Provider categories

Provider categories following external evaluation and review


NZQA places non-university providers into one of four provider categories on the basis of external evaluation and review (EER). This includes institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga, private training establishments and government training establishments.

EER produces two NZQA statements of confidence in a tertiary education provider: one about its educational performance and the other about its organisational self-assessment.

Under Rule 11 of the External Evaluation and Review Rules 2013 providers are categorised as follows:

  • Category 1: two Highly Confident judgements, or a Highly Confident judgement for educational performance and a Highly Confident/Confident judgement for self-assessment capability
  • Category 2: two Confident judgements, or a Highly Confident judgement in self-assessment and a Confident judgment in educational performance
  • Category 3: any Not Yet Confident judgement
  • Category 4: any Not Confident judgement.

NZQA notifies each provider of their category immediately following the final sign-off of the EER report. The provider category for each provider is published on the NZQA website along with its EER report.

Provider categories are aimed at improving performance

Improving educational quality and performance is an integral driver for the evaluative approach to quality assurance. NZQA applies significant quality assurance incentives on the basis of the provider categories in order to support tertiary education providers to make improvements.

This approach is possible in an environment of mutual trust and accountability between NZQA as a government agency, and the tertiary education sector. The expectation is that NZQA is able to invest high levels of trust in the information provided by high-performing tertiary education providers.

Where EER demonstrates high levels of confidence in educational quality, providers will have greater freedom, lower compliance costs and performance-responsive quality assurance processes. For providers who have not demonstrated educational quality, or where there are quality concerns, NZQA increases the level of external scrutiny and limits the provider’s activities until there is evidence of improvement.

Changes to provider categories

Where NZQA has quality concerns about a provider in Category 1 or 2, its category could be reviewed through NZQA requiring more frequent or early EER of the provider. The statements of confidence from the most recent EER will determine the provider’s category.

If the provider category changes as a result of an EER, the provider will be notified of the change to its category and any incentives that had been gained will be revoked.

Also, NZQA will conduct a compliance investigation to establish whether the concerns are systemic, and whether the provider is compliant with the requirements of the Education Act 1989.

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