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NZQA Update

Michael Meade —

The following announcement was made by NZQA on Wednesday 25 August.

Because of the disruption COVID-19 has caused to secondary school students, the following changes to assessment dates will apply to all students:

  • The dates for end of year NCEA and NZ Scholarship exams will be moved back by two weeks. Exams will now be held between Monday 22 November and Tuesday 14 December.
  • NCEA subjects where students prepare a portfolio instead of sitting an exam – like Design and Visual Communication – will have the due date for these portfolios pushed back by two weeks.
  • The NCEA Level 1 Mathematics Common Assessment Task (MCAT) will be delayed for two weeks ( from 14 or 16 September – to 28 or 30 September). At this stage, the dates for DigiCATs remain 20 Sept – 1 Oct and 18 – 27 October.
  • Schools will not have to provide portfolios from students sitting NCEA Level 1 or Level 2 Visual Arts for NZQA to verify. This means there will be more time for students to finish their work, and for teachers to mark it.

These changes will give students and schools more time to prepare for the end of the year.

Other changes

As the length of time New Zealand might remain in Alert Level 4 or Alert Level 3 becomes clearer, there are extra steps the Government might take, such as reintroducing Learning Recognition Credits, or making changes to the thresholds for Endorsements and University Entrance. NZQA and the Ministry of Education are working with the Minister’s Professional Advisory Group and schools about whether more changes might be needed.

Additional information

Schools already have a lot of control over how they teach and assess students working towards NCEA. The Ministry of Education and NZQA are working with schools to support teaching and learning under Alert Levels 3 and 4, and make sure this learning can be assessed while students are at home, or when they return to class.

If COVID-19 – or something else beyond a student’s control – means they are not able to sit their end of year exams, we have a well-tested Derived Grade process. This uses the student’s work already done during the year to provide a grade, instead of the exam mark.

Like in 2020, the changes to NCEA and UE are designed to make sure that students have a fair opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned both in and outside of class, and that an NCEA qualification received this year will open doors to study and work the same as an NCEA earned in any other year.