School principals across New Zealand attending their national conference have today resoundingly rejected any further association with the development of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PACT), set to become a de-facto national test.
'The Minister had made it quite clear that national tests are not conducive to children's learning and that we won't be having them in New Zealand. The Minister recognises that such tests narrow teaching and learning to a small number of key areas at the expense of a broad and balanced curriculum experience. Well someone needs to tell the Minister that by using PACT to support national standards she is doing the same harm as a national test,' said Philip Harding, President of the New Zealand Principals' Federation.
'Further, introducing PACT will do nothing to help our priority learners who are supposedly the target group of this Government,' said Harding. 'We already know who these children are – why can't we talk about their learning needs rather than foist a test on them so we can say yet again that their achievement results are poor.'
The unanimous endorsement from today's national conference sends a clear signal that principals remain bitterly opposed to national standards, and that they fully support the earlier call to disengage with PACT. This is not schools breaking the law – but we will not assist in building a weapon of mass destruction within our world class education system."