QA News

QA News Issue 90
- 17 Dec 2015

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
Examinations conclude - results release
NZQA's 2015 Christmas card
Future State update
Deputy Chief Executive Kristine Kilkelly
New NZQA Board members
Completion of NZQA's Pasifika Strategy 2012-2015
Technical Exchange with Indonesian delegation
Ngā Tohu Reo Māori: Māori Language Awards 2015
Summer road safety for international students
Students to gain NZQF credits by obtaining a class one driver's licence
Alignment of the New Zealand and Australian Qualification Frameworks

Chief Executive's News

Karen Poutasi

It’s time for New Zealand’s senior secondary students to take a well-deserved break. Not so for us here at NZQA! While examinations have concluded for 2015, papers are currently being marked and results are being entered by marking panels around the country.

Marking will be completed by Christmas and NCEA results will be available for students to access online from 13 January. New Zealand Scholarship results are due out 9 February.

This year, as an organisation, we created a new ‘beacon’ or aspirational forward looking statement which encapsulates the work we do. This is ‘Qualify for the Future World.’ We are very focused on our ‘Future State’ programme of work, as we work towards NCEA, where appropriate being online by 2020. We are looking at a digital platform for moderation, with the aim of being more ‘real time’ and facilitating schools’ internal moderation. The tertiary space is also active with the introduction of consistency reviews, referencing of qualifications with other jurisdictions and early work on the development of a more comprehensive record of student learning called the Universal Record of Achievement.

As assessment and learning change, so too does NZQA! This year we welcomed Kristine Kilkelly, firstly as Divisional Manager for the Assessment Division and more recently as the division’s Deputy Chief Executive. You can read more about her journey at NZQA so far, and her plans for the assessment division going forward, later in this edition of QA News.

On the topic of new recruits, we are delighted to welcome two new Board members, Orewa College Principal Kate Shevland and Kohuora Education Manager Rachael Tuwhangai.

Rachael has significant experience in Māori education which is a good fit with NZQA’s commitment to its Te Rautaki Māori Strategy. Kate bring significant experience in digital pedagogy.

As this is the final QA News for 2015, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy festive season. It will be another busy year in 2016 and we look forward to continuing to work with you to help New Zealanders ‘Qualify for the Future World.’

Nga mihi.

Karen Poutasi,
Chief Executive

Examinations conclude - results release

Onehunga MAY2014 032More than 143,000 students sat NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship examinations in 2015.

Deputy Chief Executive, Assessment, Kristine Kilkelly, describes this year’s examination season as particularly successful.

“This reflects the great support we get from schools, the hard work of a large number of people here at NZQA, and the work that has gone on to continuously improve the processes that make the examinations run smoothly.

“Marking will be completed by Christmas and NCEA results will be released next month. Now is the time students should be practicing using their Learner Login on the NZQA website, so they don’t encounter any difficulties with not having login details or passwords.

“The examination process is a large operation with a significant number of examinations taking place at schools across the country every day for a month.”

NCEA results will be available for students to access online from 13 January 2016. New Zealand Scholarship results are due out on 9 February 2016. Marked examination papers will be returned to students from late January.

After results are released, students will be able to request their Records of Achievement to be mailed to them. Students will also be able to apply for reviews and reconsiderations.

National achievement statistics will be made available on the NZQA website from late March 2016.

NZQA's 2015 Christmas card

NZQA holiday 2This year’s NZQA Christmas card features a sculpture by former Lincoln High School student Kihere Toa’i Aumua-Jahnke.

The piece, titled ‘Ngā Kakano’ was Kihere’s first ever attempt at sculpture.

Kihere’s sculpture was created using lamination, suspension, dripping, layering, weaving, mixed media, and heat moulding.

Materials used included glue, paint, resin, paper and crepe paper, wax, tape, string and chord.

Future State update

ASHS MAY2014 014Digital assessment has been a key focus for NZQA this year, with a number of pilots undertaken, including a trial of a computer-based maths assessment in which approximately 11,000 students participated.

This was the second computer-based pilot of the electronic Mathematics Common Assessment Task (eMCAT), but the first on such a scale –146 schools took part, and a good range of school types and deciles were involved. It was also the first time the results of an online assessment could count towards Level 1 NCEA. The final report for the eMCAT, and also for 2015 Online Practice Examinations (OPE) for French and Science, will be published on the NZQA website at the end of January 2016.

A pilot was also held with Special Assessment Conditions candidates who opted to sit computer-based exams in which exam questions, resource booklets and answers were viewed and completed on computer. NZQA are now exploring options on the use of accessibility tools in digital assessment for candidates with special assessment conditions.

NZQA will use the learnings from these to shape further pilots - we will be in touch with schools early next year with details on how to participate in 2016 pilots and trials for external assessment.

A 'Submitted Subjects' pilot has commenced which enables material to be submitted online, to a Google drive, for marking.

NZQA is also looking at developing a new online tool for external moderation – we will consult on this in the first half of next year.

Significant progress has been made in our international qualification framework recognition work in 2015, as NZQA works towards the goal of having qualification recognition arrangements with 50 countries by 2020.

We have also started to build the foundations of a universal record of achievement to support student mobility through ensuring all learning is captured on an expanded record of achievement. In 2016, work will progress on adding NZ qualifications to this record.

We are in the process of making some improvements to some areas of our website to make it easier for our clients to find and understand key information. These changes will be implemented in February 2016.

In October we hosted Don Tapscott, one of the world's leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impact of technology. As part of this visit, NZQA and the Ministry of Education held a digital transformation and education symposium. A video from this symposium of a Year 12 Orewa College student, Jennifer Palmer, sharing her thoughts on the evolution of how her generation of students are learning, and how assessment must also evolve with them, can be viewed on the Innovation section of the NZQA website.

For more information on Future State work that was undertaken this year, and what’s coming up in 2016 you can also email

Deputy Chief Executive Kristine Kilkelly

IMG 5561It has been eight months since Kristine Kilkelly joined NZQA to manage the Assessment Division, allowing Deputy Chief Executive Richard Thornton to focus on digital assessment and transformation.

Kristine has recently been permanently appointed to the Deputy Chief Executive Assessment role.

Prior to coming to NZQA, Kristine was a Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education.

Kristine describes her role at NZQA, which involves managing a team of close to 200 staff, as challenging, interesting and enjoyable.

“Our division runs external assessment for NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship and ensures that the quality assurance systems that underpin the qualification are operating effectively, through our School Quality Assurance and Liaison, and External Moderation and Assessment Teams.  

“We also look after students’ Records of Achievement; develop and review unit standards and run Qualifications Recognition Services, for people coming from overseas who need to have their prior learning recognised.

“We have one of the key data and analysis teams in the education sector providing critical information on achievement results for the secondary and tertiary sectors.”

Reflecting on her time at NZQA so far, Kristine describes the organisation as a great place to work.

“What I’ve noted, and really enjoy, is the huge depth of experience and of knowledge we have here. There’s a real collegiality and yet a willingness to challenge thinking and test assumptions, which is very important. We are continually asking ourselves, is this the very best thing we could be doing for our students?

“While we do have to manage risks carefully, it doesn’t constrain our thinking. Good risk management and risk awareness usually means that people get the space to make improvements because they are less likely to be fighting fires. It also means that we learn from the past and that always leads to better results.”

Ensuring NZQA provides very good, high quality information and advice about qualifications will be a particular focus for Kristine in 2016.

“We want to do our part to improve public and employers’ understanding of NCEA. It’s a flexible, transportable and high quality qualification.

“We are involved in ongoing discussions about how we can make students’ Records of Achievement simpler to interpret. We want to know more about the types of information employers want to help them learn more about the skills and knowledge associated with the standards students achieve when they are awarded an NCEA qualification.

“I was really impressed when I came here to see the significant work that NZQA has done in this area already, for example NCEA Guide, the free mobile app that NZQA has produced that gives parents, whānau and employers quick and easy information about NCEA, however we know there is more work to be done.”

Within NZQA’s Future State programme, digital assessment has been a key focus for NZQA this year, with a number of pilots undertaken, including a trial of a computer-based maths assessment in which approximately 11,000 students participated.

Another key priority for Kristine is to take the opportunity that the Future State programme and new technology presents to look at ways of improving the client experience for students, schools and other providers.

As 2016 approaches, Kristine says there has been no more exciting time to be involved in education.

"There is such a compelling purpose in education which everyone shares.  I particularly value the chance to work with people across the education sector and to see first-hand the amazing work that our schools and tertiary providers do every day."

New NZQA Board members

Board with CETwo new members have been appointed to NZQA’s Board; Rachael Tuwhangai and Kate Shevland.

NZQA’s Board Chair, Sue Suckling, says she looks forward to working together towards NZQA’s mission of helping students ‘Qualify for the Future World.’

“We welcome their experience around the table. Over the past few years we have worked hard to ensure we have Board members who reflect a broad cross section of skills covering the education sector – providers, employers, core governance and strategic thinking.”

Rachael, who is of Tainui descent, is the Managing Director of Māori and Pasifika Support Services. She was previously Education Manager of Kohuora, the new mens’ prison based at Wiri, Manukau, Auckland. She has also spent 11 years as a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland.

Rachael is a former secondary school teacher in the South Auckland area, a former trustee of COMET Auckland, a member of the former NZQA Assessment Reference group, and is a current member of Ātea, a Māori Justice network. In addition to her current NZQA Board role, Rachael is a Ministerial appointee to the Council of the Manukau Institute of Technology. Rachael has conducted research into the eLearning experiences of Māori Medium teachers, however her current research interests include learning more about the educational experiences of those who first entered the prison system under the age of 18.

Kate is the Principal of Orewa College, a state co-educational school of 1800 resident and 100 international students. Orewa College is renowned for being an innovative and progressive school, advanced in its use of digital technology.

Having lead Orewa College for 20 years, Kate has strong links across the education sector. She is on the executive of the Auckland Secondary Principals’ Association and was on the Ministerial reference group for the RTLB review and the 21st Century Learning Reference group. She is a strong advocate for relevant future focused learning that is responsive to student and societal needs.

Supporting Pasifika Learners

NZQA’s Pasifika Strategy 2012-2015 has now been completed, with positive shifts in the rate of Pasifika learners achieving NCEA Level 2.

The strategy focused on four key areas: NCEA and qualifications, quality assurance, organisation and international.

  • This year NZQA, in collaboration with its sector partners, delivered 148 NCEA ma le Pasifika workshops, which were attended by 5138 participants from Pasifika families and communities. These workshop were designed to assist attendees to understand NCEA so that they can better support their children’s learning.

  • From 1 January 2014, NZQA required that all Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) engaging in External Evaluation and Review (EER) undertake self-assessment that reports directly on Pasifika learner achievement. This requirement was intended to improve Pasifika data in the tertiary sector, and ensure that TEOs better meet the needs of Pasifika learners and improve their success and progress in tertiary education.

  • Organisationally, the NZQA People Plan was reviewed to ensure it recognises the value of Pasifika expertise, and also the need to support Pasifika staff by providing capability and individual development opportunities. This will enable the delivery of better services for Pasifika clients, and for Pasifika learners.

  • Internationally, work was undertaken to honour connections in the Pacific through support, advice and participation in relevant qualifications-related development in Pacific island countries. In particular, NZQA supported the development of Pacific Island nations’ qualifications frameworks and systems, and quality assurance processes.

  • Through the Partnerships Fund project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NZQA has provided staff training and technical advice to strengthen qualifications frameworks and quality assurance systems of the Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the Tonga National Qualifications and Assessment Board (TNQAB). Both SQA and TNQAB have reported on the usefulness of the in-country training and attachments in NZQA. This project has also enhanced NZQA staff professional capacities through working in different contexts and cultures

NZQA’s Chief Advisor Pasifika, Lili Tuioti, says education is vital to the future of Pasifika communities in New Zealand.

“Supporting Pasifika learners and their families to understand the education and assessment systems opens up greater opportunities for them to be successful citizens in New Zealand, the Pacific region and globally."

The strategy, which was the second Pasifika strategy developed by NZQA, outlined NZQA’s role in supporting Pasifika learners to be highly skilled and highly qualified, thereby contributing to New Zealand’s economic and social prosperity. The Pasifika Plan 2015-2017 will continue with the momentum that has been built in the four focus areas, emphasising activities that will augment previous efforts.

Technical Exchange with Indonesian delegation

Indonesian visitThree officials from the Directorate General of Learning and Student Affairs, Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Indonesia visited NZQA for a technical exchange from 30 November to 3 December 2015.

The purpose of the technical exchange programme was to increase the capability of Indonesia in developing its national qualifications framework by sharing information on best practice models in the development and implementation of qualifications frameworks and quality assurance processes.

New Zealand has been partnered with Indonesia under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area Economic Cooperation Work Programme to deliver the technical exchange as part of Phase III of the Capacity Building for National Qualifications Framework project.

The technical exchange also included an observation of an external evaluation and review with the National Institute of Education and a visit to the Media Design School.

This was the third and final technical exchange which consolidated the learnings gained from the first two technical exchanges undertaken in New Zealand in June and Indonesia in August 2015. The technical exchange programme has benefited both countries through an increased understanding and appreciation of each other’s education systems, qualifications frameworks and quality assurance processes.

Ngā Tohu Reo Māori: Māori Language Awards 2015

IMG 2545NZQA was awarded the ‘Government’ award in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori: the Māori Language Awards 2015. The awards, hosted by Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori, aim to celebrate excellence and long term commitment to te reo Māori from across Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Deputy Chief Executive Māori, Daryn Bean, describes winning the award as an honour and a credit to the journey NZQA staff have been on to learn and use te reo Māori.

Te Wiki o te reo Māori is traditionally a great week of learning and fun at NZQA. Teams across the organisation come up with their own activities to share with other staff. It’s usually competitive in a friendly spirited way. It’s all about whānaungātanga and of course, te reo Māori.

NZQA also works hard to ensure we incorporate te reo Māori wherever possible as part of meeting the expectations of clients and students. An example of this was providing the NCEA Student app and NCEA Guide app in both English and Māori for students, teachers and whānau.

NZQA also acknowledges Mana Elizabeth Hunkin. Liz was awarded the “Taku Toa Takimano” (Māori Language Leadership award) for dedicating her life to the Māori language and being part of Ngāti Kahungungu’s Māori language revival for over 20 years. Liz has been a long-time member of NZQA’s Ngā Kaitūhono, whakaruruhau and a te reo Māori moderator.

Summer road safety for international students

As the festive season fast approaches, NZQA is encouraging tertiary education organisations to take opportunities to promote road safety to international students.

NZQA administers the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

Organisations that are signatories to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) have obligations relating to driving laws and traffic safety.

Under section 13.3.2 of the Code, signatories must provide support services to international students (if applicable) relating to ‘information and advice on driving laws, driver licensing requirements, and road traffic safety, including pedestrian and cycling safety, in New Zealand’.

This requirement can be met in a variety of ways. Examples include; material on noticeboards, emails to students or videos of road safety.

Useful links include What’s different about driving in New Zealand? and New Zealand Road Code Online.

NZQA also highly recommends that students are encouraged to have at least third-party vehicle insurance.

Students to gain NZQF credits by obtaining a class one driver's licence

Education Minister, Hon Hekia Parata, and Associate Transport Minister, Hon Craig Foss have announced that from 1 April 2016 students will be able to gain New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) credits by obtaining a Learner’s, Restricted or Full Driver’s Licence.

This was in response to employer concerns at the considerable number of young job seekers severely limiting their employability and employment options through not having a driver’s licence. Consequently, a cross-agency group was established to explore options to address these concerns. The group included: Ministry of Education, New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), New Zealand Transport Agency (Transport Agency) and Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

NZQA will work with schools and tertiary education organisations to ensure that there is minimal impact on teacher and administration workloads. The only new requirement for schools and tertiary education organisations will be authenticating the driver licence and then reporting the credits on behalf of the Transport Agency to NZQA to be recorded on the learner’s Record of Achievement.

More information will be added to the NZQA website from early 2016.

See the full announcement at NCEA credits for driver licences

Alignment of the New Zealand and Australian Qualification Frameworks

NZQFNZQA and the Australian Government Department of Education and Training have completed a two year project to reference the levels of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The project determined that the levels of the NZQF and the AQF are broadly comparable. The outcomes of the project have been published as a joint report: Enhancing Mobility – Referencing of the Australian and New Zealand Qualifications Frameworks. The report is available online and can be used by education providers and employers to support qualifications recognition.

The process has been extremely valuable in building knowledge and understanding of how our respective education systems work, especially the robustness of our quality assurance.

It aligns with the New Zealand Government’s vision of developing and sustaining mutually beneficial education relationships with key partners over the next 15 years.

As qualifications frameworks are constantly evolving, the report will be reviewed at regular intervals in the future.

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