the standards.
The tool is also being designed to interface with student management systems (SMS) so that class groupings can be loaded automatically, reducing the doubling handling of information.
It is also expected to help identify the professional learning and development that teachers may need.
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Judith Nowotarski says it is good news that common sense has prevailed. However, PaCT would not fix the fundamental problem - the negative impact on children’s learning of National Standards, which have never been tested or trialled.
"NZEI Te Riu Roa continues to have serious concerns about the way the PaCT tool could cement in invalid and unreliable National Standards," she says.
"We want our teachers focused on delivering a broad and rich curriculum which keeps Kiwi kids amongst the highest achievers in the world.
Assessment data needs to be used properly - not for labelling children and producing league tables but in the classroom, for identifying where children are at and where they need to progress.”
Last month, NZEI Te Riu Roa, the NZ Principals' Federation, the NZ Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools, and the Catholic Principals Association called on school boards, their colleagues and the organisations developing the 'Progress and Consistency Tool' (PaCT) to cease any involvement in the further development of PaCT, including this year's trials of the tool.