2. Skills and Knowledge not subjects and exams

The ‘cram and exam’ model of summative assessment is not a reliable way of assessing skills such as creativity, innovation, teamwork, collaboration, problem solving and communication. Each and every learner needs to understand the relationship between their learning, their working future and the educational options that will get them there. Senior high school needs a ‘destinations focus’ for students by creating clear and effective pathways to post-school destinations to study and employment.

We also need to reconsider whether there are practical life skills that aren’t currently being taught within schools but should be. For example, many jobs require a driving license but driver training is not widely delivered in schools. We should consider if skills like driver licensing can be an integrated part of senior secondary education, even as part of NCEA. Every school leaver should be confident they have core life skills to be successful post-school.

Modern high schools can’t continue to just ask students to “pick six subjects” – we need schools to plan programmes that support learners towards their next steps, whatever they happen to be.

  • How can the education system better provide students with useful skills rather than just subjects?

  • What core skills should be in a school leavers “toolkit”? (such as drivers’ licenses, financial literacy, civics and citizenship) 

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