The Tauhara College junior graduation system is a mechanism by which we recognise high but expected standards in work, attitude and behaviour, irrespective of academic ability. It is an essentially positive system, where staff assign points out of five in each of three categories, which are then accumulated to give an overall percentage.
This assessment happens at the end of each of the four terms, and the results are averaged out to give a cumulative total. Students who gain an average of 60% or more now “graduate” their level at school, and those who gain 80% level or higher, gain a “merit” award, with the very top grades of 95% or more gaining an “excellence” award.
The assessments are based on key competencies in the New Zealand Curriculum. These are all basic competency statements required for successful work habits. It is not hard.
This system is designed to also alert our junior students to the way in which the NCEA standards based system works, so they can aim for excellence rather than cruise through with a mere pass.
The end-of-year ceremony is a very positive one, because it is acknowledging the results of student effort, attitude and behaviour.
Every year we identify some students who seem unable or unwilling to rise to our school expectations, despite a lot of extra help, encouragement, and communication with home. These students do not graduate at this time. Some come back to school for retraining, and one or two will have to repeat the entire year at their current level, and then try again to progress through the school system with others of their age and outlook.