Scenarios to assist decision-making for derived grade applications

The following scenarios will assist schools with the derived grade process and their advice to candidates.

School does not support the application.
The candidate is the applicant. The school will guide students about the extent to which an application meets NZQA guidelines but should not prevent a candidate from making the application. If the school does not support the application the reasons for this are to be stated in the online application.

Application relates to a Scholarship examination.
Does not meet guidelines. Scholarship is not eligible for a Derived Grade because it is a competitive performance-based award and in fairness to all other candidates, actual results must be compared.

Application is made after results are issued.
Does not meet guidelines. After online applications close a late application can be approved in extenuating circumstances and prior to results becoming available to candidates in January.

An ongoing condition.
Does not meet guidelines. An application based on a condition being present and/or managed during the learning process does not meet guidelines. Any illness, chronic condition or trauma that has been affecting the candidate is considered to be ongoing unless its onset occurs in the weeks immediately leading up to NZQA external examinations. Some ongoing physical and medical conditions can be managed through applications for special assessment conditions.

Candidate becomes ill during the examination.
Investigate. Refer to Examination Centre Manager (ECM). Supporting medical documentation is required for the examination(s) involved. If candidate attempts a paper and is also approved for a derived grade, the highest grade is awarded.

Candidate suffers from a temporary illness, trauma or other serious event which impairs the candidate's ability to prepare for an examination.
See above. Supporting medical documentation is required for the examination(s) involved. If candidate attempts a paper and is also approved for a derived grade, the highest grade is awarded.

Candidate suffers from a temporary illness, trauma or other serious event which impairs the candidate's ability to perform in the examination and/or to submit a completed portfolio.
Meets guidelines. Evidence from a health professional must be acquired within a day or two of each examination for which an application has been made. Appropriate professional evidence can be supported by pastoral evidence from within the school. An application can be approved where there is supporting evidence from a registered health professional that illness/injury prevented or impaired study. The illness/injury must be of a significant nature, e.g. pneumonia, vomiting and diarrhoea, not "I had a cold and could not study".

Candidate suffers an injury or undergoes an operation in the weeks leading up to examinations.
Investigate. Monitor the effects on the student leading up to the examination. Supporting medical documentation is required for the examination(s) involved.

Medical evidence does not cover the examination period.
Does not meet guidelines. Thehealth professional's evidence from consultation(s) does not match the examination dates. Clinical examination must have been made on each occasion or the report covers each or all of the examination sessions applied for. In determining the duration of the effect of the illness, condition or injury, medical practitioners should apply hindsight and/or foresight that is reasonable and appropriate. This means that a visit to a medical practitioner needs to be timely.

Medical professional indicates "minimal" on Section C.
Does not meet guidelines. In the absence of evidence of reasonable impairment and of any risk to others, it is expected that candidates attend an examination. Attendance does not prevent an application being made if a mild condition worsens during the examination. For approved applications the derived grade applies if it is an improvement on the grade achieved from the examination.

Appointment with medical specialist or scheduled surgery.
Investigate. Evidence would be needed that the appointment is a priority and presents an essential opportunity.

Death of a relative or close friend.
Meets guidelines, but investigate the duration of impact. An application can be made on the basis of emotional stress associated with the death of a relative or close friend. The nature of a candidate’s relationship with the deceased and their ability and willingness to attend an examination(s) are variables to be considered in the extent of the application. As a guide, applications covering  more than one week of the examinations need to be supported by evidence of clinical care and/or monitoring from a registered health professional.For the funeral and any associated travel, hold appropriate evidence about this (eg. pastoral, travel and funeral dates)  Contact your SRM if you are unsure about this and clearly explain the circumstances when making the online application.

A candidate is out of the area attending a funeral.
Investigate. Candidates should be encouraged where possible to attend their examination sessions at another secondary school. Liaise with the PN at that school to make a late request for papers if appropriate and to check that there is an examination session being held there. Where this is not a reasonable option, record the necessary information or hold evidence about this.For the funeral and any associated travel, hold appropriate evidence about this (eg. pastoral, travel and funeral dates)  Clearly explain the circumstances when making the online application.

The sudden death of a student at the school which affects a group of students.
Investigate and contact NZQA for advice.

Candidate arrived at the wrong time for the examination session.
Does not meet guidelines. This is an avoidable circumstance.

Candidate arrived late for the examination (after 30 minutes and cannot enter the examination room).
Does not meet guidelines. The timetable has been available all year. Any transport problem caused by individual car problems cannot be covered by the Derived Grade process.

Transport delay, for example a bus breakdown, car accident or motorway blockage.
Investigate. Check the evidence available from police and/or other agencies. This may involve a number of candidates. Contact NZQA for advice.

Candidate misses examination because the school made an error in the entry.
Does not meet guidelines. It is expected that the school and the candidate manage and check entries into externally assessed standards throughout the year.

Anxiety and stress problems.
Does not meet guidelines. The nature of examinations is that they can cause stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety problems cannot be approved, even with medical evidence, unless they arise from a significant non-examination related traumatic event at the time of, or immediately prior to the examination.

Existing post-traumatic stress.
Investigate. An application based on existing post-traumatic stress which is exacerbated by further events at the time of the examinations can be approved where evidence from a health professional is available and sufficient.

Candidate suffers from a chronic disorder (eg. anorexia nervosa) and could not study.
Investigate. Any illness or chronic condition or trauma that has been affecting the candidate for longer than the past 4 weeks is regarded as ongoing. However, the application can meet guidelines if there is a sudden change in a managed chronic condition/illness.

The candidate is hospitalised during the examinations.
Investigate. This situation usually meets guidelines unless the hospitalisation is related to examination stress. (See anxiety and stress problems.)

Candidate loses equipment/admission slip etc and becomes stressed before the examination.
Does not meet guidelines. This is within the candidate's and/or school's control. Schools should have a procedure to provide candidates with replacement admission slip. See also anxiety and stress problems.

There is prolonged disturbance (e.g. fire evacuation) during the examination.
Investigate. NZQA will advise a course of action after considering the Exam Centre Manager's report and discussions with school management.

Candidate applies for a Derived Grade for a standard where the grade held by the school is Not Achieved.
Meets guidelines. The candidate is the applicant and specifies the standards being applied for. While a candidate is not obliged to apply for a derived grade for every standard into which they are entered, the school is obliged to report the grade it holds, based on standard-specific evidence, for each standard listed in a candidate's application. The school should inform the applicant if there is a valid grade available for each standard and what that grade is.

A candidate is concerned about the quality of the technology used to record or play information during the examination session.
Investigate. Discuss with ECM. Contact SRM for advice.

School states that the translated examination paper did not arrive.
Investigate. Meets guidelines if there was a confirmed request for a translated paper (see Key Indicator Checklist). Contact SRM for advice.

Candidate is required to work or look after children so cannot study.
Does not meet guidelines. This is a family related matter.

Candidate breaks up with girlfriend or boyfriend.
Does not meet guidelines. This is a family related matter.

Participation by choice, for example a family holiday or a personal commitment such as attending an interview, religious festival or an examination for another organisation, coincides with examination preparation or  NZQA examinations.
Does not meet guidelines. These are personal commitments or pursuits.

Candidate states examination was difficult and did not get special assessment conditions.
Does not meet guidelines. As an example, if a colour blind candidate says they cannot see the colour in examination paper resource to answer a question an application for special assessment conditions should have been made prior to the examination.

Candidate claims school did not teach them or tell them some vital information.
Does not meet guidelines. Any candidate could suggest that a school or teacher had disadvantaged him or her in some way. Acceptance of this would be unfair to all other candidates.

Candidate misses the MCAT examination.
Does not meet guidelines. This is not part of the derived grade online application process but is to be covered by the school’s missed and late assessments policy. Where the absence is for a valid reason and the school holds a grade from standard specific evidence gathered prior to the MCAT examination, then this grade is submitted by the school along with all other MCAT grades.

Candidate attends court (jury service, witness or accused) and misses an examination.
Investigate. Courts understand the need for candidates to sit examinations.  An application can be approved if the appointment is unable to be negotiated,

Candidate is selected for national representation.
Investigate. For this application to be approved, send your SRM a copy of documentary evidence from the national body attesting that the candidate is representing a nationally selected event or team, and a copy of the travel arrangements for the competition or event.

Candidate did not supply portfolio material to the ECM at the start of the Scholarship Music examination.
Does not meet guidelines. Scholarship is ineligible for a Derived Grade. The teacher and student should have been aware of the assessment specifications regarding the examination requirements.

Candidate loses some or all data or material related to an examination portfolio before the submission of the examination portfolio.

  • Visual Arts Level 1 & 2: Does not meet guidelines. School procedures are applied and standard-specific evidence held by the school will be used to award the final grade. See information on the NZQA Visual Arts webpage for Level 1 & 2 verification. Contact your SRM for advice.
  • Design and Visual Communication, Level 3 Education for Sustainability, Technology and Level 3 Visual Arts external reports or portfolios: Investigate. Candidates and schools need to take responsibility for the safeguarding of all material that may be submitted as a part of an examination report or portfolio, including backup of electronic material and photos of portfolio panels for Level 3 Visual Arts. Contact your SRM for advice.

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