April 2021
#2 -

Key dates

Key Dates

1 April Submit first monthly data file if you can do so (include as many candidate enrolments, courses and entries as possible)
Entry and result data file processing begins
1 May Monthly data file submission due (include any additional or updated candidate enrolment and entry information)
10 May Exam Centre Manager nominations open online

PN checklist

PN Checklist: things to do

  • Review ECM recruitment for 2021
  • Update your results file in your SMS after the final statistics refresh
  • Distribute candidate information sheets
  • Advise teachers to check the March update of Assessment Specifications for NCEA and NZ Scholarship external exams
  • Register your interest for a network assurance check
  • Discuss participating in this year’s digital practice exams with teachers
  • Help students to register with NZQA and create a Student Login
  • Inform staff about the NZ Scholarship subject list review
  • Update SAC contact information
  • Consider hosting a SAC seminar at your school
School Relationship Manager Vacancies
We are looking for new School Relationship Managers to join our team.  One role will require expertise in te reo and tikanga Māori and to work productively with kura / wharekura communities.  The vacancies are advertised in the Education Gazette and on the Careers Centre of our website.

Topics in this EmaiLink:

General Administration and Data

  • Candidate Information Sheets
  • ECM recruitment for 2021
  • Memorandum of Agreement for rebate
  • Registering students – Student Login
  • Reporting results in the year they are assessed

NCEA Online

  • Digital practice exams
  • Subjects available for 2021
  • Access to 2020 digital exams
  • Network assurance checks


  • Circulars
  • 2020 NCEA statistics
  • Assessment Specifications 2021
  • Materials from LNA seminars 2021

Information for Staff

  • Approved calculators for 2021 externals
  • No National Moderator reports 2021

Special Assessment Conditions

  • Update contact information
  • SAC Seminars

 General Administration and Data

Candidate Information Sheets

Candidate information sheets should arrive at your school before the end of Term 1.  If these do not arrive please contact your School Relationship Manager. A digital copy is also available here.

Exam Centre Manager (ECM) recruitment for 2021

On Monday 10 May, the Exam Centre Manager Recruitment link will be open for you to nominate your school’s ECM for this year. Schools recruit and nominate an ECM who will then be contracted and trained by NZQA.

An outline of the skills needed for the role, particularly the need for the ECM to have good computer skills and be able to competently manage digital exams can be found here (DOCX, 15KB).

If you are looking for a new person or planning to continue with your previous ECM, please check that they have the appropriate skills. A draft advertisement for you to adapt can be found here (DOCX, 15KB)

Full details of the ECM nomination process will be available in the next EmaiLink in May.

Memorandum of Agreement for rebate

Please remember to digitally sign this memorandum for 2021 by 17 June. It can be found under High Security/School’s Administration/Memorandum of Agreement through your Provider Login.

The signing of this memorandum entitles your school to an Administrative Payment.

Registering students for their Student Login

Once your first data file submission has been processed by NZQA, you may wish to help students with using their Student Login.

To register, students need their NSN, date of birth, an email address and a 7-character password. NZQA will supply NSNs later in the year but, if you want to register students now, your Student Management System can generate a list or students may be able to view theirs through their student portal.  The Student Login PowerPoint has been updated and may be a useful resource for helping your students to register.

The Student Login enables students to check their entries and results held by NZQA. It also gives them access to range of processes not available elsewhere such as printing official copies of their Record of Achievement and ordering a copy of an NCEA Certificate.

Reporting results for students in the year they are assessed

With the removal of NCEA fees for domestic students there is no reason to hold over or ‘bank’ results for students not undertaking a full assessment programme.

For example, Year 10 students completing a couple of internal assessments should have their results reported in the year of assessment.

This should make it easier for schools to manage mark books and assign standards correctly to courses, minimise forwarding results if a student moves school, and remove concerns about standards expiring before results are reported.

NCEA Online

Digital practice exams

Digital practice exams are being offered again this year and will be available on the NCEA Online platform from 2 August to 1 October.

They provide a useful opportunity for schools, students and teachers to find out how digital exams work before the end of year exams.

Subjects available for 2021

We’re working with subject associations to provide digital practice exams in English, Agricultural and Horticultural Science, Classical Studies, Media Studies, and with subject matter experts providing Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Rangatira.

See our website for more information about digital practice exams, and check the next EmaiLink for details about entering students in digital practice exams.

Access to 2020 digital exams

Last year’s digital exams will be available to students from June onwards. Until then students and teachers can access the 2019 exams to familiarise themselves with how digital exams work.

Network assurance checks

Contact your School Relationship Manager to register your interest in having a network assurance check on the suitability of your IT infrastructure for digital exams, later in the year.


Circulars (available online only)

A2021/6 2021 National School Qualifications: Candidate Information Sheets - March

A2021/7 Reporting entries and results for schools piloting draft achievement standards. Draft achievement standards added to the Base Scope for schools

A2021/8 2021 Assessment Specifications for NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship External Assessment: March Update

A2021/9 Changes to NCEA History Examinations 2021

A2021/10 Information for Scholarship Media Studies 2021

2020 NCEA Statistics

The last refresh of the Principal’s Report will be on 14 April (data cut date 3 April).

Assessment Specifications 2021

Notification for 2021 Assessment Specifications was published in January.

Updates have been published in this circular.

Materials from Leading National Assessment Seminar

Materials used during the recent Leading National Assessment seminars, including the Effective Practice Guide, can be found here.

Topics covered include:

Future assessment

  • responding to change
  • change management

Opportunities offered through

  • the review of achievement standards
  • NCEA Online
  • changes to resubmission and course endorsement.

Information for staff

Approved calculators list for external assessments in 2021

The approved calculators list is available here.

No National Moderator reports

There will be no National Moderator Reports based on 2020 External Moderation published by NZQA in March 2021.

This is due to the events of 2020 and the subsequent pressure related to assessment in schools.

Special Assessment Conditions

Update contact information

We have noticed that the contact information for SENCOs is out of date for many schools. This information is used to email important updates that will be missed if email addresses are wrong.

You may also want to add the contact information of any other staff involved in the SAC process, e.g. Learning Support Coordinators. Contact information is found on your schools’ NZQA Provider Login page at School’s Administration/Profile.

SAC Seminars

SAC Seminars are being offered again this year following their suspension in 2020. This is particularly useful for staff who are new to the SAC process. If you are interested in hosting a seminar at your school, please contact

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