Qualifications and standards

Development and Review of Computing Unit Standards

Current developments

The new and reviewed suite of Computing unit standards developed for use as assessment tools for NZ Computing and IT qualifications at Levels 2-4 were published in January 2017.

The new Computing unit standards are in the Generic Computing and Computer Support domains numbered from 29769 – 29817. The published standards are able to be accessed by searching for the unit standard reference number.

The landscape (DOCX, 41KB) of unit standards towards new NZ qualifications at Levels 2-4 provides details of the standards title and credits by level.  This information may help inform programme development.

NZQA National Qualifications Services thanks all those that have been involved in the project, with special thanks to the working group members for their expert input. 

We appreciate your involvement in this project.

Consultation closed 19 August 2016 - standards submitted for quality assurance October 2016

NZQA National Qualifications Services (NQS) invited you to provide feedback on a suite of proposed unit standards developed for use as assessment tools for New Zealand Computing and IT qualifications at Levels 2-4; and proposed replacement relationship impacts on current Computing unit standards.

The consultation closed on 19 August 2016, and we thank all who responded to the call for feedback on the standards.  A summary response to the consultation feedback is available (PDF, 207KB).  Further information regarding the consultation can be found on the development and review of Computing unit standards consultation webpage. This includes links to consultation documents, including the proposed new standards (by qualification level) as at July 2016.

The feedback was used to further refine the Computing unit standards to ensure that they met the needs of the sector before being submitted for quality assurance early October 2016.  An updated landscape document reflects the changes to the standards title and credits by level, and includes a wider range of optional standards. Copies of the draft standards are available on request to computing.review@nzqa.govt.nz.

Consultation has also closed on the review of current Computing unit standards, with further information available from the review webpage.


A suite of 14 new qualifications were approved for listing in April 2015 as a result of the mandatory review of Computing and IT qualifications.  These new qualifications can be accessed from the links below, from the review webpage, or by searching for the qualification by reference number or title.

NZQA National Qualifications Services (NQS) undertook a project to ensure there is a suite of unit standards suitable for those who wish to use standards as assessment tools in programmes towards the following four qualifications:

The project involved developing new standards and reviewing current Computing unit standards to align with the graduate profile outcomes of the new qualifications in content and credit value. It also involved considering (not reviewing) existing achievement standards and unit standards from other domains that may be suitable as assessment tools for use in programmes towards the new Computing qualifications, to avoid duplication.

The new Computing and IT qualifications do not require the use of unit standards or any specific method of assessment.  Some parts of the sector, however, requested that unit standards be developed for the new qualifications.

Unit standards were drafted mid-2015 to mid-2016 by a working group, and are available for consultation until 19 August 2016.  The standards refer specifically to the qualifications, and so reflect both the content and the context of the qualifications.

The development of the qualifications was based on a comprehensive needs analysis and thorough involvement of stakeholders to determine the expertise required by people in New Zealand today and in the future.  The objective of the review was to develop cohesive New Zealand computing and IT qualifications which are strategically relevant to New Zealand’s people and communities and their aspirations.

The content of these new unit standards therefore is determined by the qualifications, and their rigorous development.  The unit standards reflect the requirements of the graduate profile outcomes and associated conditions.  The credits allocated to the unit standards need to correspond with the credits allocated to the sets of outcomes in the qualifications, and the credits for the unit standards need to reflect this flexibility across a programme.

Once the new standards have been approved and listed on the NZQF, replaced current standards will be designated as ‘expiring’. There will be a transition period to allow time for providers to adjust their programmes and resources to the new standards.

Working group

A project working group was established in May 2015 to undertake the detail work of developing and reviewing Computing unit standards towards four of the new qualifications.

The working group members collectively have a wide range of perspectives to reflect the diversity of the sector.  The working group provides technical expertise in developing a cohesive set of standards for the new qualifications, which are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the community, employers and learners.

The working group met late June 2015 to start developing a landscape of possible standards that could be used as assessment tools to meet the requirements of the new qualifications at Levels 2, 3, and 4.

Following feedback on the proposed landscape from the email support network, the working group met to refine the landscape and commence the development and review of standards.  They have met several times to continue the development of unit standards, and review current unit standards impacted by proposed new standards.

Opportunities to contribute feedback, opinions, and ideas have been provided through a supporting email network, as the development work from the working group progressed through each stage.

Further information will be made available from this site as the project progresses.  We are keen to obtain any further expressions of interest in being involved with the supporting email network or the wider consultation network.

Contact for the review

If you would like to receive information and updates about the review, please send a message to the review mailbox computing.review@nzqa.govt.nz asking to be added to the consultation list.  We welcome questions, ideas and contributions to the review.

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