QA News

QA News Issue 91
- 31 Mar 2016

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
NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship results release
Top Art exhibition launched
New Deputy Chief Executive - Quality Assurance
Te Hono o te Kahurangi and integration of Mātauranga Māori Evaluative Quality Assurance
Innovative research programme boosts career support for rangatahi Māori
Pastoral Care of International Students Code of Practice 2016
Resources available to help keep safe when visiting New Zealand
NZQA moving to provide more digital examinations
Digital moderation
NZQA work in Thailand
Visits from the Samoan Qualifications Authority and Tonga National Qualifications Board
Next time in QA News

Chief Executive's News

Karen PoutasiAs March draws to a close, the academic year is now well underway. In January, NCEA results were released to close to 170,000 senior secondary students. This is a large scale operation for NZQA and also a very important time for young people, their schools and whānau.

After each examination period draws to a close, we enjoy taking the time to celebrate the huge amount of talent that exists in New Zealand schools.

I had the opportunity to see some of this first-hand at NZQA’s annual Top Art exhibition launch, held recently at Massey University. It was great speaking with some of these outstanding young people, most of whom are now in their first year of university study, and hearing about both their future goals and their high school experiences.

You can read more about Top Art, later in this edition of QA News.

This year we have had some changes here at NZQA. Dr Grant Klinkum has moved into a new role as Deputy Chief Executive for our Quality Assurance division. We also have two new Deputy Chief Executives, Andrea Gray who from April will be overseeing our Digital Assessment and Transformation work and Russell Wood who now heads our Strategic and Corporate Division.

Speaking of coming and going, later in this edition you can read more about NZQA’s recent work with the Thailand Professional Qualification Institute and about training for overseas delegations from Tonga and Samoa, which has recently taken place at NZQA.

This is an exciting year for us, and for the education system as a whole, as we work on a digital programme towards having NCEA examinations, where appropriate, online by 2020, and having a platform for engaging in the digital moderation of internal assessment.

This year we will be running a number of trials and pilots which will help inform our next steps and will ensure that we do everything possible to make this transition as smoothly as possible as we work towards our mission of helping today’s students 'qualify for the future world.'

Until next time.

Ngā mihi


NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship results release

IMG 7966Close to 170,000 students logged in to view their NCEA results on 13 January, 2016.

Deputy Chief Executive, Assessment, Kristine Kilkelly explains results release is an exciting time for students and a very busy period for NZQA.

“Results release days are something we carefully plan for and manage. This year, just like last year, we were very pleased with the performance of our website. During the first half of 13 January there were between 20,000 and 30,000 logins each hour as students checked and rechecked their results and shared their results online.  By midnight that was up to 90,000.”

“We carefully manage the day and plan well in advance to ensure there are no issues for students accessing their results. We were very pleased with the way in which our website coped with the enormous volume of extra traffic throughout the day.

“We also extend our call centre hours and roster on extra staff to answer questions students have about their results.”

New Zealand Scholarship results release was also very successful.

“New Zealand Scholarship is the most prestigious secondary school award available in New Zealand. Students need to be able to demonstrate a very high level of critical thinking and clear application of knowledge, skills and ideas.”

From the almost 8000 students entered in one or more New Zealand Scholarship in 2015, 2381 students were awarded one or more subject scholarships.

Premier Award winners, Outstanding Scholar Award winners and Top Subject Scholar Award winners have been announced and are available to view on the NZQA website.

NZQA’s annual Top Scholar awards ceremony will be held in May.

Top Art exhibition launched

KarenandstudentTe Ara Hihiko at Massey University in Wellington, was bustling at the opening of NZQA’s annual Top Art exhibition.

Top Art is an annual touring exhibition of Visual Art portfolios by secondary school students who achieved Excellence at NCEA Level 3.

Speaking to students at the launch, Brian Lucid, Head of Massey University’s School of Design, reinforced the importance of NZQA’s mantra of ‘Qualify for the Future World’.

“This event is not simply a confirmation and celebration of your hard work and your achievements, it is also recognition of your great potential.

“Understand, that for the majority of you, the careers in which you will someday apply your prodigious skills have yet to be invented.”

Brian also addressed parents and caregivers.

“Tonight is not only a celebration of your support, but also of your achievement. In a world full of distraction, it is not easy to raise children who have the mixture of curiosity, criticality, and focus to excel at art and design.

“You have provided critical tools for their future success. This January the World Economic Forum released a report entitled The Future of Jobs that defined the Top 10 Job skills needed for the year 2020 and beyond. The top job skill was complex problem solving. Number two was critical thinking and number three was creativity. Emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility also made the list.

“It is no longer enough to prepare students to go out and get jobs, we must be empowering students to create entirely new ways to work.”

Brian thanked NZQA for hosting the event and giving Massey the opportunity to share in celebrating these talented young people.

NZQA Chief Executive, Karen Poutasi, echoed Brian’s thoughts about ‘doing things differently’.

“Reading the student’s biographies, I noted the increasing use of technology, which gives students even greater opportunity to explore in their work.

“Another key theme is that nothing can replace the influence of a good teacher. It is through the feedback of teachers that our students are able to challenge themselves and gain confidence in their abilities.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the many fantastic teachers we have in our secondary schools and also to thank the students themselves for allowing us to display their work for the benefit of others.”

The exhibition is now touring the tour the North and South Islands, and will visit over 30 schools, museums and galleries throughout New Zealand during the course of the year.

For more information and an exhibition schedule see:

New Deputy Chief Executive - Quality Assurance

SMT brochure Dr Grant KlinkumDr Grant Klinkum was recently appointed to the role of Deputy Chief Executive for NZQA’s Quality Assurance division.

The Quality Assurance division is responsible for managing the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, setting the rules for quality assurance in the tertiary education sector and providing independent quality assurance of tertiary education organisations, excluding universities.

Grant joined NZQA in 2014, as DCE of the organisation’s Strategic and Corporate division.

This followed seven years at the Tertiary Education Commission in senior management roles.

Prior to the TEC, Grant worked as Deputy Chief Executive at an Institute of Technology and Polytechnic and has worked as a Dean of Faculty at two tertiary education organisations.

Grant is enjoying this new challenge and has identified a number of key quality assurance priorities for NZQA this year.

“These include embedding the new consistency reviews into the evaluative quality assurance framework, streamlining aspects of EER and including more compliance testing, whilst maintaining the primary focus on educational performance.

“It’s also a high priority to review quality assurance arrangements for offshore delivery, expand the number of jurisdictions NZ has qualification recognition arrangements with and to conclude the recognition of prior learning and credit recognition and transfer policy work.”

Also on the list is continuing to improve and refine NZQA’s application processes.

“We want to ensure our processes are as efficient and user-friendly as possible.

We are also working to build a new digital qualifications and programmes register – Sector Qualifications Register (SQR).”

Grant says the SQR will deliver a single register that stores information about all quality assured qualifications listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

“The groundwork for SQR has been laid. Subsequent phases of development will involve co-creating with tertiary education organisations and other agencies a register that supports effective, efficient and integrated cross-agency approval processes for tertiary education organisations, enables easier life-cycle management (approval and maintenance) of qualifications, programmes, components and related information and improves the information at the source to create a quality data-sharing system for all stakeholders, from the education organisation to the learners.”

While he has been fortunate to meet many stakeholders in his previous education sector management roles, Grant is looking forward to meeting many more clients this year and working together to support great educational outcomes for tertiary learners and New Zealand.

Te Hono o te Kahurangi and integration of Mātauranga Māori Evaluative Quality Assurance

mmTe Hono o Te Kahurangi is the name of the whare that uses a unique whare ako framework to bring together Mātauranga Māori and Evaluative Quality Assurance (MM EQA) into one seamless approach.  It assesses how well, and to what extent, education providers are contributing to education outcomes of ākonga, whānau, hapū, iwi, and hapori Māori.

NZQA is working towards a full integration of Te Hono o Te Kahurangi across all quality assurance activities and continuing to strengthen the focus on quality outcomes for Māori learners.

Deputy Chief Executive Grant Klinkum says a key priority this year is to refine and strengthen quality assurance practices to utilise all important aspects of TEO performance and capability including those involving approvals and accreditation, assessment and moderation, consistency reviews, and external evaluation.

“These activities support our key strategic goals of ensuring New Zealand qualifications and the New Zealand Qualifications Framework are underpinned by robust and educationally credible quality assurance arrangements and ensuring New Zealand qualifications are relevant, high quality and internationally portable.”

MM EQA stems from commitments in NZQA’s first official Māori Strategty (Te Rautaki Māori 2007-2012).

NZQA’s current Te Rautaki Māori Strategy (2012 – 2017) is NZQA’s planned approach to how it will direct its resources to contribute to Māori education success and the government’s Māori education strategy; Ka Hikitia.

Innovative research programme boosts career support for rangatahi Māori

Project Kamehameha report coverBy 2030, approximately 30% of students, and therefore our future workforce, will be Māori.

“To strengthen the education to work transitions of young Māori we need to provide information on learning and work choices in a way that excites and engages, raises expectations, and increases their participation in high growth industries,” says Careers New Zealand Chief Executive Keith Marshall.

Project Kāmehameha is an innovative research programme commissioned by Careers New Zealand to drive the development of digital tools and resources to respond to the changing career needs of rangatahi Māori.

“Project Kāmehameha has given us a deeper understanding of the career aspirations, information needs and digital preferences of rangatahi Māori, as well as understanding the perspectives and support requirements of their whānau and teachers,” says Mr Marshall.

“This information will help us change how we support young Māori and use resources to ensure we make a difference for Māori. Project Kāmehameha shows the way.”

Careers New Zealand spoke to rangatahi from years 7 to 13 about their study and career aspirations, where they go for information, who helps them with career decisions, what challenges and concerns they have and how they want to receive career information. Focus groups with teachers and family/whānau examined their roles, and a quantitative survey of 1,300 rangatahi investigated how Māori use digital channels.

Project Kāmehameha speaks to the career aspirations of rangatahi and whānau. The findings tell us that designing and developing career resources suitable for Māori, that don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, will lead to better and more informed subject and career decisions. Many young Māori and their whānau recognise that their culture and heritage opens up more opportunities for their future careers, especially within the Māori economy.

To download the summary of research visit,

Pastoral Care of International Students Code of Practice 2016


From 1 July 2016, NZQA will also be putting into operation the revised Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016. The revised Code will provide for better support and care for international students in New Zealand.

Deputy Chief Executive Grant Klinkum says the international education industry is made up of a wide range of provider operations, some with only a few international students to others with hundreds; from schools to tertiary institutions.

“Because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all when designing systems and services to help ensure the best care for international students; education providers must be aware of their own circumstances to actively support their international students in and continually look to improve what they do.”

The key features of the revised Code are:

  • Education providers will be required to achieve the outcomes outlined in the revised Code, following prescribed key processes.
  • NZQA, as the Code Administrator, has new powers to sanction education providers who do not follow the code.
  • A new International Student Contract Dispute Resolution Scheme is established to resolve contractual and financial disputes between international students and education providers.

NZQA’s main focus as the Code Administrator is to ensure education providers follow the Code and ensure student safety and wellbeing. From 1 July 2016 all applications from new Code signatories will need to be through the revised Code. Under the revised Code, annual attestation will need to be submitted by 1 December 2016.

To complement the revised Code, NZQA is proposing a fresh approach in the working draft of guidelines, which are structured around key outcome areas of the revised Code. Alongside the guidelines, NZQA is proposing that a resource toolkit of provider-sourced and developed good practice examples, templates and other material, start to be developed and added to, as a living document.

NZQA is seeking feedback on the draft working guidelines until 1 May 2016.

Resources available to help keep safe when studying in New Zealand

KeepsafeRecent aggravated robberies of international students are concerning, especially as New Zealand places paramount importance on the safety of international visitors and students.

Deputy Chief Executive, Grant Klinkum says for education providers and signatories to the Code of Practice for Pastoral Care, this highlights the importance of providing good information about personal safety for students.

“Information can be provided during orientation and as part of on-going support given to students whilst studying in New Zealand.”

The NZ Police have some useful information booklets on 'Keeping safe in New Zealand', these are available in different languages.

NZQA moving to provide more digital examinations

ASHS MAY2014 019NZQA is working towards the goal of having all appropriate examinations online by 2020.

In 2015, NZQA completed a range of trials and pilots to test its assumptions and enable schools to evaluate their readiness to manage digital assessments.

More than 200 schools participated in last year’s trials and pilots and this year we expect significantly more schools will be involved. The trials and pilots also enable NZQA to test end to end processes for examinations online.

This year NZQA will undertake at least nine Level 1 trial examinations, and will pilot four Level 1 subjects. Chief Executive Karen Poutasi says these examinations will help schools and students make the transition to digital assessment by enabling schools to test their readiness, and providing an opportunity for students to experience assessment in a digital format. The trials and pilots also enable NZQA to test end to end processes for examinations online.

The Level 1 subjects being piloted are English, French, Classical Studies and Media Studies.

“Involvement in a pilot examination will be voluntary, and students who chose to opt-in will sit a digital examination rather than the paper examination. However we will ensure no student is disadvantaged by providing a paper examination as a back-up.”

“Teachers will mark the trial examinations, which will be prepared for them to use during their school practice examinations. Pilot examinations will run concurrently with the paper-based examinations for those subjects, and NZQA contracted markers will mark them.”

The results from these pilots will count towards the candidate’s NCEA.

On the other hand, the nine trials that will be available will not count towards NCEA, but can act as practice examinations and learning opportunities on a digital footing.

Digital moderation

onlinemoderationOnline moderation was made available for the first time in 2015 for Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) and NZQA had a great uptake of this service, with one-third of all TEOs submitting materials for national external moderation online. NZQA is encouraging TEOs to take advantage of this existing service this year, rather than printing digitally produced materials for submission.

We are also working on how we can improve the moderation process so that it better meets the needs of TEOs and schools. The plans include:

  • simplifying the online submission process
  • making “real time” moderation available (as distinct from batch processing)
  • making it easier for assessors to clarify a moderation decision
  • providing a dashboard for monitoring moderation submissions and annual results
  • providing a tool that can be used to support internal moderation processes.

NZQA is interested in hearing from TEOs and schools views on these proposed changes and is currently running workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to demonstrate the potential changes to our moderation tools and get feedback. We are also developing a discussion paper outlining the proposed changes, which will be available online this April for stakeholders to provide feedback on.

NZQA work in Thailand

Thailand2NZQA is working with the Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (TPQI) as part of its Future State commercialisation work-stream.

This work started in late 2014, when TPQI contracted NZQA to undertake a policy and process review and to run a training programme for TPQI staff in Bangkok (along with Service IQ) and with NZQA staff in New Zealand.

Manager of Qualification Services, Linda Glogau visited Bangkok in February, to assist TPQI’s recently established Quality Assurance team with advice and support. The focus of the visit was to help TPQI review its current and proposed quality assurance processes, and to develop an implementation blueprint report.

Linda worked with TPQI staff to identify the key issues and to determine the systems and processes that would work in their situation and environment. Linda stressed that their collective agreement and ownership was needed on what would be summarized in her report.

Time was spent meeting with management and key staff to discuss current processes, for TPQI to self-assess what was working and where improvements were needed, and to co-construct solutions.

“NZQA sees that the role of the ‘external expert’ is to be a ‘critical friend’ and to offer advice based on our experiences. It certainly helped having a strong understanding of TPQI’s current processes through having undertaken work with the agency in 2014.”

Linda says the visit helped TPQI drill down and understand the specific issues it was facing and for NZQA to clarify and confirm with them the proposed role and functions of the new team and outcomes being sought.

“An underpinning theme of quality enhancements and accountability was used to test proposals."

“By the end of the visit, an outline of a Quality Assurance Framework and system had been co-constructed. A highlight was working with staff and facilitating their discussions in order for them to self-determine and come to agreement about where and how they could strengthen and make quality enhancements to their current development and quality assurance processes, and where additional quality assurance processes were required.”

Follow up discussions have been planned following development of the implementation blueprint report.

Visits from the Samoan Qualifications Authority and Tonga National Qualifications Board

SQA TNQAB visit Feb 16

In February NZQA hosted a delegation from the Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board (TNQAB).

This visit provided the five visitors (two from TNQAB and three from SQA) with opportunities to learn about NZQA’s quality assurance functions and how they could apply this experience to their own organisations’ work.

Joyce Adam from SQA said the visit was very valuable, explaining her organisation is much younger and smaller in size.

“We’re trying to adopt and adapt some of NZQA’s quality assurance processes.”

Alamoana Sua, also from SQA said she has learnt a lot about approvals and accreditation and Risk Management processes.

NZQA’s Chief Advisor Pasifika, Lii Tuioti, echoed the group’s thoughts on the value of the exchange.

“The success of these arrangements hinge a lot on the willingness and support of NZQA staff to share their knowledge and expertise," she says.

Next time in QA News

In the June edition of QA News we will introduce two new Deputy Chief Executives, Russell Wood and Andrea Gray.

Russell was the General Manager Corporate Services at Maritime New Zealand, and now leads NZQA’s Strategic and Corporate Division.

Andrea Gray comes to NZQA from the Environmental Protection Authority and will be leading NZQA’s digital assessment and transformation programme of work.

Also, NZQA’s Student App is being refreshed, we’ll tell you about these exciting enhancements.

And we’ll introduce you to the latest winner of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence (to be announced on 4 May).

All that and more in the June edition of QA News.

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