Education Minister Trevor Mallard has had a 'road to Damascus' conversion over the assessment of the literacy of primary
school children, National's Education spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said today.
"In October 1999 Trevor Mallard said 'national testing was not in the best interests of children's learning'. In
September 1999 Steve Maharey said 'testing did not help children read and write better. In fact, there was considerable
evidence to show that it encouraged rote learning rather than good learning techniques'.
"Today Mr Mallard has announced 'new tools to help primary teachers accurately assess how much children are learning at
school'. The CD-Rom provided to all teachers to 'test what their children have learned' introduces a standardised,
"Mr Mallard, once staunchly opposed to results being compared with other schools, now says the new assessment tools will
allow teachers 'to compare how their children are doing with other children throughout the country'.
"Mr Mallard's change of heart will be welcomed by parents throughout the country who were dismayed when Mr Mallard
dumped National's plans for literacy and numeracy testing for pupils in years 5 and 7.
"So far, Mr Mallard has pinched National's policies on ICT in schools, property funding, professional development for
principals, the success of the literacy and numeracy strategy and now competency testing in literacy and numeracy for
year 5 and 7 pupils," Mr Brownlee said.