Information for candidates

A derived grade is a grade reported by a school, based on pre-existing authentic standard specific evidence - in other words, work produced by the student during the year.

Who can apply for a derived grade?

You can apply for a derived grade if you:

  • attended an NZQA external examination session and believe your performance was significantly affected for an approved reason
  • have been unable to attend an examination for an approved reason
  • are unable to submit a completed portfolio (Design and Visual Communication, Technology, Level 3 Education for Sustainability or Level 3 Visual Arts) for an approved reason.
  • have been selected for national representation in a sport or approved activity. This has to be pre-approved by NZQA (DOCX, 67KB).

What will you need to do?

You will need to:

  • Download a derived grade application form (DOC, 240KB) or collect one from your school and get it filled in.
  • You will need to get your doctor, counsellor or relevant agency to fill in their part of your application form. (The school can't process your application without the appropriate sections being completed.)
  • Take your application to your school’s Principal's Nominee. The completed application forms must be given to your Principal's Nominee by:
    • 12 noon 2 November 2017 for Portfolio submission subjects - Design and Visual Communication, Level 3 Education for Sustainability, Technology or Level 3 Visual Arts.
    • 12 noon 7 December 2017 for standards assessed in NZQA external examination sessions. Check the 2017 examination timetable.
  • attach a Visual Arts derived grade label (DOCX, 42KB)to Level 3 Visual Arts portfolios prior to submission

The school can only submit a grade for you if it holds authentic standard-specific evidence. The school will use your results from work such as school practice exams or end of topic tests.


  • Design and Visual Communication,
  • Level 3 Education for Sustainability,
  • Technology or
  • Level 3 Visual Arts,

you must submit the evidence you have produced through the year as instructed in the submission instructions. Check with your school's Principal's Nominee if you are unsure about this.

National Representation

Applications for national representation require completion of a derived grade pre-approval application form (DOCX, 67KB) to be submitted before the start of exams.  If pre-approval is granted, an online application must still be completed by the school's Principal's Nominee.

Then what happens?

If your application is approved, the derived grade(s) will appear on your results notice when these are released in January. They won't be labelled as "derived grades".

Should your application be declined, you will be informed in writing by NZQA.

Where to next?

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