Grade-inflation alarm sparks Ministry probe

by Catherine Woulfe / 16 February, 2013
The Ministry of Education has launched an investigation into why a widely used writing test it runs is producing surprisingly high results.
Hekia Parata
“Our Government has an unrelenting focus on lifting achievement for all students." - Hekia Parata, in a press release distributed Wednesday. Photo/Ben Fraser


The Ministry of Education has launched an investigation into why a widely used writing test it runs is producing surprisingly high results.

The test is called e-asTTle, which is widely used in primary and intermediate schools: more than 80,000 students sat a new version of the test in term four.

Teachers use the results – along with their own observations and judgments – to work out National Standards grades.

John Carrodus, principal of Edmonton Primary, says: “According to e-asTTle, we’ve got sows’ ears out here that we’ve turned into silk purses, and we’re going to have Shakespeares and Dylan Thomases oozing out of West Auckland.”

Some believe the inflation is a deliberate political move, although the Ministry of Education denies this. It started an investigation into the test last year and says no major anomalies have been found so far. But it says there has been a fundamental shift in what e-asTTle is testing – a move some principals believe is a marks-boosting exercise in disguise.

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