Category Archives: Education

Ethnicity, Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Educational Achievement: An Exploration

Research Report Funded by PPTA. Completed in April 2103 and Launched 9 July, 2013. A short summary is at   This column was rejected by The Listener. It was published in Pundit on 8 September, 2014.   Keywords: Education; Maori     Executive Summary (Conclusion)   The average PISA scores on the three dimensions of reading,…
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University Rankings by PBRF Score [1]

    Keywords: Education; Statistics;   The PBRF (Performance Based Research Fund) score card has modified university behaviour substantially. This is not a paper about how that internal behaviour has changed. Rather it suggests that the scores may be used in different ways to draw quite different conclusions. Gilling’s law states that the way you…
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How Good is our Schooling?

Presentation at Launch of ‘Ethnicity, Gender, Socioeconomic Status and Educational Achievement: An Exploration”, 9 July, 2013. The full report is here. Keywords: Education; Maori While there is much grumbling about our education system, the evidence suggests it is doing very well. Every three years the OECD surveys a sample of 15 year old students. The…
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Chartering Through the Long Recession

Listener: 23 June, 2012 Keywords: Education; Macroeconomics & Money; Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine opens with a description of the American neo-liberals using Cyclone Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans as a chance to replace the city’s public school system with charter schools. This is but one of the book’s examples of their seizing opportunities following…
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My Chemical Romance

If it weren’t for good old chemistry, where would New Zealand be? Listener: 24 January, 2009 A background to this column is ‘My (Almost) Chemical Career’ at Keywords: Education; Growth & Innovation; I almost became a chemist. In the upper forms at Christchurch Boys’ High School I had an inspiring chemistry teacher, Alan Wooff….
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The Direction Of Science Education

In September 2008 (16-18) I attended a Wellcome Trust sponsored conference in York England on the value of science education. We were invited to submit comments. Below is mine.   Keywords: Education; Growth & Innovation;   Dear Conference Delegates,   You invited comments coming out of the conference. The following is a short one.  …
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Decommercialising Advanced Studies

Keywords:  Education;  Governance; Growth & Innovation;   The judges of a singing contest, dissatisfied with the first diva, awarded the prize to the second without having heard her. The favouring of commercialisation in the late 1980s and early 1990s had a similar empirical base. We have now heard the second diva, and while she has…
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The Uni Split

Letter to an expatriate: 2031 . Listener: 4 November, 2006 . Keywords: Education; Dear Gerry, You’ve asked me what’s happened to New Zealand universities since we graduated all those years ago in 2006. Actually, the critical issue was finally identified that year. Even today it is remembered in the line “You can’t have the job…
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What Does the 2004 Living Standards Report Tell Us?

This was submitted to, posted 3 August, 2006.  Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy; Statistics;  The New Zealand Living Standards 2004 report depends entirely upon its “Economic Living Standards Index” (ELSI), first used in the previous (2000) report. At that time I expressed reservations about the index. Many have not been addressed. What I do…
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Fit the Bill: Will National’s Policies Improve the Education System?

Listener: 15 July, 2006.  Keywords: Education;  I thought the only really interesting manifesto policy in the 2005 election was National’s proposal to give parents more choice and schools more independence. National wants to relax rigid zoning restrictions, increase the number of places at integrated schools and restore the funding to independent schools to past levels…
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The Youth Labour Market Guarantee: the Environment

This was prepared in May 2006 for a report on a Youth Labour Market Guarantee.   Keywords: Education; Growth & Innovation; Labour Studies;   Introduction.   This paper provides an environment in which any Youth Labour Market Guarantee package must function. It covers the Government Vision statement, the latest Department of Labour 2005 statement The…
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Educational Aspects Of My Time at Christchurch Boys’ High School: 1956-1960.

This note was prepared on request of a educationalist who is writing a history of some aspects of the school for its 125th anniversary in 2006

Keywords: Education;

The mid 1950s must have been a pivotal time for Christchurch Boys’ High School. A number of new high schools opened up in Christchurch – Aranui, Cashmere, Linwood, Riccarton, Shirley Boys’. The challenge was not the drawing off of students, for this was a time of the ‘bulge’, and the reputation of the school was such that it still attracted a high proportion of the best students. But new schools need teachers. CBHS lost a number of its better younger ones to senior positions in the new schools. Their promotion at CBHS had been blocked by the older generation, many of whom had been there for decades, perhaps after returning from the Second (or even First) World War. Those teachers, near retirement, were too often tired and bored, at best teaching solidly rather than inspiringly.

Bums on Seats

In some tertiary education it has been “Never mind the quality: feel the width”.

Listener: 9 April, 2005.

Keywords: Education;

Third party funding occurs when neither producer nor consumer pays for the economic trans-action, but some outsider does. This opens up the possibility that the two beneficiaries from the funding will thwart the funder’s purposes. So funders typically impose additional rules, to ensure their money is spent as intended.

Testing Economics:

A Professional Economist Tackles the Controversial Seventh Form Economics Examination

Listener: 12 February, 2005.

Keywords: Education; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;

Intrigued by a row over some questions in the 2004 Level 3 (Seventh Form) NCEA economics exam, I obtained the paper. It is in four sections. The first two, “Understanding marginal analysis and the behaviour of firms” and “Understanding the market and allocative efficiency”, required the student’s mastery of some standard economic concepts.