PISA results show more resourcing needed for teachers in high poverty schools 

6 December 2016

The fact that New Zealand has more low performing students at age 15 in science than six years ago reflects the serious problem we have with child poverty and inequality in New Zealand and the failure of the Government's education reform agenda, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

NZEI President Louise Green says the PISA results (Programme of International Student Achievement) released tonight underline the link between inequality, poverty and student achievement in New Zealand.

"For the second time in a week (1), international assessments show we have a problem.  We need to focus on what we need to do right, rather than on "spinning" the results," she says.  "We need to put more resources into schools  in high poverty communities to ensure all kids get the support they need."

"Schools are facing a funding freeze over the next year and quality funding for early childhood education has been frozen for six years.  It's time to talk significant investment in education for our future, not tax cuts."

She said New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved.

She said it was no coincidence that science achievement had slipped most significantly since professional development in science for teachers was scrapped when the Government introduced National Standards in 2009. 

"We need to ensure teachers are supported with high quality professional learning and development.  Teachers are at the heart of the quality of any education system," Louise Green says.

(1) The latest TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) results put New Zealand children in year 5 and 9 near the bottom of international rankings when compared with other developed nations.