Government’s School Equity Index more nuanced

New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO) chief executive Kevin Shore says the government’s new equity index (EQI) is a more scientific and nuanced method of identifying students at most risk and estimates the extent to which students face socio-economic barriers to achievement at school.

The EQI replaces the controversial decile system of funding schools.

“The EQI uses anonymised individual-level information from the actual students attending schools over the last three years,” he says.

“The information is then aggregated up to a school level to give a more nuanced and up-to-date picture of the socio-economic barriers faced by the schools’ students.”

Shore says the move away from the current decile system will be welcomed by many since the decile system has become a de facto measurement of school “quality”.

That’s actually a fallacy – it’s not what the decile system was set up for, he points out.

“The decile system was intended to help understand and respond to the relationship between socio-economic circumstances and student achievement.

“Whether the removal of deciles and the use of the EQI will change this perception and support schools in changing current views linking decile to quality will take time to assess.”

Shore notes that within the country’s state-integrated education network there are many examples of low-decile, high quality schools.

“This is something that we should take great pride in and celebrate with these schools.”

State integrated schools “show us how important it is to have high expectations of our young ones, and to value strong community collaboration and action within our schools”.

They also show us the value of beliefs that empower and enhance the dignity of each child, and the teachers who want each child to be the best possible version of themselves, he says.


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