Report - assessment practices

Assessment practices in Māori performing arts programmes at Western Institute of Technology (WITT)

New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

3 November 2014

Read the report summary below or download a copy of the full report (PDF, 142KB).

1. Summary findings and recommendations

Background

An internal investigation and an external Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) audit of two Māori performing arts programmes delivered by the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) were conducted during the period May–September 2014.

These investigations found poor standards of administration and record keeping, ineffective management controls, and a lack of credibility of reported academic results.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) accompanied Deloitte on a follow-up visit to WITT on 9–10 September 2014. NZQA’s primary focus at this visit was to gather evidence of WITT’s assessment practices and evaluate the validity of qualifications awarded to graduates of the two programmes.

Deloitte gathered detailed information regarding WITT’s programme delivery, which has been considered in reaching the conclusions and recommendations in this report.

Findings

National Certificate in Māori Performing Arts (Performance) – Level 4

  • In most Level 4 cohorts, the content of the Level 4 qualification was consistently being taught, including both the knowledge outcomes (e.g. the pūtake and tikanga of the particular performance item) as well as the skills required to perform the item.
  • There was significant variation in tutors’ assessment practice, little guidance was given by management staff, and no moderation of assessor judgements took place. Some tutors required students to complete written work covering the theoretical aspects of the unit standards – either individually, or in groups. It is likely that other tutors did not explicitly assess students against the theoretical aspects of the unit standards. WITT’s internal pre-assessment moderation identified problems with the assessment material in 2013, but no corrective action was taken.
  • There were many opportunities for the performance aspects of the unit standards to be assessed throughout the course. It would certainly have been possible to conduct valid and fair assessment in the context of the programme as it was delivered. However, tutors’ documentation of assessment judgements was unsatisfactory, and gives little confidence in the robustness of assessment outcomes.
  • Some Level 4 cohorts in 2013 appear to have been “self-taught”, with little or no involvement from a WITT tutor. There is also significant doubt that some students in a number of other cohorts actually participated in the course.

National Diploma in Māori Performing Arts (Tutoring) – Level 6

  • It is likely that some of the content included in the Level 6 qualification was not being delivered. In particular, there is no evidence that research skills, as required by unit standard 19909, were adequately taught, or that tutors had sufficient understanding of the expectations of this Level 6 unit standard.
  • In some cohorts, especially among kapa haka groups focused on preparation for competition, there was limited emphasis on tutoring skills.
  • At least some tutors expected their students to produce written work consistent with the aims of the qualification, including lesson plans, hand-outs, and evaluation forms.
  • A serious and significant shortcoming is that tutors did not observe the Level 6 students in a teaching situation, and it was therefore not possible for them to have assessed students’ competency against the unit standards.
  • There is doubt that some students in a number of cohorts actually participated in the course.

Conclusions

National Certificate in Māori Performing Arts (Performance) – Level 4

On balance, NZQA considers that the learning environment for most Level 4 students allowed them to gain the required knowledge and skills of the qualification; many students were appropriately assessed, and the majority of the remaining students would have been able to demonstrate competency had they been appropriately assessed.

A small number of Level 4 students were enrolled in cohorts which had little or no contact with WITT tutors. As a consequence, NZQA will withdraw the unit standards and qualifications that were awarded to these students.

While some other students may have been awarded qualifications without having participated in the programme, or met the requirements of the unit standards, it is not
possible to conclusively identify these individuals due to the absence of adequate records. NZQA therefore recommends that all remaining graduates of the National Certificate in
Māori Performing Arts (Performance) – Level 4 retain their qualification and the unit standards they have been awarded.

It is vital that significant improvements are made to WITT’s practices. NZQA understands that work is already well underway in this area.

National Diploma in Māori Performing Arts (Tutoring) – Level 6

There were serious flaws in the design, delivery and assessment of the Level 6 programme. Tutors were not trained, resourced or supported, and this resulted in inadequate assessment
practices.

NZQA does not have confidence in the validity of any of the qualifications (or component unit standards) resulting from delivery of the National Diploma in Māori Performing Arts (Tutoring) – Level 6 since the inception of the programme in 2010. NZQA will therefore proceed to withdraw the unit standards and qualifications that were awarded to all past Diploma students.

NZQA also has concerns about WITT’s capability and capacity to provide a programme leading to the award of the National Diploma in Māori Performing Arts (Tutoring) – Level 6 at present.

Next steps

On the basis of these findings, the actions set out below will be taken.

With respect to the Level 4 Certificate:

a) WITT to submit programme documentation and assessment material to NZQA for the Level 4 Certificate that accurately reflects its intended delivery and assessment methodology. WITT also to submit information to demonstrate that it has the capability and capacity to provide this programme.

b) NZQA to assess the programme documentation to confirm that the programme design is adequate and appropriate, that WITT’s programme regulations are clear and relevant, that the assessment material is fit for purpose, and that WITT has the capability and capacity to provide the programme and monitor its performance on an ongoing basis.

c) WITT to make any changes required by NZQA to ensure that the programme is fit for purpose and NZQA can be confident in the standard of delivery and assessment.

d) NZQA to conduct a monitoring visit in 3 to 6 months, to confirm that WITT is providing the programme as agreed.

e) WITT and NZQA to withdraw certificates from past graduates who were enrolled in cohorts where there is no evidence of programme delivery.

f) WITT and NZQA to discuss options for addressing the situation for past graduates who have been inappropriately awarded the certificate and its component unit standards.

With respect to the Level 6 Diploma:

a) WITT and NZQA to discuss what is required to maintain accreditation to provide the diploma.

b) WITT and NZQA to withdraw diplomas from all past graduates.

c) WITT and NZQA to discuss options for addressing the situation for past graduates who have been inappropriately awarded the diploma and its component unit standards.

 
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