A new report predicts schools will take shortcuts to unfairly boost their results in the national standards in reading, writing and maths.
The research was commissioned by teacher union the Educational Institute also says most of the schools in the study are not happy with the standards.
The lead researcher, Waikato University education professor Martin Thrupp, says teachers and principals know that comparing schools is not fair.
He says their awareness of this will prompt some schools to manipulate the system to ensure their results appear better than they should.
Mr Thrupp says despite a veneer of compliance, there is a lot of concern and unhappiness about the standards.
The study covers only six schools, but the Educational Institute and the Principals Federation say the findings reinforce anecdotal evidence about the standards.