November 2021
NZQA Hono-ā-īmēra (EmaiLink) mō ngā kura katoa #8 -

Rārangi Take ki tēnei Hono-ā-īmēra (EmaiLink) pānui

Please refer to the online version of the Key Dates to ensure you have access to the most up to date information. The highlighted sections are changes since August 2021

General Administration and Data

  • December submission: 1 December
  • Teacher Release for 2021 NCEA and Scholarship Marking Period
  • Leading National Assessment seminars 2022
  • Accessing PDFs for exams

NCEA External Examinations

  • Social Media
  • Study tips for students
  • Digital Device Check
  • Digital Exam Banner 2021

NCEA Results 2021

  • Unexpected Events Grades
  • Te Kura: Derived Grades and Unexpected Grades
  • Learning Recognition Credits
  • Results Publication and Return to Candidate Processes
  • Release of 2021 NCEA Results and Statistics Reports
  • Analysing Results by Course or Standard


  • 2022 External Moderation Assessment Plan
  • Sensitive issues during the exam period
  • Students can attend exams
  • Updating contact information
  • Circulars
  • Key Dates Calendar and Wall Planner 2022

Information for Staff

  • 2022 Assessment Specifications
  • External Moderation
  • National Moderator Reports 2022
  • Scholarship Languages and Scholarship Drama submission instructions
  • Students using NCEA overseas
  • Contract Vacancies

Checklist for Final Datafile Submission – 1 December 2021

PN Checklist

  1. Guidelines to update contact details online (PDF, 369KB)
  2. COVID related Derived Grade process (PDF, 156KB)

There will be one final Hono-ā-imēra (EmaiLink) publication at the end of November.


December submission: 1 December

The last scheduled data file submission for 2021 is 1 December. A checklist for your final data file submission is provided on page 6. Use the Key Indicators and Data File Submission reports in your Provider Login to help with this check.

Data files submission links close at midnight on 15 December, so schools have until then to correct errors and report further results. This is the final data file submission date for 2021. Results submitted beyond this date will not be included in the 2021 results release.

Do not withdraw Leavers before your final data file submission.

Also remember to leave their school email active until the end of January to allow students to access their Learner Login to view their results online and qualifications.

Late internally assessed results intended for inclusion in your school’s 2021 results data can be uploaded using the Add Results link in your Provider Login.

This will open on 17 December 2021 and close on 28 February 2022.

Teacher release for 2021 NCEA and Scholarship marking period

The willingness of schools to release teachers to attend panel meetings and, if necessary, mark during the day will be critical to ensuring that marking processes are completed and results are available by results release day in January 2022.

Thank you for your ongoing understanding and support. In 2021, the available timeframe for marking is significantly reduced, due to the impact of Covid-19 leading to a later start to the exams.  

Leading National Assessment seminars 2022

These seminars are currently planned to be held between 22 February and 12 March 2022.  These dates may be subject to change. This is an opportunity for Principal’s Nominees and senior leaders managing assessment to meet to discuss issues and be updated on assessment initiatives.

Details will be sent in January.

Accessing PDFs for exams   

For SAC students with an entitlement to Special Papers, PNs will need to access the PDF for each standard and make these available to students with this SAC entitlement. Further details about this process will be sent to schools soon.


Social media

  • We’ve kicked off the end of year exam social media campaign aimed at students. This includes reminders such as setting up a Learner Login, getting ready for exams, what to bring to exams and resources available to help manage exam pressure.
  • The campaign will be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the NZQA website. Please help us by sharing our posts using your school networks.

Study tips for students

To help students prepare for their exams, they can:

  • Check out the videos of students sharing their study advice.
  • Visit the Study Link website for tips, tricks and in-depth information to help with English, Maths and Science.

Digital device check

A student’s access to our digital exam platform will be blocked if their device has a VPN installed which makes the device appear to be located outside of New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands or Niue. See the digital exams device check webpage for more information.

Digital exam banner 2021

The fastest and easiest way for students to access their end of year NCEA digital exams is through the banner at the top of the NZQA home page (available just prior to exams starting on 22 November). Here’s a preview:


Unexpected Event Grades

Continue to add unexpected event grades for external standards to your data file submissions so they can be applied where required. These grades should be based on evidence from before the exam period (except for schools who have been in Covid Alert Level 3 during Term 4) but can be submitted up until the submission link closes on 15 December.

Both the evidence gathering process and results must be quality assured and by submitting the grades you are agreeing your school quality assurance processes have been applied.

You can check what grades we have received using the Unexpected Event Grade Report in the Reports section of your Provider Login.

Te Kura: Derived Grades and Unexpected Grades

On 29 October Te Kura emailed Principal’s Nominees of schools of enrolment the results of Te Kura practice exams. Te Kura teachers are continuing to collect further evidence for external exams, where possible. Updated spreadsheets will be forwarded to Principal’s Nominees in the week starting 22 November.

Learning Recognition Credits

When results are released, students will be able to use their student login to see how many Learning Recognition Credits they have earned.

There will be regular calculations to include any additional or late results received until the end of the 2021 academic year on 28 February 2022, or any changes in results after reviews or reconsiderations.

Schools will be provided with a spreadsheet of details for all their students.

Results Publication and Return to Candidate Processes

Students sitting any NCEA 2021 end of year exam will be able to use their Learner Login details to access their marked digital or scanned paper exams online. Students sitting digital NZ Scholarship Media Studies can also access their marked exam online.

Students can view their marked answers online until the end of June each year. This includes any scanned blank paper answer books, but not blank digital ones.

Paper based exam booklets won’t be returned in the mail.

Exceptions - physically submitted portfolios and NZ Scholarship exams

The following assessments will continue to be marked by hand and returned to students in the mail:

  • NZ Scholarship exam answer booklets (except digital NZ Scholarship Media Studies)
  • Level 3 and NZ Scholarship Visual Arts portfolios

The following assessments will continue to be marked by hand and returned to schools by courier:

  • Design and Visual Communication portfolios and Technology folders

This change brings together paper and digital marking using the NCEA Online platform and is an important step forward in our digital assessment journey.   

See the NCEA Results section of our website for more information.

Release of 2021 NCEA results and statistics reports

You will be advised of the date for the January release of 2021 NCEA results once exams finish. Provisional 2021 NCEA statistics are available shortly after results release day.

Analysing results by course or standard

The Candidates Entries and Results Report will provide added options for you to filter and sort students’ results for analysis, including being able to check for internal entries with no reported results.

It can be found through your Provider Login at Reports/Candidate Entries and Results Report.

This report can filter for assessment method (digital exam or submission) and export to pdf, html or Excel formats.


2022 External Moderation assessment plan

You will have received the emailed auto-notification and an email from your School Relationship Manager saying you can now access your 2022 assessment plan. The assessment plan is your opportunity to suggest standards for external moderation in 2022.

The last date that you can submit your assessment plan is 3 December.

Refer to the assessment plan information, the Guide to the NZQA External Moderation Application (PDF, 3.9MB) or contact your School Relationship Manager if you are unsure of how to access the plan.

Your School Relationship Manager will email you in December or January when your moderation plan is available.

Sensitive issues during the exam period

If a traumatic or sensitive incident occurs that impacts on one or more of your students during the exam period, please contact your School Relationship Manager as soon as possible.

Students can attend exams at other schools during Alert Level 3

The Ministry of Education Bulletin of 1 November clarified that students from other schools, including Te Kura, are permitted under the Health Order to attend exams at school sites when in Alert Level 3. These students must meet all health requirements on the school site, including exam conditions.

Updating contact information

Please check that your school’s contact information through your Provider Login page is accurate, particularly mobile phone numbers, as we may need to contact you and the Principal in case of an unexpected event during the exam or summer holiday periods.

Guidelines explaining how to do this are included in Appendix 1 (PDF, 369KB).

Circulars (available online only)

A2021/23         External Moderation requirements for 2022

A2021/24         2021 Candidate Admission Slips and Examination Information

Key Dates Calendar and Wall Planners 2022

The 2022 Key Dates Calendar will be published on the NZQA website here in mid-December. Hard copies will be sent to schools in the first week of Term 1, and electronic versions (docx, pdf and CSV) will be able to be downloaded from the NZQA website.

If you wish to opt-out of receiving A1 and A3 hard copies of the 2022 Key Dates Wall Planners, please email by Thursday 30 November 2021.


2022 Assessment Specifications

2022 Assessment Specifications for NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship external assessment will be published on the NZQA website on 16 December. Details will appear on the relevant subject pages.

External moderation

In 2022 external moderation will focus on Level 2 and Level 3 standards. Schools may continue to suggest Level 1 standards if they see a need for them to be moderated. The sample of student work should no longer be randomly selected. See Circular A2021/23 for details.

National Moderator Reports 2021

There will be no National Moderator Reports based on 2021 External Moderation published by NZQA in March 2022. The changed External Moderation process in 2021 in response to the COVID disruption has resulted in an insufficient volume of moderation samples on which to base moderator insights. It would not be appropriate to provide feedback on the reduced sample of submissions.

Scholarship Languages and Scholarship Drama submission instructions

The 2021 submission instructions are available on the relevant scholarship subject pages of the NZQA website. Scholarship Languages can be found here (PDF, 820KB). Scholarship Drama can be found here (PDF, 1.2MB).

Students using NCEA overseas

You can find information about specific country requirements for the recognition of NCEA on the NZQA website. This includes information on requirements for United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Scholarships.

Please continue to advise students to check international admission requirements for the education institution they plan to enrol in, including the credit and subject requirements needed for entry into competitive programmes.

International fee-paying students can download an Overseas Results Notice from the “order documents” section of the Learner Login. Visit NZQA’s Ordering results documents for more information.

If you or your students have any questions, please contact NZQA on

Contractor Vacancies – Ngā Tūranga kirimana mō te Maratanga o Aotearoa

NZQA are now advertising five key roles for our TMOA mahi on our website.

Ideally, we are looking for kaiako who are currently in kura Māori, but if you have experience, we welcome your application.


Check accuracy of students’ reported results

Check the status of any internal entries that do not have results. If the student has had an adequate assessment opportunity, then a grade should be reported. If there has not been an assessment opportunity, then the entry should be withdrawn. Entries cannot be withdrawn after this file submission. The Candidate Entries and Results Report is useful for checking reported entries and results

Check course names. These cannot be changed after this file submission

Check whether unassigned standards should be in courses. Remember standards within courses must have been assessed this year

For Year 13 and any other leavers, make sure to leave their NZQA enrolment active when you take them off your school roll. This ensures that their results and any external entries you want are retained and are visible in the NZQA Learner login when results are published in January 2022

Check that students who have been withdrawn during the year have valid results reported (if they are not being reported by another provider) and do not have any active entries if these should have been withdrawn

Check any changes to students’ details such as address changes and name corrections


Exam Preparation

Submit final data file on 1 December

Ensure embargoed results are not released to students

Complete outstanding derived grade applications by 11 December

Use Appendix 2 (PDF, 156KB) to familiarize yourself with the Derived Grade process related to COVID19


Encourage teachers to suggest standards for inclusion in your school’s moderation plan

Complete 2021 External Moderation Assessment Plan by 2 December


Update school contact information with details of staff available over the summer holiday

Inform teachers about 2022 Assessment Specifications becoming available in December

Advise staff of vacancies for contract roles at NZQA

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