Working with schools, students, and whānau

As NZQA progresses its Future State work programme, we are taking an ongoing collaborative approach between ourselves and employers, schools, tertiary education organisations, learners and their whānau. We know that getting client feedback is critical to the design and implementation of new systems and processes, and we are increasingly undertaking work based on co-design and collaborative approaches.

Information for parents and whānau

NZQA have prepared information for parents regarding the digital assessment work currently being undertaken - see Digital Transformation in Schools (PDF, 231KB) (published July 2016, PDF 232 KB).

Practical information about education for parents and carers can be accessed from the education portal maintained by the Ministry of Education.

Engaging with schools and students

To support the communications for our Future State Programme and its projects, in 2015 NZQA undertook a series of visits to both primary and secondary schools around the country, engaging with staff and students to consider the use of digital devices and technology in their learning environments.

This year we are engaging with schools and students on specific projects, as outlined below.

Digital Assessment: trials and pilots focus groups

As we progress our digital assessment programme, working towards having all examinations (where appropriate) online by 2020, we want to ensure that the student and teacher voice is incorporated and helps inform the direction we take in digitising external assessment.

To do this, we invited all secondary schools to register their interest in participating in the 2016 pilots and trials. We have also asked some schools to participate in a series of focus groups, to help inform the development of the sample assessments and to provide feedback on the digital examination trials and pilots.

Digital Moderation consultation

NZQA is currently reviewing how it can better provide moderation services to meet changing assessor needs. This work includes making external moderation findings more relevant to teachers and tutors, improving the timeliness and usability of external moderation findings, and providing a tool for use by assessors to support their own internal moderation practices.

As part of this, we developed a Digital Moderation Discussion Paper outlining the proposed changes (feedback closed on 18 April 2016). In addition, we ran workshops throughout April in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to demonstrate the new moderation tools and invite input into their design.

More information can be found be found on the digital moderation webpage.

Client Experience – easier access to our information

We have a “Client Experience” work stream focused on developing easier access to our information and services for our clients – we aim to ensure our customers can easily find the information they require from us.

We have a number of pieces of work underway to support improving the experience of our client services, and we are reviewing our core services that are delivered online, including our website and extranet.

We also know a large number of clients access our services via their mobile phones, and have consequently developed two mobile apps:

Raising Māori student achievement in STEM

We want all Māori students to ‘qualify for the future world’. Employers and iwi now, and in the future are looking for graduates that can thrive in a rapidly evolving, innovative, technology mediated world (New Vision for Education, Unlocking the Potential of Technology, World Economic Forum with the Boston Consulting Group, 2015). The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) forecasts that employment growth will be strongest for STEM highly-skilled occupations in Aotearoa. This is driving NZQA to work with partners to support a 50% lift in Māori student achievement in NCEA Level 3 STEM subjects. NZQA is already working alongside key stakeholders on a range of initiatives including the following.

  • Mātauranga Māori in STEM: NZQA is exploring opportunities to raise the visibility of Mātauranga Māori based STEM unit standards currently available and to increase participation of assessment practice opportunities. We are working with Network 4 Learning on how to maximise Mātauranga Māori opportunities through POND, an online environment. NZQA are also running further trials of an online learning programme for teachers on Assessment Practice, following a trial of a nine week facilitated course in 2015, which will support this.

  • Supporting the Massey University Pūhoro Māori Academy of Science: we have signed a partnership agreement with Massey University to provide support for the Pūhoro Māori Academy of Science. NZQA will provide “NCEA and the Whānau information” programme resources, train academy navigators, provide advice and our expertise on ways to track and evaluate student progress and the programme itself.

  • 2016 STEM boot camp programme: in 2015 NZQA in partnership with Callaghan Innovation, Te Kumikumi Trust, Te Wharekura o Mauao (Tauranga) and design-thinking expert and Stanford Design School graduate Anne Gibbon sent 12 students from Te Wharekura o Mauao to a STEM boot camp in Silicon Valley, San Francisco. The aim of this programme was to expose Māori students to experiences that were intellectually challenging, innovative, creative and inspiring for students.   This year Callaghan Innovation and NZQA are working with iwi to send 100 Māori students to participate in the Silicon Valley STEM boot camp programme.

Share your ideas

If you have feedback on the above, or ideas for how we might better work with you, please email

Page last updated 25 July 2016

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