Pānga tuarua: Te whakaū kounga

Impact 2: Quality assurance

Trust and confidence in education outcomes for non-university tertiary education

NZQA’s quality assurance role is directed towards supporting higher levels of trust and confidence in education outcomes of the tertiary education system. NZQA sets the statutory rules for the whole tertiary sector and manages quality assurance in the non-university part of the tertiary sector.

NZQA operates an integrated quality assurance system in which all components support each other. The quality assurance system includes registration of private training establishments (PTEs) and approval of qualifications (including degrees and related qualifications), programmes, training schemes and assessment standards. It also includes:

  • assuring the consistency of graduate outcomes from New Zealand qualifications
  • moderation of assessment standards
  • monitoring of programmes including degrees
  • conducting External Evaluation and Reviews (EERs)
  • risk management
  • quality assuring and monitoring signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016.

To achieve this, TEOs are encouraged to understand their education performance through using evidence, influencing outcomes, and delivering to their stakeholder needs. Hence, self-assessment by TEOs is integral to all quality assurance components.

The quality assurance system uses an evaluative approach to reach well-informed, consistent and reliable evidence-based judgement about all aspects of education organisation performance and capability, with a practical focus on outcomes and key contributing processes.

Delivering to today’s learners, employers and providers

Quality assuring and actively monitoring education outcomes in the non-university sector

NZQA’s range of quality assurance activities contribute to actively monitoring education outcomes achieved in the non-university sector. This enables the effectiveness of the quality assurance system to be monitored and modified when required, for example in response to emerging risks and changes in the environment.

NZQA continues to work to ensure a coordinated approach to the monitoring and risk management of education organisations. This includes monitoring programmes, managing complaints and following up performance issues. NZQA regularly receives and shares information on potential risks with relevant agencies.

The NZQA Rules were further strengthened this year to ensure international students have the capability to fully participate in their chosen programme of study and to improve education organisation accountability in the event of a programme or provider closure. This work contributes to the Excellent Education and Student Experience goal of the International Education Strategy.

NZQA has continued to increase its focus on monitoring the delivery of programmes to determine if they are being delivered as approved. The increased focus on programme delivery and assessment practice has enabled poor education performance to be identified earlier. Confidence in the quality of assessment practice and decisions is critical for assuring the integrity and credibility of New Zealand qualifications.

As a result of the early identification of quality issues, NZQA has increasingly worked with the TEOs concerned to remediate the issues identified and increasingly support improvements in order to minimise the impact on learners using our statutory powers as appropriate.

Monitoring our progress

IndicatorMeasured by2018/19 Result
We see improved tertiary education organisations (TEO) educational performance and capability. Percentage of TEOs where there is an improved result on capability in self-assessment from the previous external evaluation and review.

As at 30 June 2019, 41 percent of TEOs engaging in repeat EERs have gained a higher level of confidence in their capability in self-assessment.

This compares to 46 percent for the 2017/18 financial year.7

A reduction in the average period of time a TEO with a result of category 3 or 4 remains in category 3 or 4. As at 30 June 2019, 80 percent of TEOs that were in category 3 or 4 either improved or have left the system. This compares to 88 percent for the 2017/18 financial year.8
Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) experience a more relevant and easier to use evaluative quality assurance framework. TEOs report improvements in the experience of external evaluation and review and gaining approvals and accreditations. As at 30 June 2019, NZQA formally sought feedback after every EER. The overall satisfaction rating is 80 percent. This compares to 78 percent for the 2017/18 financial year.

Actively monitoring pastoral care of international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) sets out the minimum standards of advice and care that is expected of education providers to ensure international students are well informed, safe and properly cared for. All education providers in New Zealand who enrol international students must be a Code signatory and adhere to the requirements of the Code.

This year NZQA’s monitoring work has focused on ensuring signatories’ compliance and capability with the requirement to self-review their performance against the outcomes and processes of the Code. This has included:

  • the annual attestation process where each signatory attests that they have undertaken a self-review against the required outcomes and processes set out in the Code
  • sampling of signatory self-review reports to gain an indication of compliance
  • following up with individual signatories whose self-review report indicates that further compliance monitoring or capability building is required.

Compared to last year, NZQA found the self-review reports of the signatories sampled showed improvement in the quality of evidence used to meet Code requirements. This was particularly evident in those signatories using the revised Code self-review tool which guided them to focus on their performance against Code outcomes and processes.

The findings from these monitoring activities and analysis of self-review reports, and from enquiries and engagement with signatories, has informed the ongoing development of information resources such as guidelines and workshops.

Creating the platform for the future

Further maturing the Evaluative Quality Assurance Framework

NZQA operates an integrated quality assurance system where all the components support each other. The basis of the quality assurance system is the Evaluative Quality Assurance Framework (EQAF).

This year work was initiated on refining NZQA’s regulatory approach to confirm its alignment with Government’s Expectation for Good Regulatory Practice. NZQA engaged with a range of stakeholders to seek feedback on NZQA’s role as a modern regulator. The purpose was to better understand the balance between focusing on compliance with the need for capability development for TEOs. The feedback has been used to identify and consider ways to make it easier for TEOs to do business with us. Examples include making information, such as our Private Training Establishment Registration guidelines, more user- friendly, and understanding the impact of quality assurance activities on TEOs.

Partnership with Ngā Kaitūhono

In 2008, Ngā Kaitūhono was established. A key role for Ngā Kaitūhono is to ensure NZQA’s approach to mātauranga Māori is compatible with Māori values and consistent with Māori expectations. The name of this group means ‘the connectors’, and over the years they have been invaluable in connecting NZQA with te Ao Māori.

Through the partnership with Ngā Kaitūhono, we changed the way NZQA evaluates and quality assures mātauranga Māori qualifications, programmes and education organisations. We ensure Māori values and principles are reflected in the way quality assurance occurs and that Māori can tell their stories as part of the process. We developed an evaluative framework called Te Hono o Te Kahurangi and it is now embedded in our quality assurance system. This was important for iwi and Māori, alongside knowing that NZQA did not define mātauranga Māori but had a specific role in quality assurance.

Te Hono o Te Kahurangi

Te Hono o Te Kahurangi (THoTK) is a quality assurance approach for TEOs that deliver qualifications and programmes based on mātauranga Māori or where the whole organisational approach is based on mātauranga Māori.

In 2018/19, NZQA continued its work to embed and strengthen its THoTK approach through:

  • integrating mātauranga Māori principles in NZQA’s regulatory approach
  • continuing to review the THoTK framework, including re-establishing the advisory group
  • increasing capacity of mātauranga Māori external evaluators.

This work aligns to NZQA’s Statement of Intent 2016/17-2019/20 and THoTK primary outcomes in NZQA’s Te Kōkiritanga (Māori Strategic Action Plan) 2017-2020. A key focus was expanding THoTK across a range of quality assurance activities used in the non-university tertiary education sector.

Two Guidelines were published in October 2018 – the Guidelines for assuring national consistency of graduate outcomes (Mātauranga Māori) and Guidelines for Te Hono o Te Kahurangi evaluative quality assurance.

Monitoring our progress

IndicatorMeasured by2018/19 Result
Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) experience a more relevant and easier to use evaluative quality assurance framework  Annual increase of 10 percent in the number of programmes quality assured using mātauranga Māori evaluative Quality Assurance

As at 30 June 2019, NZQA received 79 applications to be quality assured using THoTK. This compares to 147 applications for the 2017/18 financial year.

An annual increase of 10 percent has not been achieved because the number of applications is demand-driven. Since the peak in 2017/18, the number of applications received leading to these mātauranga Māori qualifications has decreased due to a number of reasons:

• relevant TEOs already have an approved programme

• programme changes are not included in the measure

• the number of Māori PTEs has decreased


7 While the result is lower than the 46 percent achieved in 2017/18, this result has increased by one percentage point from the 2009-2016 average of 40 percent, which acts as a benchmark for this measure.

8 NZQA has benchmarked TEO performance from 2009 (when EER was initiated) to 30 June 2016. For this period, 37 percent of TEOs undergoing repeat EERs were, at some point, in Category 3 or 4. Of these 75 percent moved from Category 3 or 4, either by exiting the system (losing its NZQA registration status, either by voluntarily closing or by NZQA removing it directly through statutory action) or by improving their performance to Category 1 or 2 by means of an EER. This acts as NZQA’s baseline. That is, the measure for Impact 2 (2) will have been met if more than 75 percent of TEOs that have at one point been Category 3 or 4 either exit the system of rise to Category 1 or 2. While the result is lower than the 88 percent achieved in 2017/18, this is an increase of five percentage points over the benchmark of 75 percent.

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