Provider categories

Provider Categories and quality assurance arrangements

NZQA’s quality assurance arrangements vary according to the Provider Categories. This approach acknowledges and encourages high quality while mitigating the risk of continued poor performance.

The quality assurance arrangements that vary according to provider category relate to:

  1. EER frequency
  2. The ability to make new applications
  3. External verification requirements for applications at levels 1-6
  4. Turnaround times for programme approval and accreditation applications
  5. Restrictions on the assessment and moderation of student work
  6. Frequency of financial attestations for private training establishments
  7. Use of internal English language programme entry tests.

These arrangements apply to NZQF levels 1-6 and are enabled through a mix of the NZQA rules and operational procedures.

Encouraging high quality and performance

NZQA encourages high performance through flexible quality assurance arrangements. Providers in Categories 1 and 2, where EER results are Confident or above, have less frequent EER. Providers in Category 1 also have fewer external verification requirements that allow increased freedom and flexibility to operate their business.

Standard quality assurance application processes apply to Category 2, which NZQA regards as ‘business as usual’. However, NZQA is confident in the educational performance and capability to self-assess of a Category 2 provider, so certain quality assurance requirements are extended to Category 2 providers.

Restrictions on poor performers

Providers in Category 4 are subject to restrictions on their activities that mitigate the risk of continued poor performance.

These restrictions may apply to Category 3 providers where there are outstanding quality concerns, with NZQA decisions made on a case-by-case basis.

A Category 3 or first-time category 4 provider must establish an improvement action plan that is aimed at the provider achieving levels of at least Confident. A further EER, scheduled at an appropriate time, will determine whether the actions taken have resulted in satisfactory outcomes.

If the outcomes are satisfactory, then statements of Confident or Highly Confident will result in the provider being placed in Category 1 or 2 as appropriate.

If the outcomes are unsatisfactory, then NZQA may take further regulatory action, for example, a compliance visit, imposition of conditions and/or issuing a compliance notice. In some cases this may result in NZQA removing programme approval and/or accreditation to deliver a programme, or (in the case of private training establishments) registration.

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