Only 35% of students who participated in the latest NCEA literacy and numeracy pilot passed the writing standard. (File photo)
The highest pass rate was the reading standard, with 64% of students scoring at or above.
This is followed by numeracy at 56%, writing at 34%, Te Reo Matatini (Maori language literacy) at 24% and Pāngarau (Maori language numeracy) at just 18%.
These pass rates were even lower than the 2021 results, which aroused “concern” among educators.
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The government quietly published the literacy and numeracy results on the NCEA Education Website before a long weekend, without a press release.
In 2022, more than 200 schools, kura and tertiary service providers have participated in the pilot programme. The first batch of assessments took place from June 27 to July 1 and the second from September 19 to 23.
The new literacy and numeracy standards are part of broader changes to the NCEA that address secondary school concerns students lack basic reading and writing skills.
Vaughan Couillault, president of the Secondary Principals’ Association, said the results didn’t surprise him.
“The numbers reinforce what we already know. There is a literacy and numeracy problem in this country and we have had this problem for some time,” he said.
Couillault’s school, Papatoetoe High School, participated in the pilot program.
He said it was important to note that the new literacy and numeracy standards could be completed anytime during high school, but most of the students in the pilot were in grade 10.
“We didn’t purposely recruit high-performing students. We caught students who we thought we could get meaningful feedback from,” he said.
National Education Party spokeswoman Erica Stanford said the findings were indicative of “social failure by a future economic crisis”.
“The literacy and numeracy results are incredibly alarming and show the urgent need for action to fix our education system, boost achievement and improve outcomes.
“As students must pass all three standards, this means that a shocking two out of three children would fail assessments which are set at the minimum level required to function in the world,” she said.
Louise Ryan, national executive member of the Post Primary Teachers’ Association, said the findings showed the “urgent need” to put the NCEA overhaul on hold and give teachers time to adjust to the changes.
“It is important that after three years of Covid disruption we give students the opportunity to master the new requirement and do not set [students] until failure.
A new mandatory NCEA literacy and numeracy test may be too difficult for some students. High school students will need to pass the new requirement to obtain any NCEA level from 2023. (Video first posted December 2020)
“Teachers and students should be given the opportunity to get a sense of the changes to teaching and learning that lead to literacy and numeracy assessments, before other new NCEA changes take hold. be introduced,” she said.
Ryan said the change would be the biggest change to the NCEA since the qualification was first introduced and teachers were not yet equipped for the change.
These findings come just days after teachers called for a day just for teachers to familiarize themselves with the new NCEA system before it unfolds.
Education Minister Chis Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti were approached for comment.