Information for Principal’s Nominees

Processing a derived grade application

The school must process derived grade applications (DOC, 240KB) online on behalf of candidates by the published closing date (below).

Applications for national representation require completion of a derived grade pre-approval application form (DOCX, 67KB).

  • The school must be confident that any grade submitted has been checked for consistency against the criteria of the registered standard and is quality assured. 
  • Do not apply online for the MCAT examination or Visual Arts Levels 1 & 2 as these are managed under your missed and late assessment policy.
  • For an unexpected event such as a local emergency or group trauma such as the sudden death of a student, contact your SRM for advice.
  • Follow the instructions for making online applications through your high security login from 21 October and by the closing dates:
    • 5 pm on 3 November for Design and Visual Communication, Level 3 Education for Sustainability, Technology or Level 3 Visual Arts.
    • 5pm on 9 December for standards assessed in NZQA external examination sessions. 2016 examination timetable
  • Level 3 Visual Arts portfolios submitted for a derived grade must have a Visual Arts derived grade label (DOCX, 42KB) attached prior to submission.
  • Retain all completed derived grade application forms and supporting documents until applications open next year as evidence for your own review or in case of an audit by NZQA.
  • Retain any communication from a distance learning provider that records the derived grade(s) for which they have responsibility.
  • In unexpected circumstances late applications may be considered by NZQA, prior to results being released in January. This is a manual process so contact your SRM for advice.

For detailed information and guidance about derived grade applications, refer to the NZQA derived grade guidelines and  scenarios.

Emergency Grade Applications

Where a significant situation occurs which prevents students from attending an examination or whose performance was impaired in an examination, then the Emergency Grade Applications process is available.

School quality assurance processes 

Processes and evidence for derived grades assure NZQA that the reported grade is based on pre-existing, valid, standard-specific evidence which meets the requirements of the standard.

Quality assurance – assessment tool

Examples of processes that could give the school confidence that the assessment tool used was fit for purpose.

  1. The evidence used is from a practice exam that, for example, had been:
    • developed “in-house” and critiqued in the same way that internal assessments are critiqued (e.g. it could be a practice exam based on modified papers from previous years); or
    • purchased from a secure source such as the subject association and checked against the achievement criteria of the standard; or
    • purchased from a commercial source and checked against the achievement criteria of the standard; or
    • provided by a colleague in another school and critiqued in the same way that internal assessments are critiqued; or
    • an on-line practice exam developed by NZQA or by NZQA in conjunction with another provider.
  2. The evidence is from an assignment or an end-of-topic test that was:
    • developed with similar rigour as any of the examples above; and
    • there is certainty that the student’s work was their own.

Quality assurance – assessment judgement

What quality assurance processes could give the school confidence and provide justification that the derived grade was based on valid, standard-specific evidence?

  1. Another subject-expert (i.e. “second pair of eyes”) had been involved in the marking, for example, through:
    • the use of panel-marking
    • a sample of grade boundaries from marked examination papers having been checked by a colleague.
  2. Alternatively, justification of the derived grade could, for example, be through:
    • external moderation agreement rates that provide confidence in teacher judgements
    • teacher involvement with external examination writing or marking for this standard or subject, which could provide confidence in teacher judgements
    • middle or senior management consultation on the teacher’s use of assessment schedules, NZQA exemplars and past student answer booklets that were used as benchmarks, to provide confidence in teacher judgements
    • comparison of previous years’ practice examination grades with NZQA external examination grades achieved for those same years, to provide confidence in the consistency and accuracy of the teacher’s judgements.

The alternatives are particularly useful where a “second pair of eyes” is not readily available.


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