The application process

NZQA’s Derived Grade Team evaluates all applications based on the evidence provided by the candidate against the derived grade eligibility criteria.

Making a candidate application

The school makes the application on behalf of the candidate through the online facility. Schools are to:

  • consider the information provided within the candidate’s application against the derived grade criteria to determine if it meets the criteria, to support or not support the application, as appropriate
  • ensure sufficient detail is provided in the on-line application to enable NZQA’s Derived Grade Team to evaluate the application against the eligibility criteria
  • ensure only the dates identified by the medical practitioner/professional are applied for
  • provide additional information promptly when requested by the NZQA Derived Grade Team.

Essential information to include in the online application is:

  • date of the onset of the illness/injury or trauma/event
  • date of visit to medical/independent professional
  • description of diagnosis OR description of trauma/event as detailed by medical/independent professional
  • impact of impairment as indicated by medical/independent professional
  • dates candidate is impacted as detailed by medical/independent professional, evidence or as pre-approved.

Evidence requirements

Credible evidence has to be provided to support any derived grade application. The author of any supporting document needs to be independent and suitably qualified to justify the application.

Supporting evidence needs to confirm a medical diagnosis from a consultation at the time of the examinations or an event happening and its impact on the candidate. The evidence must identify the period affected (from when to when) and be gathered at the time of the examinations.

Some possible examples of evidence that can be used to support an application include:

Medical/Trauma Event/Misadventure

Hospital discharge

Report or certificate from a registered independent medical professional eg

doctor, doctor’s practice nurse
school nurse
counsellor, school counsellor
social worker

Attestation from Principal’s Nominee or Exam Centre Manager (eg that student vomited/fainted at examination.

Police or traffic report

Order of funeral service or death notice

Newspaper report of event e.g. house fire at student's home

Confirmation from Principal’s Nominee that:

student's parent died
bus student involved in accident


For events occurring in the period immediately prior to the examination, the candidate must establish that effective preparation was not possible in the week before the examination and provide evidence that they were under continuous and well-documented care by a registered professional.

If in doubt, Principal’s Nominees should contact NZQA for advice.

Declined and appeal process

NZQA reserves the right to decline derived grade applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria. The candidate and Principal’s Nominee will be informed in writing of a declined decision.

All declined applications are peer reviewed, and so reflect the decision of two members of the NZQA Derived Grade Team.

A declined decision can be appealed. The process to appeal a declined decision is provided in the notification to the candidate that their application has been declined.

A candidate can appeal a declined derived grade application within 15 days of being notified by:

  • informing NZQA, in writing, that they wish to appeal the decision using the process outlined in the decline letter, and
  • providing additional information to support the original application.

Note: The candidate appeals the declined decision to NZQA, not the school, although the candidate may come to you for assistance with this.

If the appeal is declined and a candidate is not satisfied with the outcome they can write to the Chief Executive within 15 days of the date of the notification requesting a Review of the Appeal Decision.  The Chief Executive’s decision will be final.

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