Friday, 30 September 2016

Decile - Just A Number

According to the Ministry of Education, deciles are defined as "a measure of the socio-economic position of a school’s student community relative to other schools throughout the country". The 10% of schools with the highest proportion of children from low socio-economic families are classified as a Decile 1. The 10% of schools with the highest proportion of children from high socio-economic families are therefore classified as a Decile 10.

The unfortunate reality I have been thinking about a lot recently, are the stereotypes associated with the decile of a school. I started to think about deciles more after reading a uni student's blogpost about being Maori (see Trinity's blog), and the recent article about students at our school. More often than not, higher decile schools are considered to be 'better schools' with greater academic results and more opportunities for students than those who attend schools that are lower decile. However, as Education Minister Hekia Parata expressed, "decile is not destiny".

As discussed throughout considerable research and media articles, including this piece above the decile divide, home background effects students success. I do not doubt this one bit; home life certainly effects student success at school, however not only students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Irrespective of decile, all students have backgrounds which influence on their academic achievement, which I think is something we are guilty of forgetting. 

Just because there different struggles in a low socio-economic home, this does not mean there aren't struggles in a high socio-economic home.

This graph (from NZ Herald) really bugged me. Yes, it may be true, and yes it is something our country is striving to change, but no it is not entirely about how much money the students families make (I must add here I do think this is a significant factor, but not the only factor impacting on a child's success). Because, as Kirsty Johnston comments "although their lives aren't like the kids from wealthy areas, it doesn't mean they won't succeed"

If we, New Zealand society, do not challenge the status quo, the norm, the stereotypes surrounding the decile system in our country, then I believe the statistics will remain unchanged. If we assume all Maori and Pasifika students and all low decile schools are incapable of high achievement, and Pakeha students and high decile schools are incapable of failure, we are the problem.

"Be responsible for what you say and be a part of the answer, not the problem." Trinity

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