Petition to Simon Birmingham, Robert Stokes
Lets grade Australian schools by students' happiness and creativity, not academic results
Stop. Don't sign this until you're sure - you're really sure that you are ready to have Australia put everything at stake and completely ovehurl our current education system for something entirely different because of your signature. Are you ready to be part of something like that? If you sign this petition, you are agreeing to a wolf in sheep's clothing, appearing to be asking for nothing more than a small beauracratic change in a snowfield of policies and procedures that appear to govern what we call 'The Education System'. But signer beware - be very careful of what the unintended consequences of your comaraderie may be. Because we have been sheep, blindly following the orders of our instructors and teachers for so long, and we don't know what it means to be free. We have become so comfortable with our fences and fear and ability to blame others for our discontent that though we may hate our governors, are we really ready to take our lives into our own hands? Please be very careful about writing your name on this list, in case it snowballs and we end up running free like the wolves, who's power and decisions lie within. Dear Minister for Education, While the government has been using standardised testing to see where students are falling through the cracks in literacy and numeracy, it has neglected the far greater crack that 45% of Australians are expected to fall into at some point in their lives: A 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing found that three million Australians had fallen into the cracks of depression and anxiety, to the point where it was affecting their career, productivity, wellbeing, and personal relationships. If parents are to be informed of how well a school can support their children in developing their literacy an numeracy, they should also be informed of how well that school can support their child's long term emotional wellbeing and enable them with the skills to deal with life's challenges in a creative and positive manner and to live happy, fulfilling, empowering and rewarding lives with resilience against anxiety and depression. Many schools seem to be failing miserably in this matter. A recent study by Ben North of UNSW as quoted in 'The Conversation' found that: ''Of the 722 year 12 students 42% registered high level anxiety symptoms, high enough to be of clinical concern(!!!)'' ''16% of students reported extremely severe levels of anxiety. Stress, anxiety and pressure levels were highest among girls, and higher still among gifted girls. These findings were consistent across a range of cultural groups''. In the flurry of competition to tout the best grades, governments, schools and families alike have often sadly swept aside the need for emotional wellbeing in students' lives. We asks that: 1. The following holistic testing be done for Year 7 students, Year 12 students, and adults five and ten years after leaving school: •The Happiness Test•The Emotional Intelligence Test•The Creative Problem Solving Test•Personal (confidential) responses 2. Wherever the results of NAPLAN and/or final year examinations are publicly released or are used as the basis for studies by schools, governments or researchers, the results of the abovementioned tests should be also readily available 3. Use the schools ranking highest in the abovementioned tests as models for curriculum development and direction for State and National funding4. Direct teachers from schools with high rates of anxiety, depression, lack of emotional intelligence or creativity; to taking remedial courses (based on the research from the findings of the highest performing schools) about positive teaching techniques. Let's plant seeds for the children of today to be able to be able to make a more peaceful, content and harmonious world than the one we have known
Petition to Kristine Kilkelly, Deputy Chief Executive of NZQA (Assessment Division), Dr. Karen Poutasi, Chief Executive of NZQA, Hekia Parata, Minister of Education
Justice for NCEA students
On the morning of the 14th November 2016, a tragic earthquake struck New Zealand, wreaking havoc between Canterbury and Wellington (and beyond). Although many aspects of society were affected, students sitting NCEA exams were overlooked by NZQA who did not make a clear statement regarding the exams until the last minute, forcing students to endure additional stress and anxiety as we tried to wrap our heads around what would occur. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck at 12:02am (NZST) however conflicting (and unconfirmed) reports about whether exams would go ahead were released by the media (not on the official NZQA website) only after 7:30am on the morning of the exam. Even in this case, individual secondary schools were not given enough notice by NZQA, only making a final decision regarding exams at approximately 8am. NZQA did not release an official statement on their website regarding the certainty of exams until later that morning. Even if exams were to go ahead, students would not have enough time to get ready and travel to their school/exam centre. NZQA's late action disadvantaged students as we were unsure whether exams would go ahead, consequently filling us with additional (and unneeded) stress and anxiety. Approximately 50,000 students across the country were affected, particularly: Level 1 Science Level 1 Agricultural and Horticultural Science Level 2 Classical Studies Level 2 Agricultural and Horticultural Science Level 3 Agricultural and Horticultural Science Level 3 Making Music NZ Scholarship History NZ Scholarship Chemistry Some schools are not allowing students to apply for derived grades despite the student themselves being affected by the earthquake and evacuations that stemmed from the tsunami warnings. Some students were unable to travel to their exam centres and/or prepare thoroughly on the morning of the exam due to NZQA's lack of communication with both students and educators. Some students sitting the NZ Scholarship History exam were also disadvantaged with Takapuna Grammar School students starting the exam prior to being made aware of the postponement of NZ Scholarship exams. It is highly evident that NZQA's handling of this incident has disadvantaged students, forcing extra anxiety and stress upon us. A litany of both unconfirmed and conflicting reports on the morning of the 14th November 2016 regarding the status of NCEA examinations caused confusion among students, negatively affecting their ability to succeed. As a result, this petition has been created to request justice for NCEA students from NZQA. We would like the following criteria to be met for students who had scheduled NCEA (and NZ Scholarship) examinations on this day: Students who managed to sit their examination should still be eligible for a derived grade (without the need for a medical certificate or any equivalent form of proof) due to the stress and anxiety of the natural disaster in addition to NZQA's handling of the incident. Students who did not sit their examinations and who are eligible for derived grades should have the chance to sit the same assessment standard with a different set of questions as we were unable to access our examination centre due to the natural disaster as well as unable to access the examination centre prior to the start time of the exams due to NZQA's handling of the incident. NZQA should remove the external requirements to gain a course endorsement (as they did in the 2010 external examinations for students affected by the Canterbury Earthquakes). The aforementioned should apply for all students who had exams scheduled on Monday 14th November at an examination centre in: Wellington Region, Marlborough Region, Manawatu-Wanganui Region, Nelson Region, Canterbury Region. *This could be altered to affect more regions affected by the earthquake and tsunami warnings. Any candidate from a region that is omitted above should be dealt on a case-by-case basis (e.g. as many students from regions such as the Gisborne Region and the Otago Region had to evacuate due to tsunami warnings). All students who reside in a tsunami evacuation zone on the eastern coast of New Zealand should also be eligible for the aforementioned solutions. NZ Scholarship students who had to complete the entire scholarship exam and were allotted the entire 3 hours to complete the examination should be able to be marked from the non-postponed exam however also have the option to sit the exam on the postponed date. NZQA should issue a formal apology to all students affected by their handling of the incident. From no later than 2017 onwards, NZQA should implement a minimum of two 'emergency exam days' at the end of the annual external exam period in order to prevent the widespread injustice that students endured this year. Students should have a choice of sitting the exam on the 'emergency exam date' or accepting a derived grade. NZQA should conduct a review on the procedures that they undertook following the 7.8 earthquake and have any findings from this review made available to the public. This review should seek input from those employed by NZQA as well as students, teachers, parents, and the general public. NZQA should use findings from this review to outline any issues from their mishandling of this year's exams and draft a policy stating their procedures in the case that a disaster occurs again. The draft policy should be made available to the public by NZQA to seek feedback on it prior to drafting a final policy that NZQA will also make available to the public to view; this is to enable students, schools, and parents to have more clarity in the event that another disaster were to interfere with exams. Schools that wish to give students the opportunity to resit their mock exams in order to improve their derived grade should have the full support of NZQA and not be restricted from doing so. As students, we work incredibly hard throughout the year to study for these external examinations with many students only being taught useful and relevant content and technique after practice exams (which are used to determine derived grades), therefore all affected students should be granted the opportunities outlined above due to the earthquake and tsunami threat to New Zealand on the 14th November 2016. NZQA's mishandling of the incident caused anxiety and confusion among students who were already stressed from the natural disaster, let alone the exam content itself. We wish that NZQA has the audacity to understand the distress of its candidates as a result of their handling regarding the harrowing earthquake and tsunami that struck New Zealand on the 14th November 2016.