NCEA literacy and numeracy not up to scratch



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The Industry Training Federation (ITF) says NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements need to be strengthened as they are not meeting the levels of functional literacy and numeracy needed in the workplace. JUDE BARBACK reports.

The claim follows the release of new research which found a proportion of young people holding NCEA qualifications performed poorly against OECD-benchmarked tests of functional literacy and numeracy.  The research concludes that ‘the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA cannot be used as reliable indicators of students’ literacy and numeracy capabilities’.

ITF chief executive Josh Williams says the NCEA level 2 is designed to set people up for success in further education or in the workplace, but neither outcome is possible without functional literacy and numeracy skills.

“We are not blaming teachers or the NCEA system.  But when NCEA Level 2 is meant to be the benchmark school leaver qualification, and passport to future success, it must be trusted and credible.”

The Ministry of Education has argued that the research report is based on results from four years ago, and things have since improved.

However, some principals and employers were doubtful that progress had been made.

Avondale College principal Brent Lewis told Radio New Zealand that the problem was that students could gain literacy and numeracy credits from subjects where teachers had little experience in assessing literacy and numeracy.

Timber processing company Juken New Zealand's mill manager, Paul Jordan, told Radio New Zealand  the literacy and numeracy of many school leavers he had hired in recent years was not up to scratch, even though they had NCEA.

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