27 Sep 2016

Teachers demand apology over maths test

12:14 pm on 27 September 2016

Teachers and parents are demanding an apology from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as the fallout over a tough maths exam continues.

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Head of Maths at Wellington Girls College, Margaret Priest, said two weeks on there is still anger about the test. Photo: 123rf.com

The authority has received 170 complaints from principals, parents and teachers that the year-11 maths exam was poorly devised and too difficult.

Teachers and students have complained that the test has dented their confidence.

But, some academics have hit back at the complaints saying those types of exam questions were good preparation for tertiary study and questioned whether maths teachers were covering basic algebra with their students.

NZQA has said the exam was developed by an experienced team and reviewed by several current teachers.

It has now promised to do a better job in future of communicating with schools.

Wellington Girls College head of Maths Margaret Priest said that was just a start.

And she said, two weeks on, the anger was increasing and more complaints were likely.

"Most people with a modicum of humility, empathy and emotional intelligence will apologise when they make a mistake, because they know that eating humble pie is a quick way to put things right.

"And so NZQA have not modelled this [how they should have behaved], and it really is a lost opportunity I think."

Teachers have asked to see previews of future exams so they know their students were learning the right material, Ms Priest said.

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