About the 2018 Digital Trials and Pilots

NZQA has a goal of having NCEA examinations available online and has been working with schools to offer Digital Trial and Pilot examinations in preparation for this.

A Digital Trial is a practice assessment that does not count towards a student’s NCEA, but may provide evidence towards a derived grade.

A Digital Pilot is sat instead of the equivalent NCEA paper examination. A printed examination paper is available for these digital examination candidates, if required. 

Schools and students have the choice of whether to opt in for Digital Trials and Pilots.


End of year Digital Trials and Pilots

This year, NZQA will continue offering a range of Digital Trials and Pilots in the same timeframe and structure as in 2016 and 2017. This will support our current learnings as we see an increased uptake from schools and support for year-on-year participation at a student level.

2018 is the final year that NZQA will be offering Digital Trial examinations in their current form. NZQA encourages all schools to consider participation in a Digital Trial, especially if they have not participated in a digital examination in the last two years.

The Digital Trials and Pilots are the best way for schools and students to make the transition to digital assessment. They enable schools to test their readiness and provide an opportunity for students to experience assessment in a digital format.

Digital Trials

NZQA is offering Digital Trial examinations in the following subjects in September/October:

Level 1

  • Classical Studies
  • English
  • Media Studies
  • Science (Standards not attempted or used in a classroom activity mid-year can be attempted in this window)

Level 2

  • Classical Studies
  • English
  • Media Studies

 Level 3

  • Classical Studies
  • English
  • Media Studies

Note that externally assessed standards will be used in all these subjects. The Trial examinations will be available at two times - the first opportunity will be 10-28 September and the second will be 15 - 26 October.

Schools will have control over when they offer the Digital Trials within this period.  The setup, invigilation and marking of the Digital Trials will be managed and run by schools.  The Digital Trials can either be used as a practice examination completed in one sitting, completed over multiple sessions as a classroom activity, or used for revision.

Trials for derived grade evidence

If the 2018 Digital Trial examinations are completed as a practice examination in one sitting, they can be used as evidence for derived grades. These examinations must be kept secure so they are not available to students from other schools who may be sitting them at a different time. The marking of student responses must comply with the derived grade requirement for verification or justification before results are reported.

For schools that participated in the mid-year Level 1 Science Trial, please note that each standard may be assessed for evidence towards derived grades using the Trial examination only once, either mid-year OR in September/October.

Further information about derived grades can found on these links:

Digital Pilots

We will also be offering three Level 1 Digital Pilot Examinations, three Level 2 Digital Pilot Examinations and three Level 3 Digital Pilot Examinations.

These examinations will contain the same content as the paper examinations (substitution), but some digital tools will feature in the examinations.

Involvement in a Digital Pilot examination will be voluntary, and those students who opt-in will sit a digital examination rather than the paper examination (the printed examination paper will be available as a back-up). The Pilot examinations will be held on the same dates and times as the paper-based examinations.

Candidate Participation Criteria for Digital Pilot Examinations

Level 1 Pilots are available, as follows:

  • Level 1 Classical Studies
  • Level 1 English
  • Level 1 Media Studies

It is strongly recommended that these candidates have also registered for Level 1 Digital Trials and have engaged with the familiarisation activities (familiarisation activity tool and last year’s digital examinations) provided by NZQA.

Level 2 Pilots are available, as follows:

  • Level 2 Classical Studies
  • Level 2 English
  • Level 2 Media Studies

Level 2 Digital Pilots are available only to candidates who have registered for and complete Level 2 Digital Trials this year, and completed a Level 1 Digital Pilot in 2017 in the equivalent subject.

In addition, it is strongly recommended that these candidates have engaged with the familiarisation activities provided by NZQA.

NZQA will provide schools with a report on their students’ participation in the familiarisation activity tool and relevant digital assessments from the previous year before the Digital Pilot examinations start.

Level 3 Pilots are available, as follows:

  • Level 3 Classical Studies
  • Level 3 English
  • Level 3 Media Studies

Level 3 Digital Pilots are available only to candidates who have registered for and complete Level 3 Digital Trials this year, and completed a Level 2 Digital Pilot in 2017 in the equivalent subject.

NZQA’s review of candidates who sat Digital Pilot examinations over the past two years has indicated that these candidates had a better experience if they had completed a Digital Trial using the same examination platform. To ensure that students are well prepared for Digital Pilots, registration in the September/October Trials is a pre-requisite.

Mid-year Level 1 Science Trial

NZQA trialed a Level 1 Science digital assessment in June and July 2018.

This Trial examination used software that has been present in NZQA’s previous Digital Trials and Pilots, while also introducing the use of assessment items that are significantly different to those experienced in a paper-based examination. This included drag and drop functionality, graphing and equation editing and video/audio resources.

NZQA will evaluate the effectiveness of the Digital Science Trial as to whether the digital features were effective in supporting the students’ ability to understand and respond to the task. This Trial has also provided initial insight into how we could make more than one digital examination session available per year.

Enhanced functionality in digital assessment

The following are some digital tools and features that students will experience in the digital Trials and Pilots:

  • Text editing
  • Copy and paste within the digital examination
  • Word Count in some subjects
  • Spell Check in some subjects

Special assessment conditions

Candidates who require special assessment conditions can participate in both the Trial and Pilot examinations, as the following will be offered:

  • variable font size
  • resizeable screen
  • extra time.

How to get involved

Mid-year Science Trial

Registration for this have now closed. 

End of year Digital Trials and Pilots

Principal’s Nominees were sent registration information on 1 June 2018. If you did not receive this email, please contact future.state@nzqa.govt.nz

Schools wishing to participate should refer to our technical requirements and other considerations page.

Key dates for Digital Trials and Pilots

Activity

Responsibility

Due

Send completed Digital Trial registration spreadsheets back to NZQA.

Schools

27 July

Send familiarisation activities to schools

NZQA

27 August

Send Digital Trial logins and teacher training packs for administration and marking of Digital Trials to schools.

NZQA

27 August

Flag Digital Pilot entries in SMS or web entries system

Schools

1 September

Notify schools of mismatches between Digital Trial registrations and Digital Pilot entries

NZQA

6 September

Deliver Digital Trials (Window 1)

Schools

10–28 September

Notify schools of mismatches between Digital Trial non-participation and Digital Pilot entries

NZQA

10–28 September

Deliver Digital Trials (Window 2)

Schools

15–26 October

Notify schools of mismatches between Digital Trial non-participation and Digital Pilot entries

NZQA

15–26 October

Provide Digital Pilot information to schools

NZQA

by 26 October

NCEA examinations begin

 

7 November

More information

For more information please email future.state@nzqa.govt.nz or contact your school relationship manager.

 

Page last updated 27 September 2018

 
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