September 2020

Key dates

Key Dates

9 Data file submission due (all confirmed entries for externally assessed standards including NZ Scholarship. Necessary for candidates to get personalised exam materials).Final date for withdrawals from Externally Assessed standards including NZ Scholarship
Check timetable clashes and confirm with candidates how examinations will be sat.
14 - 25 DT & HM CAT All Levels
15 MCAT Level 1, 91027 Assessment Day One
17 MCAT Level 1, 91027 Assessment Day Two
18 Pre-approval applications (DOCX, 74KB) due for a Derived Grade as a result of the 2020 Examination Timetable changes
1 Data file submission due (include all confirmed entries into internally assessed standards and entries assigned to courses).Derived Grade applications open onlineSPECIAL ASSESSMENT CONDITIONS (SAC) 2021. First time applications for entitlement open for 2021
2 SPECIAL ASSESSMENT CONDITIONS (SAC) - Applications for Learning Disorder close for 2020
8 Confirm with NZQA three-way examination clash arrangements
12 - 23 DT & HM CAT All Levels
16 Languages CATs materials available for schools to download
20 Languages CATs, Level 2
21 Admission Slips for candidates sent to schools
Languages CATs, Level 1
22 MCAT Level 1, 91027–Last day for entry of ALL provisional results and submissions sent for verificationLanguages CATs, Level 3
31 Final date for school payment of NCEA & NZ Scholarship fees for international fee-paying students

PN checklist

PN Checklist: things to do

  • Ensure the 9 September datafile is accurate including entries for digital exams, submitted subjects and International students
  • Check entries for digital exams and digital submitted subject through the Key Indicator checklist page
  • Familiarise yourself with the information for gathering school-based evidence for external assessment on our website
  • Prepare for the MCAT
  • Inform teachers of submitted subjects of their submission dates
  • Organise courier pick-up for Level 3 Visual Arts
  • Complete the attachment of SAC entitlements to external standards
  • Distribute authenticity information relating to externally submitted assessment
  • Ensure students sitting digital exams, including digital practice exams, have accessed their Learner Login
  • Inform teachers about the Student Exam Hub
  • Ensure that Unexpected Event Grades are included in a datafile
  • Inform teachers about the Ringa Toi Student Exhibition
  • Complete course approval attestation form for International students
  • Complete and return your exam readiness checklist to your School Relationship Manager

Topics in this EmaiLink:

Entries in external assessed standards

Gathering school-based evidence for external assessments page

MCAT assessment materials

General Administration & Data

  • International Student NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship fee payment
  • Updates to the external moderation app
  • Updates to the Learner Login, Key Indicators page and Reports

External Exams Administration

  • Changing Exam Centre
  • Entries for candidates not on your School Roll
  • Exam timetable clashes
  • Getting ready for digital exams
  • Online Submitted Subjects

Special Assessment Conditions

  • Attachment of entitlements to external standards
  • Guideline for the Provision of SAC Entitlements for Digital External Exams, MCAT, and DT & HM CATs
  • SAC students and external exams
  • Timelines for the remainder of 2020

Information for Staff

  • Ringa Toi Student Exhibition 2020 based in Wellington
  • Vaka Eiva competitions in Rarotonga

Entries in external assessed standards

Schools must submit all entries for externally assessed standards by 9 September.

Files submitted after 9 September will not be included in personalisation of paper exams.

Check your entries for this year’s exam sessions by going to the Exam Centre Timetable in your Provider Login. If an exam session is not showing on your timetable we have not received any student entries through a file submission. Use the External Entries Variance Check in your Key Indicators to check your external entries. It compares for each subject the external entries for this year against last year. A large variance could mean that there are missing entries.

Planning constraints mean we are unable to accept entries in digital exams after 9 September where a digital session for that subject and level does not already exist.

Instructions for the late entries process for 2020 will be in an EmaiLink sent immediately after 9 September.

Gathering school-based evidence for external assessments page

We have updated the information on our website on gathering school-based evidence for external assessments. This includes: how to gather evidence from formative and summative events, quality assurance of the grades, a PowerPoint and templates to assist.

MCAT assessment materials

Please note that assessment materials for MCAT on 15 or 17 September 2020 will be delivered to schools by 9 September.

Materials are addressed to the Principal’s Nominee and packed in plain brown A4 boxes or white courier bags. Packages must be signed for at reception by office staff and kept securely until the assessment is held.  Couriers are aware that they must not leave materials without obtaining a signature under any circumstances. Please alert your office staff and HOD Mathematics of the delivery time-frame. This may be a good opportunity to review your receipting processes.

If delivery takes place at COVID-19 Alert Levels 2 or 3 the following process will be followed:

  1. NZ Post Courier driver will arrive at reception and let office staff know they are there.
  2. The driver will then stand two meters away (or as far back as is safe).
  3. They will ask for your staff member’s name to record on their handheld device as proof of delivery, signing for the parcel on your behalf.
  4. They’ll place the parcel down in front of the them to complete the delivery.

Schools can print additional copies of the assessment booklet, if required, by downloading a password protected file from your Provider Login. Contact the Business Liaison Officer, Secondary Examinations on 0800 697 296 after 2pm the day before your nominated assessment day for the password.

If your school wishes to change your assessment day, complete the Alternative assessment day request form (DOCX, 841KB) and email it to at least one day before the assessment is due to be held.

If you have any concerns over the integrity of the delivery, or materials have not arrived by 12 September, please contact NZQA Logistics on 04 463 3383 or email

Further information is available here (PDF, 566KB) or in this circular.

General Administration and Data

International Student NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship fee payment

Ensure that NCEA and NZ Scholarship entries for International students are accurate in your SMS for the 9 September data file submission.

Schools will be sent an invoice to cover the relevant fees following this file submission. Details for this process is available here.

Updates to the external moderation app

There are three changes to the external moderation app following a recent update:

  • Users with Processor access (HOFs or HODs who can prepare moderation submissions) will be able to select standards on the assessment plan when it is available in November.
  • Reports will now be easier to read on screen with black font on white background instead of grey on grey.
  • A home button has been added to the screen at the top right to take a user back to the moderation portal landing page.

Students & Learner Login needed for digital exams this year

From this year students will access the NZQA exam platform for external, and online practice exams using their Learner Login. It is very important that students with digital exam entries have created a Learner Login and memorised their username/email address and password. Schools can manage this using information available in the Key Indicators and Reports sections of your Provider Login.

NZQA Learner Login Information Available in Reports and Key Indicators

Schools can access reports which provide details of Learner Login use for their students through your Provider Login in the Reports and Key Indicators links. The information provided shows the most recent student login to NZQA starting from 06 August 2020.

Key Indicators: Learner Login

Shows all your students with entries by Year Level. Clicking on the Year Level link will display all your candidates, the number of digital entries they each have and their last login date. Students with no recent login (or who have not yet created an account) are at the top of the list.

Key Indicators: Digital Exams

Shows all your exam sessions with digital entries. Within each session you can display a list of all the candidates with entries and their last login date. An empty final column indicates that the learner has not yet created their NZQA account.

Reports: Candidates’ Last Login

This new feature allows you to generate a report (in Excel, PDF or HTML format) detailing Learner Logins. You can generate a report for all candidates, or filter for Year Level and Assessment method (for example to focus only on students with a digital entry).

External Exams Administration

Changing Exam Centre

You may get requests from students to change their exam centre for some, or all, of their exams.

For unique circumstances, such as bereavement or student/family moving town, NZQA may approve these changes.

Information on the process required to initiate a change is available here. Please contact your School Relationship Manager for advice before making any arrangements with another exam centre.

Entries for candidates not on your School Roll

The MOE code EM should be used for students not on your school roll when sending entries and results files to NZQA.

EM indicates that you do not expect to receive MOE funding for the student. Examples include home schooled or adult students who by agreement sit external exams at your exam centre and are not already enrolled with NZQA. (It does not apply for students dual enrolled with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu - 498.)

Exam timetable clashes

Exam timetable clashes should be identified in your 9 September data file. You can check which students have clashes in your Key Indicators page and then confirm the exams to be sat with them.

Detailed information about the process to resolve clashes can be found here.

Getting ready for digital exams

The getting your school ready for digital exams information on our website has a lot of advice to help you prepare for digital exams this year, or in the future.

The NCEA Online: August Update was emailed to schools on Thursday 20 August and available online here.

For any digital exam queries, please either contact your School Relationship Manager, or email

Online Submitted Subjects

An overview of the Online Submitted Subjects process, Digital External Submissions Upload – Overview (PDF, 121KB), is available on each relevant subject page where there is a submitted component of the external assessment for that subject.

The 2020 Submission Instructions are available on the relevant subject pages of the NZQA website. 

Special Assessment Conditions

Attachment of entitlements to external standards

The attaching of entitlements should be completed as soon as possible. Please note that students must be entered for external standards through the submission of a datafile before SAC entitlements can be attached.

Students using a computer as a result of the Computer Notification process must also have this entitlement attached to the relevant exam sessions in the same way as for SAC students.

Guideline for the Provision of SAC Entitlements for Digital External Exams, MCAT, and DT & HM CATs

Please consider carefully whether it is appropriate for SAC students to be entered in any digital external exams. For example, will the use of a Reader be practicable?

For Common Assessment Tasks, SAC entitlements should be provided as appropriate.

A guide to assist schools in the application of entitlements for these assessments is available here.

SAC students and external exams

Consider the external exam entries for all SAC students (e.g. students with concussion or anxiety concerns). Should consideration be given to reducing the number of external entries in response to their presenting needs?

There are several webpages that provide information and guidance about SAC and exams. These can be found under Quicklinks on the SAC web-page here. The following are particularly relevant:

Timelines for the remainder of 2020

14 September Facility to attach SAC entitlements to externals closes to enable personalisation of papers.
By 24 September Facility to attach SAC entitlements to externals re-opens
2 October SAC applications for Learning Disorders close for 2020. Applications for Sensory, Medical or Physical continues
12 October From this date, all additions or amendments to SAC attachments to exams will need to indicate that the ECM has confirmed that it is possible to provide the additions or amendments.
1 November From this date, SAC Sensory, Medical or Physical applications will need to indicate why a Derived Grade application is not being considered and will need a confirmation from the ECM that it is feasible to provide the requested entitlement.
Last exam day All SAC applications for 2020 close

Information for staff

Ringa Toi Student Exhibition 2020 based in Wellington

He toi tupu, he toi ora, he toi i ahu mai i Hawaiki.

Tomokia ki te whare o Toi.  Ko te whare nei i parua iho ki te muka rāwhiti, ki te neko, ki te kaitaka, ki te pakipaki – hei mātakitaki mō te ao whānui e.

NZQA continues to celebrate future artists through supporting and showcasing student success within Toi Māori and invites you to attend the fifth Ringa Toi Student Exhibition.

Venue: Asteron Centre Building, 55 Featherston Street, Pipitea, Wellington

Dates: Wednesday 23 September to Friday 2 October, 8:30am – 5:30pm. (see poster attached)

The exhibition will showcase Māori art forms including raranga, kākahu (wearable art), tukutuku, whakairo, kōwhaiwhai, mahi-tā (paint, print, spray), uku, whakapakoko (sculpture), and mahi matihiko (digital).

An artist will be delivering a presentation on Toi Māori on Wednesday 23 September. If you or your school are keen to attend, or if you have any enquiries, please email

Vaka Eiva competitions in Rarotonga

The annual Vaka Eiva competitions, organised by the Cook Islands Canoeing Association, have been cancelled for 2020.

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