June 2021
EmaiLink mō ngā kura katoa #4 -

Key dates

Key Dates

1 July

Data file submission due (correct any errors or warnings from previous submissions and send any additional candidate information in this file)

Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) - Attach SAC entitlements to external standards from now

26 July

Translated Papers – Check all entries requiring ‘Answer’ or ‘Request’ flags are correct for 1 August data file

Check 1 August file contains all known external entries (including NZ Scholarship) for SAC candidates; MCAT Level 1, 91027; and DTHM CATs

30 July Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) – Include as many exam entries for SAC candidates as possible and continue to attach SAC entitlements to examinations.
1 August

Data file submission due.

Used to calculate the quantity of exam papers and materials for external exams.

Ensure that enrolment data for all international fee-paying students is included in this file

Check timetable clashes and confirm candidates’ entries

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

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

Ngā rārangi take I tēnei Emailink:

General Administration and Data

  • Equity in STEM Symposium

Internal Assessment Administration

  • NZQA Assessor Support Update for Internally Assessed Standards
  • New Music Technology Assessment Support Material
  • Kaiako Tutorials

External Examination Administration

  • Calculator Use in External Assessment
  • Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu – End of Year Exam Students
  • Digital Practice Exams
  • Secure Storage of Examination Materials

Special Assessment Conditions

  • Attachment of entitlements to external standards
  • External entries for SAC candidates

From the Ministry of Education

  • Changes to NCEA


  • Circulars
  • Processes for Transferring Students to Another School
  • Standards that will come off the Literacy List

Information for Staff

  • Have Your Say on Proposed NCEA Subjects
  • Resources for Teachers new to NCEA

General Administration and Data

Equity in STEM Symposium

If you missed the symposium earlier in the year and have not yet accessed the online resources, go to Equity in STEM Symposium.

Internal Assessment Administration

NZQA Assessor Support Update for Internally Assessed Standards

We have made some significant changes to our Assessor Support options for internally assessed standards this year, following a recent review.

Online resources and workshops

The first of our online resources and workshops is available for assessors to access at any time, free of charge and with no completion requirements. They include a series of online ‘bite-sized modules’ and ‘short courses’ that focus on a variety of subjects and standards, including several online Best Practice Workshops and some generic modules. We will expand the range over time, in response to your feedback.

Our Online Making Assessor Judgements workshops and the Transforming Assessment Praxis (TAP) programme are now also free of charge. These collaborative workshops take place over several weeks. Assessors self-enrol in the appropriate workshop to best suit their schedule.

Online Making Assessor Judgements Best Practice Workshops support assessors to make and justify assessment decisions confidently and reliably, by examining real examples of student work.

The TAP programme aims to provide assessors with strategies to modify existing resources that better meet the needs of their learners and explore different and valid ways of collecting evidence.

How to Access these

These are available using the Education Sector Logon on Pūtake, NZQA’s Learning Management System (LMS).

Pūtake can be found at

Use the links on you subject pages to view the available content for each subject.

New Music Technology Assessment Support Material

New Music Technology assessment support materials have been published on the NZQA unit standards resources page. They support interpretation of the Music Technology unit standards reviewed in 2020. As a result of the review, assessments on creating sequences using music technology equipment now occupy their own unique standards, as do those on using music notation software. This allows greater flexibility for their use. The revised set of standards also has a greater focus on musical creativity and real-world application that can be applied across genres and require demonstration of a greater range of techniques than previously.

Kaiako Tutorials

To assist with a range of Principal Nominee tasks, we have published a series of video tutorials for Kaiako in Te Reo Māori.

External Moderation

Anyone preparing a submission for moderation can now enter their email address to receive a copy of the notification that a moderation report is ready to be viewed. The notification also goes to the Principal’s Nominee.

When Edit Submission is selected for a standard on the moderation plan there is now a Contact – additional to main/authoriser contact section to enter the email address. Doing this is optional.

Please refer to the Guide to the NZQA External Moderation Application for Schools and TEOs.

External Exams Administration

Calculator Use in External Assessment

The NZQA webpage on calculator use now states which subjects allow use of an approved calculator in an external assessment, and which do not. The intention of the change is to provide clearer guidance for candidates and teachers.

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu – End of Year Exam Students

This message is included at the request of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu.

Te Kura students, who are not enrolled at another secondary school, sit their end of year exams at a school in their community. This is because Te Kura is not an exam centre.  If a Te Kura student requests to sit their end of year exams at your school, Te Kura will email you the student details, end of year external standards they intend to sit, and the online link for you to approve or decline their request. Te Kura students are expected to contact the Principal’s Nominee to discuss whether their request can be accommodated.

Te Kura appreciates the support of schools in enabling their students to sit their end of year exams.

For more information, contact 0800 65 99 88 option 3 or

Digital practice exams

Student Login

A reminder that students will use their NZQA student log-in details to access practice exams. They must create an account if they do not already have one or check their username and password.

If students have any problems creating or using their login, they can call the NZQA Contact Centre on 0800 697 296.

Learning modules for schools participating in digital practice exams

These include how to administer, supervise and mark practice exams. We will contact you in early July about how to register to access this information.

The following documents will be available via your Provider Login for download:

  • Login credentials for Assessment Master (Administrator, Supervisor and Marker)
  • Assessment schedules
  • Guides

We will contact you closer to your practice exams schedule with further details.

Onscreen marking of scanned paper in 2021

This year NCEA L1-3 end of year paper exam responses will be scanned and marked onscreen using the NCEA Online marking tool (RM Assessor). A Circular with more detailed information will be published in Term 3.

New features for Te Reo Rangatira (TRR)

In 2021 for all NCEA Online TRR exams, ākonga will be able to listen to the assessment text (instructions, questions and resources) in Te Reo Māori by using a voiceover function, as well as being able to read it.

In addition, the TRR Level 2 listening assessment for AS91777 will include audio files. Ākonga will need to use headphones to access the voice over, and/or complete the listening assessment.

New ways to access past digital exams for student familiarisation

From July 2020 copyrighted past digital exams can be accessed by teachers from the Provider login under ‘Access copyright past exam content and past digital exams’ and by students from their student login under ‘Find past digital exams’. Being logged-in removes the need for details such as an NSN and verification code.

All 2020 past digital exams can also be accessed from our public website using the Find past digital exams tool. Students need a log-in username and password if they want to access copyrighted digital exams this way. Teachers can get these details for students from the Provider login for schools, under ‘Search exam material containing third party content’.

Student reminder - marked digital exam scripts

Student access to 2020 NCEA marked digital exam scripts via NZQA’s website will end on 30 June.

N4L Network Assurance Checks

If you have any questions about Network Assurance Checks please contact N4L at

Secure storage of examination materials

Secure storage and distribution systems are essential to ensure a smooth and safe examination round for our learners and schools.

As part of NZQA’s continuous improvement of examination systems we are ensuring that all schools are consistent with the requirement to securely store examination materials on the school site at all times.

NZQA’s requirements are:

  • All examination booklets and materials must always be stored securely on the school site.
  • The facilities for storage of materials before, during and after the examinations must be a lockable storage unit inside a locked room. The storage unit could be either a lockable cabinet or container, a lockable cupboard, or a large lockable filing cabinet.
  • Access to any keys or electronic access to the proposed storage area must be limited to two key holders authorised by NZQA, and the keys must always be kept secure.
  • Ideally the storage area needs to be electronically monitored by an alarm. If the storage room is unable to be electronically monitored, then the school building must have a monitored alarm system.

Translated Papers and Answers in Te Reo Data File Flags

Students must have the correct flags set against their entries by 1 August data file for translated exam papers in Te Reo Māori.

NZQA uses this data file to calculate the number of exam papers and additional materials requiring translation, and the number of interpreters that are likely to be required for marking.

We recommend you set these flags in earlier data file submissions.

There are two types of flags:

  • Te Reo Māori paper flag for candidates who would like a paper translated into Te Reo Māori for a standard; and
  • Te Reo Māori answer flag for candidates who will answer wholly or partly in Te Reo Māori.

If candidates from your kura/school expect to receive an exam paper in Te Reo Māori, and will also answer in Te Reo Māori, both flags must be set.

The list of subjects that can be translated into Te Reo Māori is found here.

Request for translation after 1 August

Schools may be invoiced if additional expenditure is required to produce a translated paper after the 1 August file has been processed. Requests made after this date may not be able to be met.

NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship English

Flags cannot be set for any NCEA Level 1-3 English standards or New Zealand Scholarship English as these standards require a response in English.

NCEA Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Rangatira, and New Zealand Scholarship Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Rangatira

For New Zealand Scholarship and NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Rangatira exams, the titles, instructions, and questions will be in either Te Reo Māori or in English.  All answers are to be written in Te Reo Māori unless candidates are otherwise instructed. 

Special Assessment Conditions

Attachment of entitlements to external standards

This facility for 2021 examinations opens on 1 July.

External entries for SAC candidates

Please ensure that as many entries as possible for external standards for SAC candidates are submitted in the 1 July and 1 August datafiles. This will facilitate the attachment of entitlements and the planning for personalised papers for these candidates.

If any of your SAC candidates require Braille papers for exams, please ensure that their entries for external standards are submitted as early as possible (even if this means submitting an additional datafile) and attach SAC to the exam sessions as soon as possible. There is considerable work and time involved in creating Braille papers.

From the Ministry of Education

Changes to NCEA

The Ministry of Education has an NCEA playlist of their YouTube page available which can be useful for schools and kura who are organising NCEA information evenings for parents and whānau. The main video on the homepage is about the changes being implemented to strengthen NCEA.


Circulars (available online only)

A2021/11        New Zealand Scholarship Subject List Review 2021

A2021/12        Derived Grades for Common Assessment Activities for schools piloting draft achievement standards in 2021

A2021/13        NZQA Assessor Support Update for internally assessed standards

A2021/14        Changes to 2021 Level 2 Dance Examinations

A2021/15a      Ngā Whakamātautau o Te Reo Rangatira – Reo āpiti me ngā Kōnae Whakarongo e wātea ana

A2021/15b      Te Reo Rangatira Examinations – Voice-over and Listening Audio Files available

A2021/16        2021 Digital Language Examinations – Listening Assessments

Processes for Transferring Students to Another School 

Students can only have one active secondary school enrolment with NZQA each year.  This means that when a student transfers schools the following procedures must be followed.

Students transferred to (new school)

The new school should request from the previous school a full transcript of the transferring student's results for the year. When making an enrolment for the student with NZQA, these results need to be reported using the previous school’s provider code to ensure the correct school is responsible for moderation.  The new school needs to make entries as appropriate for standards the student will be assessed for in the remainder of the year including externals.

A list of contacts for Principal’s Nominees can be found in School’s Administration in the Provider Login.

If required a candidate's previous results, qualifications and endorsements can be obtained using the Candidate Results from Other Providers link in the Provider Login.

Students transferred from (previous school)

The previous school is responsible for ensuring they withdraw all entries and the NZQA enrolment once they are confident the student has been enrolled with NZQA by another school.  If unsure of the destination school, treat the student as leaving secondary education until the transfer is confirmed.  When requested, the school must send a full transcript of the transferring student's results for the year, to the new school.

Late External Entry process for transferring candidates

Students who transfer after 1 September will not have personalised papers at the new examination centre. The new school will need to follow the Late Entry process which includes adding the details of entries to the data submission but also requesting papers for the student.

The student will be marked absent at the previous school examination centre which will receive and return to NZQA their personalised papers.

University Entrance literacy requirements

Students and teachers planning to meet UE requirements, especially students who intend to complete UE in 2022, need to carefully consider which standards will allow them to meet the reading and writing requirements.

Removals from the list from 2022

After 31 December 2021, thirteen standards will be removed from the list and fifteen standards, already on the list, will no longer count for one of either reading or writing. The list of these changes is available on the NZQA website (PDF, 77KB).

New on the list from 2021

From January 2020, nineteen standards were added to the list and seven standards, currently on the list, changed to encompass a new aspect of reading or writing to generate literacy credits. The registered numbers of all assessment standards that currently contribute to UE literacy requirements are listed on the NZQA website.

More information

To find out more about the periodic review and resulting changes, go to the NZQA website.

Information for staff

Have Your Say on Proposed NCEA Subjects

As a part of the NCEA Change Programme the Ministry of Education is proposing changes to the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa subjects available to schools and kura.

This is your opportunity to provide feedback towards these proposals.

Resources for Teachers NEW to NCEA

The Schools Quality Assurance & Liaison team has reviewed its Teachers NEW to NCEA resources for 2021. Schools are invited to share these resources with beginning teachers or teachers new to assessing NCEA as part of their Professional learning and Development.

You can find a PowerPoint and an accompanying handbook in under Seminar Resources on the NZQA website.

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