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ERIC Number: ED512598
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-8773-9863-6
Are Our Standards Slipping? Debates Over Literacy and Numeracy Standards in New Zealand since 1945
Openshaw, Roger; Walshaw, Margaret
In a number of Western nations, concern over literacy and numeracy standards has put huge political pressure on education systems to improve the situation. Here in New Zealand, the government has recently introduced literacy and numeracy standards designed to improve basic skills in these key fields of achievement. What is perhaps less evident is that literacy and numeracy standards have featured prominently in the news over a long period of time--and that news has usually been bad. The authors of this book argue that, despite ongoing concern, there has been little sustained scholarly analysis of the particular social conditions and political dimensions that have driven the intense interest that literacy and numeracy have received over the last 60 years. They observe that, whilst criticism has been relatively continuous, there have been distinct periods of time when criticism peaks. The authors identify three of these: the mid-late 1950s; the late 1970s and the most recent period. Each case study is seen to illustrate how debates over literacy and numeracy standards can be placed within a wider social, political, economic and cultural context. In so doing the authors explore long-standing debates regarding the fundamental purposes of education. "Are Our Standards Slipping?" provides a background and context for ongoing discussion. Chapters include: (1) "Crisp, unambiguous and precise?": Interrogating debates over literacy and numeracy standards; (2) "Sweeping humanity towards its destiny": A new education for a new society; (3) "Criticism of unusual intensity and scope": Critique and response in the 1950s; (4) "Large and grandiose aims": Curriculum ferment in the 1960s and 1970s; (5) "Back to basics!": Criticism of standards during the 1970s; (6) "The Appalling Achievement of Mediocrity": Criticism of standards post-Picot; (7) "So You Think Your Child is Falling Behind?": The standards debate renewed; (8) "Crusade!": A radical new track in dealing with the problem; and (9) "Battleground": The fight over literacy and numeracy standards 1945-2010
New Zealand Council for Educational Research. P.O. Box 3237, Wellington 6140 New Zealand. Tel: +64-4384-7939; Fax: +64-4384-7933; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: New Zealand Council for Educational Research
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand