QA News

QA News Issue 86
- 18 Dec 2014

ISSN 1170-3318 (Online)

QA News provides information about NZQA activities. It is produced by NZQA four times per year.

In this edition:

Chief Executive’s News
Special Assessment Conditions Alternative Technology Project
NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship Examinations conclude for 2014
New Zealand Scholarship Candidates to access marked booklets electronically
Vocational Pathways Profile
Staff Profile - Jane von Dadelszen
New Data Collection system for non-Crown funded PTEs with international students
2015 EER schedule published
NZQA Christmas Card
Digital Assessment - Visual Arts
Study Abroad website updated to include more New Zealand providers
Best Practice Workshops

Chief Executive's News


This is the busiest time of year for our Assessment Division, which oversees the running of NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship examinations.

Although the examinations are now complete, the work is by no means over as papers are currently being marked and results are being entered by marking panels around the country.

This year, more than 143,000 students took part in 120 examination sessions over a four week period. We were delighted with how smoothly the process ran, which reflects the hard work of everyone involved.

NCEA results will be available online from Wednesday 14 January 2015 and New Zealand Scholarship results are due out on Tuesday, 10 February 2015.

This year, our Board Chair Sue Suckling, set us the challenge of coming up with a ‘beacon,’ that is an aspirational forward looking statement which encapsulates the work we do. After much discussion, I’m pleased to announce our ‘beacon’ is: Qualify for the future world.

This beacon works well on a number of levels. We care about qualifying people for the world of opportunities which having qualifications opens up, both in New Zealand and internationally.

The word ‘world’ also speaks to our services to clients internationally, and to the high regard in which our qualifications framework is held.

The word ‘future’ is critical because the qualifications we approve must be relevant for work in an increasingly global and digital world.

Responding to the needs of future learners is an important part of our role, and what our Future State programme is all about.  We have a whakatauki which says:

Te manu ka kai i te miro, nona te ngahere. Te manu ka kai i te matauranga, nona te ao.

This translates as ‘the bird that partakes of the berry, his is the forest. The bird that partakes of knowledge, his is the world.’

You can see the link to our beacon!

We recently produced a short video about this programme, which you can view on our YouTube Channel. In the video, each member of our Senior Management Team explains how their work-stream contributes to meeting the needs of learners in the second decade of the 21st century.

On behalf of everyone here at NZQA I would like to wish you and your families a happy and safe festive season and we look forward to working with you in 2015.

Nga mihi,


Special Assessment Conditions Alternative Technology Project


Richard Thornton - DCE AssessmentThis year NZQA trialled the use of text to speech software in both practice and NCEA examinations.

Deputy Chief Executive Richard Thornton says as NZQA moves towards digitising its processes, it’s important all student needs are catered for.

“We want to make sure we do everything we can to ensure every student has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential.”

Each year a number of students with learning, medical or physical challenges are able to sit their examinations with Special Assessment Conditions.

In June, NZQA staff visited a number of school Special Education Needs Coordinators to determine what technology was currently offered to their SAC candidates and whether any candidates who were approved for a reader / writer would be interested in participating in the trial.

For the first phase of the trial, school practice exams, 11 candidates were identified who were taking part in seven examination sessions or 14 standards.

The second phase involved eight candidates from three Wellington schools using the software in external NCEA examinations.  

Richard explains the use of this kind of software could eventually provide candidates with greater independence.

“We know kids don’t like to stand out too much, so not having to have an adult sitting with them during the exam means they can be in the same room as their peers. We ensured no student would be disadvantaged during the trial by having a reader / writer available as per normal.”

Initial feedback from schools and students has been largely positive. A report on the trial is currently being prepared and will be published early 2015. If the results are positive, NZQA will look to expand the pilot to include more schools, students and subjects in 2015.

NCEA & New Zealand Scholarship Examinations conclude for 2014 

Exam candidates can relaxNZQA’s Deputy Chief Executive Assessment, Richard Thornton, is delighted with how smoothly the 2014 NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship process has run.

“This is a huge operation with multiple examination sessions taking place at schools across the country every day for a month. The success we have in running the examinations reflects the support we get from schools and the well organised, efficient processes in place.”

“Papers are currently being marked and the results entered by marking panels around the country. Marking will be completed by Christmas.”

NCEA results will be available for students to access online from Wednesday 14 January 2015. New Zealand Scholarship results are due out Tuesday 10 February 2015.

“To allow for the loading of results and final system testing, the student Learner Login section of our website will be unavailable for a few days in the lead up to the release of results.

Students should have a practice run using their Learner Login before Christmas so that they’re not held up on the day results are released by ha

ving to find login details or change passwords.”

From Thursday 15 January, the day after results are released, all students who have paid their fees and completed NCEA or University Entrance will be able to order their certificates online. Answer booklets will be returned to candidates from late January.

New Zealand Scholarship Candidates to access marked booklets electronically 

New Zealand Scholarship papers are currently being marked and uploaded into an online storage facility.

Candidates will be able to access their booklets online from February 10, 2015.

Read our media release here

Vocational Pathways Profile 

Vocational Pathways Wheel logoThe Vocational Pathways Profile is a visual graph that tracks learners' achievement against the Vocational Pathways. Learners can now see their progress and identify where they need to raise their level of achievement. This helps with planning courses for the following year.

Learners can see their Vocational Pathways Profile whenever they login.

Learners can also use the Profile Builder to plan a Vocational Pathway.



Staff Profile: Jane von Dadelszen 

Jane von Dadelszen - DCE Quality Assurance DivisionA passion for education was the impetus behind NZQA’s Deputy Chief Executive Jane von Dadelszen taking up the challenge of leading the organisation’s Quality Assurance division 18 months ago.

Jane came to NZQA from the Department of Corrections, where she was in charge of strategy, policy and research. She also has a long history working in the education sector, including ten years at the Ministry of Education.

She is passionate about the power of education.

“I believe in the potential of education as a positive social policy intervention. It is the area of social policy that can make the biggest difference in terms of overcoming disadvantage and problems.

“I’ve always been particularly interested in tertiary education because of its potential in terms of lifelong learning. It’s powerful being able to learn at any stage, to change direction and improve your circumstances, particularly because it also has a multi-generational impact.

“Educated parents mean the next generation is much better educated. There’s nothing I would rather be part of.”

Asked what she most enjoys about her work at NZQA, Jane says the real and genuine support for staff and great Senior Management Team make NZQA a terrific place to work.

“It’s one of the best cultures I have encountered in the public service. Our Senior Management Team are highly skilled and also really care about and support each other and the work we all do.

“I also have a fabulous team, which makes my job so much easier.”

However, there are always challenges and opportunities to do things better.

“The reality is that delivering education at a tertiary level outside of universities is not simple. It’s an area of learning which has to respond very quickly to labour market changes so the world for those tertiary education organisations is always evolving. That means things sometimes go wrong, and sometimes those things have really serious consequences. That’s by far the most challenging part of my job.”

In 2015, Jane says she looks forward to further strengthening NZQA’s Quality Assurance process, to become more flexible and adaptable in order to meet the needs of future learners while the quality of education is maintained.

“One project I’m particularly excited about is the process of developing a Universal Record of Achievement which will be something unique to New Zealand and will be a comprehensive record of all learning that has taken place.”

On behalf of the NZQA’s Quality Assurance division, Jane wishes everyone an enjoyable festive season and successful 2015.

New data collection system for non-Crown funded PTEs with international students 

NZQA and the Ministry of Education have launched a consultation on a proposed new automated data collection system. The system will apply to PTEs that do not receive Crown funding and that enrol international students.

The new system will collect data electronically by recording updates about student enrolment, fee payment, withdrawal from courses and completion of programmes as they are made in each PTE’s Student Management system.

NZQA welcomes feedback on the proposed new system by 24 December 2014. The consultation document, which includes a list of the information that will be collected in the new system and a questionnaire.

The survey can be completed online.

The feedback collected during the consultation will be incorporated into the design and implementation of a pilot system in May 2015. NZQA is seeking volunteers to collaborate with the design and testing of the new system. The pilot system will leverage similar processes and technology as the recently implemented Early Learning Information (ELI) system, which is currently used by approximately 4200 providers within the Early Childhood Education sector.

Arama Johnston, Manager, Quality Assurance Strategy, Kathy Maclaren, Manager, Approvals and Accreditation, and Bridgette Lynch, Business Analyst, Quality Assurance Strategy, have represented NZQA at three information sessions on the data collection system held across the country.

NZQA held information sessions about the new system in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The Auckland session was hosted by Corporate Academy Group in Wiri on 28 November, 2014. The Christchurch session was hosted by PEETO The Multi-Cultural Learning Centre in Riccarton on 2 December, 2014.

If you were unable to attend the sessions and have questions about the consultation or the proposed new system, please contact Bridgette Lynch, Policy Analyst, Quality Assurance Strategy by email at or by telephone at (04) 463 3045.

2015 EER schedule published 

The 2015 EER schedule is now available on the NZQA website. See external evaluation and review schedule for 2015.

NZQA Christmas card 

Seasons Greetings from NZQAThe 2014 NZQA Christmas card features artwork by former Wakatipu High School pupil Rosa Woods. This image formed part of Rosa’s Scholarship Photography portfolio, which she titled ‘Blending In’.  The impetus for ‘Blending In’ came from a picture Rosa found of a girl sitting in a field which was edited so that the girl appeared to be ‘blending in’ to the environment around her.

Rosa’s portfolio formed part of NZQA’s annual ‘Top Art’ exhibition which showcases the best of 50 NCEA Level 3 Visual Art portfolios.

NZQA’s Chief Executive Karen Poutasi says she is always impressed by the quality of the artwork that is available to NZQA for our Christmas card. She is grateful to those students whose work is featured and so readily agree to that contribution.

“This year Rosa’s work is memorable,” she says.

Digital Assessment – Visual Arts 

NZQA is continuing to respond to the changing assessment needs of learners in the second decade of the 21st century.

Deputy Chief Executive, Richard Thornton says one example of this is that NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship Visual Arts candidates are now able to submit their portfolios in digital format. Until 2013, candidates were only able to submit their work as a three-panel portfolio board, despite many candidates having proficiency in digital aspects such as film or animation.

Watch The Big Bake Theory videoFor an example see The Big Bake Theory

“Enabling candidates to submit digital portfolios is exciting, as it means they can showcase their work in real-time. We hope this mode of assessment will also mean candidates are encouraged to develop existing skill sets such as filming or editing, knowing they will be able to submit their work in a digital format.

“This opportunity also provides candidates working within a time element, such as film or moving image, an opportunity to show their skills. It’s also great preparation for young people moving into tertiary institutions where less restrictive conditions are placed on the way in which work is presented.”

The submission of digital portfolios is still very much in its infancy. More than 9000 board portfolios were received for Visual Arts this year, and fewer than 40 portfolios were submitted digitally.

The digital portfolios included film, sculpture, interactive websites, music videos, websites, advertisements and animation.

“It’s also important to note that not all portfolios are best suited to this medium. Teachers and candidates need to think about the project and which medium of presentation it suits best. A candidate’s work needs to show idea generation, development and clarification.”

Guidelines for schools on the requirements for both three-panel portfolio boards and digital portfolio submissions are published annually on the NZQA website.

All 2014 Visual Arts portfolios have now been assessed and results will be released on January 14 2015.

Study Abroad website updated to include more New Zealand providers


The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is pleased to announce that the Chinese Ministry of Education will be adding nine New Zealand education providers to its website of international places of study.

The Jiaoyu Shewai Jianguan Xinxiwang (JSJ) Study Abroad website is maintained by the Chinese Ministry of Education and lists high quality education providers outside of China. Chinese students who are considering studying for tertiary qualifications in other countries often use the website to decide where to study.

The list of New Zealand education providers on the JSJ Study Abroad website currently includes all eight New Zealand universities, 17 of the 18 institutes of technology and polytechnics, and six Private Training Establishments (PTEs).

More than 25,000 international students from China studied in New Zealand last year. For more information, see Study Abroad website updated.

Best Practice Workshop – Collecting Evidence


Following on from the NZQA Best Practice Workshops, which focus on making assessment judgements and modifying assessment resource tasks, NZQA is piloting a new model of Best Practice Workshop. The new workshop, Collecting Evidence, aims to explore diverse and valid methods of collecting assessment evidence to meet the varied needs of learners.

As with the current Best Practice Workshops, these workshops provide an opportunity for interaction with NZQA moderators and colleagues.

Lynne Gill, Team Leader Projects, Assessment & Moderation, says this collaboration ensures participants have the opportunity to share good practice regarding evidence collection and to create networks post-event.

The purpose of the Collecting Evidence workshop is to allow participants to explore diverse and valid methods of collecting assessment evidence.  The workshop showcases innovative assessment practice and also offers ideas around different ways to gather evidence whilst ensuring credibility.

The activities in the workshop have been informed by the collection of student voice.  Students were interviewed at schools in Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton.

“They talked about what they valued in relation to how they were assessed, that is what good assessment looks like for them; what engages them; and ultimately what helps them reach higher levels of achievement,” Lynne says.

Participants will have an opportunity to consider this dialogue together with ideas presented during the workshop to work on a unit plan, in a subject of their choice, to make the workshop relevant and meaningful for them.

A recent workshop pilot was held in Tauranga. It was attended by teachers, senior administrators and professional learning providers and representatives from tertiary institutions.  Some of the comments from participants included:

  • It was extremely beneficial to hear how students appreciated different ways of assessing standards  
  • Ideas generated today are phenomenal ...
  • I think it is also important to stress to (assessors) that tasks don’t have to be how links are made. Many assessments can be run in parallel or evidence can be used between subjects without modifying tasks. The important thing is for (assessors) to be talking about where they think these links can be made.   

The workshop was additionally externally evaluated by a Principal’s Advisor who described the work as “opening the door of what might be… using evidence for more than one standard within one learning area and across learning areas and exposure to different modes of assessment is at the very edge of transforming teaching by breaking down the traditional silos of subject disciplines in the senior secondary school.” 

“This very encouraging feedback from both participants and the Principal’s Adviser indicates that this workshop is timely, and that there is a state of readiness by teachers to use their inquiry skills to investigate how they collect evidence to improve outcomes for their students,” Lynne says.

A ‘soft’ launch of the new workshops is currently taking place with five workshops being held in Whangarei, Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington and Dunedin. The feedback obtained from these workshops will inform a more extensive rollout in 2015.  A schedule outlining dates and timings together with instructions on how to register is available on the NZQA Best Practice Workshop page (

The new model workshop is not intended to replace the other Best Practice Workshops currently on offer. 

“This workshop is a natural extension of the ‘Connecting with Contexts®’ workshop as it looks at the collection of evidence that ‘falls’ out of teaching and learning that can be used for assessment purposes,” Lynne says.

A schedule outlining the Best Practice Workshop 2015 offerings will be available on the NZQA website by the 30 November 2014.  This will allow assessors and learning institutions sufficient time to plan their professional development requirements and any travel and accommodation considerations.   

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