August 2021
EmaiLink mō ngā kura katoa #5 -

Key dates

Key Dates

30 July

Confirm participation in digital practice exams

1 Aug

Data file submission due (used to calculate the quantity of exam papers and materials for external exams)

Check exam timetable clashes then confirm candidates’ external entries

TRANSLATED PAPERS – Final date for ‘Answer’ and ‘Request’ flags to be set in data file

DCAT & MCAT– Deadline for schools to advise NZQA of Assessment Day and number of entries
Visual Arts: art bag order due

2 Aug

NZQA platform opens to sit digital practice exams

11 Aug

Check accuracy of externally assessed entries in preparation for 1 September data file submission, including international student entries in NCEA and NZ Scholarship. Fees for international students are based on entries in the 1 September file.

1 Sept

Data file submission due.

Final date for withdrawals from Externally Assessed standards including NZ Scholarship

Final date to confirm digital exam entries without requiring NZQA pre-approval
Check timetable clashes and discuss the schedule for these exams with candidates

8 Sept

Visual Arts Levels 1 and 2 – Start entering provisional results

14 Sept

MCAT Level 1, 91027 Assessment Day One

16 Sept

MCAT Level 1, 91027 Assessment Day Two

20 Sept - 1 Oct

DCAT – Term 3 assessment period

1 Oct

Term 3 Ends

1 Oct

Data file submission due

Derived grade applications open online

SPECIAL ASSESSMENT CONDITIONS (SAC) Applications for Learning Disorder close for 2021

SPECIAL ASSESSMENT CONDITIONS (SAC) 2021. First time applications for entitlement open for 2022

Last day to sit digital practice exams on the NZQA platform

18 Oct

Term 4 Begins

Confirm with NZQA three-way exam clash arrangements

18 Oct - 27 Oct

DCAT – Term 4 assessment period

Ngā rārangi take I tēnei Emailink:

General Administration

Internal Assessment Administration

External Examination Administration

External Moderation

Special Assessment Conditions

Information For Staff



Standards that meet NCEA Literacy and Numeracy Requirements

The list of standards that meet NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements from 1 April 2021 can be found here.

Please note: the new literacy rich standards below are ONLY available for students enrolled in schools and kura involved in the NCEA pilots in 2021 and 2022.

Religious Studies

Level 1

91916, 91917, 91918, 91919


Level 1

91920, 91921, 91922, 91923


Level 1

91924, 91925, 91926, 91927

Te Ao Haka

Level 1

91976, 91978, 91979

Te Ao Haka

Level 2

91980, 91982, 91983

Te Ao Haka

Level 3

91984, 91987


Candidate NSN Cards

These were dispatched to schools on Wednesday 23 June. Please email if you have not received the cards for your school. NZQA is aware of an issue with some cards not displaying student names correctly. Replacement cards will be sent for affected students mid-August.

Online Assessor Support for Internally Assessed Standards

These online support materials are available through Pūtake, NZQA’s Learning Management System. This is accessed through a teacher’s Education Sector Login (ESL). The school’s ESL Delegated Authoriser needs to assign an NZQA LMS Teacher role to the teacher for them to gain access. For further help contact the education service desk or use their online support.


Submitted Subjects

The 2021 Submission Instructions will be available on the relevant subject pages of the NZQA website at the start of Term 3.

Common Assessment Task (DCAT & MCAT)

Nominate the dates for your DCAT and MCAT assessment through the Key Indicators page of your Provider Login. Details for the DCAT are in the 2021 Digital Technologies Admin Instructions (Summary) available through the Digital Technologies/Computing subject webpage.

Schools are only able to hold the MCAT on one single nominated day to ensure the integrity of the assessment. Details for the MCAT are in this circular.

Courier bags for Visual Arts Level 1 and 2

If you are a school new to teaching Visual Arts at either Level 1 and/or Level 2, or have lost your blue or red bags to submit your verification samples, please complete and return the Art Bag order form (DOCX, 85KB) by 1 August.

 Couriering Level 3 and NZ Scholarship Visual Arts Portfolios

Schools are reminded that schools are responsible for couriering Level 3 and NZ Scholarship Visual Arts submissions to NZQA. NZQA does not supply bags or courier tickets for Level 3 and NZ Scholarship Visual Arts portfolio submissions.

The submission date for Level 3 and NZ Scholarship Visual Arts is 11 November. Schools must make their own arrangement for couriering Level 3 and NZ Scholarship Visual Arts.

Schools may not use their Level 1 and 2, red and blue bags for sending in Level 3 and NZ Scholarship submissions.

NZQA will courier Level 3 and NZ Scholarship portfolios to individual candidate home addresses at the end of marking. It is important that candidate home addresses are correct, as the courier return of portfolios is signature not required and they will be left at the address if nobody is home to receive them.

Digital Practice Exams

To access digital practice exams on the NZQA platform by Friday 30 July you must:

- confirm (if not already done) your involvement by contacting your School Relationship Manager and advising who the school administrator will be and your practice exam schedule.

- submit digital external entries in the digital practice exam subjects via datafile as soon as possible

- ensure your students have checked or created their learner login.

We will email all participating schools with detailed information about getting ready for digital practice exams. This will include how to access learning modules through Pūtake (LMS), material located under your Provider login, student familiarisation and support, and marking and accessing practice exam scripts.

Let your students know about the digital practice exams checklist (PDF, 161KB) on our website.

2021 Digital Technologies Common Assessment Tasks (DigCATs) update

The DigiCATs in 2021 will be delivered in the same way as last year.

We have deferred until 2022 the delivery of DigiCATs using NZQA’s digital exam platform, out of consideration for the amount of change currently being experienced by the sector.

Updated Administration Instructions will be sent to you and are also available on our website.


Physical moderation submissions and addresses

To help manage email notifications containing moderator addresses, set up an email rule for messages from That way they will not end up in junk email boxes and get missed.

Please give moderators five to ten working days to send the request notification when you make a physical moderation submission.


2021 Closing dates for SAC applications

Applications made under the Learning category close on 1 October 2021. Applications made under the Sensory, Medical or Physical categories can be made until the end of the exam period.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible to ensure they can be reviewed by NZQA assessors in good time.

External entries for SAC students

Please ensure that as many external entries as possible for SAC students are submitted in the August datafile. This will facilitate the attachment of entitlements and the planning for personalised papers for these candidates.

Guidance on the preparation for exams and CATs can be found here.

Students requiring Braille papers

If any of your SAC students require Braille papers for exams, please ensure that their entries for external standards are submitted now (even if this means submitting an additional datafile). SAC needs to be attached to the exam sessions as soon as possible.

Both steps must be completed by 6 August.

No SAC applications for Braille papers will be able to be approved after this date.

There is considerable work and time involved in creating Braille papers.

Attachment of entitlements to external standards

This facility for the 2021 exams is open and available until the end of Term 3 (other than the week in early September where it is closed while we extract data to personalise exam papers). Complete the process as soon as possible. A guide to help you is available here.

If the process of attaching entitlements to exam sessions is not completed shortly after your September datafile is submitted, students will receive non-personalised exam papers.

If an error has been made, or if a student requests a change, you can edit the attachments while the facility is open in Term 3. 

SAC candidates in digital exams

If your school has plans to enter students for digital exams, you should consider the implications for SAC candidates before they are entered.

If you have any concerns that these students may be disadvantaged by participating in a digital exam, then they should be offered a paper-based alternative that they are used to completing.

Further information can be found here.


Contract Vacancies at NZQA

There are a number of contract vacancies available with NZQA, including markers, verifiers, panel leaders and examiner and materials developer roles for several NCEA and NZ Scholarship subjects. These are currently advertised on our NZQA website.


Circulars (available online only)


Digital Technology Common Assessment Tasks Notification of Rule Change – Management of possible Breaches of the Rules


Ngā Panonitanga ki ngā Kaupapa Ako kua whakamanatia mō te Whakauru Wānanga


Changes to the Approved Subjects list for University Entrance


Ngā Kaupapa Ako o Te Marautanga o Aotearoa – E tārewa noa ana ngā herenga o ngā whiwhinga ā-waho hei whakamana hōtaka


Te Marautanga o Aotearoa subjects – temporary removal of external credit requirement for course endorsement


2022 Exam Timetable date range


NCEA Level 1 Mathematics and Statistics 91027 Common Assessment Task in 2021

Ringa Toi Student Exhibition 2021

Information about this year’s exhibition and how to register interest can be found in this link.

School contact details

Please keep your school’s contact details current in your Provider Login


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