Year nine and 10 students are still achieving good levels despite a report suggesting their progress is not being tracked well enough, the head of the Secondary Principals' Association says.
A survey of 68 secondary schools by the Education Review Office (ERO) released on Tuesday found schools were gathering limited information about their students' performance in literacy and numeracy at years nine and 10, the years once known as form three and four.
"Very few schools were actually setting improvement targets for these students, with boards of trustees typically in the dark about the achievement of this group of students," Dr Stoop said.
"These are the foundation years for secondary schooling and it's vital that schools get it right for these students."
Secondary Principals' Association president Patrick Walsh told NZ Newswire the continually improving pass rates of NCEA Level One, assessed in year 11, suggested the children were making good progress at years nine and 10.
"I don't think the report is saying that year nine and 10 students are academically failing," he said.
"Clearly the year nine and 10 students are still learning and achieving well."
Mr Walsh agreed that better record-keeping and separate targets for individual students could help improve their achievement, but achieving this would be difficult with current staffing levels.
"While we accept the principle that the teacher makes the difference, clearly the demands of meeting the individualised learning needs of students, that would demand that you have smaller classes to do that."
The ERO report said just seven per cent of schools had highly effective processes for knowing about students' achievement and progress in years nine and 10.It said 57 per cent had partially effective processes, and 36 per cent had minimally effective or ineffective processes.
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