What can be applied for

Temporary illness, injury, trauma or serious event

A temporary illness, injury, trauma or serious event occurs immediately prior (within a week of the candidates first examination) or during the examination. Independent professional evidence is required confirming that this had a significant clear and observable detrimental effect on performance or attendance in the examination and was beyond the candidate's control.

A temporary illness, injury, trauma or serious event could include:

  • COVID-related isolation
  • gastroenteritis
  • notifiable disease, eg measles, whooping cough
  • hospitalisation of a parent with a serious medical condition
  • death of a grandparent
  • flooding causes a bridge closure with no alternative route for candidates to get to their examination

The following are not normally considered grounds for approving a derived grade

  • stress or anxiety due to having to sit examinations
  • minor ailments, such as a cold or headache
  • self-interest absence or parents being on holiday
  • day-to-day family or school based disturbances
  • death or euthanasia of a pet
  • minor traffic incidents.

Significant conditions or events occurring after 1 October

Significant conditions or events occurring after 1 October which have a significant and observable detrimental effect on the candidates performance and/or attendance, might be accepted. The application must clearly state that effective preparation was not possible and provide evidence, gathered at the time of the examinations, that the student was under continuous and well-documented care by a registered or independent professional.

Significant conditions or events could include:

  • a life-threatening illness e.g. meningitis diagnosis
  • accident causing a significant concussion diagnosis
  • hospitalisation for a serious medical condition
  • death of close family member e.g. parent/sibling.

In exceptional circumstances, a significant event after 1 September that impacts on a candidate’s performance and which cannot be managed through special assessment conditions or adjusting a candidate’s assessment programme may be considered. Please contact the Derived Grade Team.

Portfolio subjects

Candidates who, after 1 October, suffers a temporary impairment including a physical injury or an emotional trauma, which has impaired their preparation for the submission can apply for a derived grade. Derived grades are available for the following portfolio submissions:

  • Level 1, 2 and 3 Design and Visual Communication
  • Level 3 Education for Sustainability
  • Level 1, 2 and 3 Technology
  • Level 3 Visual Arts

The evidence produced throughout the year must be submitted, as required in the subject’s submission instructions on the Subject Resources pages on the NZQA website. Note: Some aspect of the portfolio must provide evidence of the candidate’s actual level of performance, prior to the impairment.

Outbreak of notifiable disease such as COVID-19, measles, mumps or whooping cough

When a school or region is experiencing an outbreak of a highly infectious viral disease the safety of other students, teachers and examination staff must be ensured.

Students should contact their school immediately if they suspect they have the disease or been in contact with an infected person. Where a student is excluded from school and is unable to attend an examination because they have the disease, or have been in contact with someone who has and are not immune through vaccination, they can apply through their school for a derived grade. Take advice from the Ministry of Health.

Injuries to arm or hand prior to a candidate's examination

Where the injury occurs:

after 1 October:

  • the candidate should apply for a derived grade
  • if the candidate chooses to sit the examination, their best result will be reported
  • special assessment conditions, such as extra time or a writer/computer are not usually available because of insufficient time to practice working with a writer/computer

prior to 1 October:

  • this must be managed through Special Assessment Conditions
  • an application for Writer/Computer or Extra Time must be made
  • the candidate will need to practice completing work using the writer/computer
  • a derived grade is not available.

Note: A candidate with special assessment condition entitlement to mitigate a hand or arm injury cannot also be granted a derived grade for the same injury.

Long-term illness, ongoing conditions or trauma

Any illness, chronic condition or trauma being present and/or managed that has been affecting a candidate prior to 1 October is regarded as ongoing and does not meet the eligibility criteria.

Candidates with a long-term illness, condition or trauma can only be approved if there is a documented current and significant change to the managed condition/illness. The change must occur immediately (within a week) prior to the examinations or during the examinations. The change must be documented by a consultation with a registered professional at the time of the examinations.

Examples of long-term and ongoing illnesses and conditions include:

  • long COVID
  • concussion symptoms
  • physical disability
  • anxiety and depression
  • epilepsy
  • anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders
  • chronic relapsing conditions (e.g. glandular fever, Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME))
  • ongoing personal trauma.

These conditions are usually managed by modifying the candidate’s assessment programme to support them get well and/or requesting special assessment conditions to mitigate the condition.

A candidate with special assessment condition entitlement to mitigate a condition cannot also be granted a derived grade for the same condition.

Candidates suffering from long-term or recurring condition must be made aware that:

  • they may not meet the derived grade eligibility criteria
  • their results may be affected because the ongoing effects of their condition have compromised their performance throughout the year.

Managing the assessment programmes of unwell students

For students suffering from an on-going illness, condition or trauma the primary focus should be on providing the best possible conditions for the student to get well or recover. This could include:

  • reducing external assessment pressure by modifying a candidate’s assessment programme to include fewer external examinations.
  • for a candidate with an ongoing health issue that compromises their attendance at school an internal assessment programme that is individualized to support them to meet their qualification goal.

National Representation Selection

To be eligible a student must have been selected by the registered national body to represent their country in a nationally selected team. Invitational teams and teams chosen by an application process or competition do not meet the criteria for national selection. Competition winners are only eligible if they are subsequently selected by the registered National Body in a nationally selected team.

Each year national and international events coincide with NZQA examination timetable. NZQA advises schools to encourage candidates to apply for pre-approval of derived grades when an offer of participation occurs where it clashes with the NZQA examination timetable. This will allow the candidate early notification of the outcome of their application and enable them to understand the implications of participating in the event if their application does not meet the eligibility criteria.

Applications for national representation require NZQA pre-approval and will confirm for the candidate:

  • that the activity meets the national selection eligibility criteria
  • the dates within which the candidate is eligible for a derived grade.

The following evidence is required with the pre-approval application form:

  • the letter from the national body verifying national selection for the event or team
  • the dates of the competition/event
  • a copy of the planned travel arrangements.

NZQA will allow for reasonable travelling time to and from the event. However, if a candidate chooses to go early or stay on for additional touring or a holiday, the examinations missed in this time do not meet the criteria for a derived grade.

The school needs to hold evidence of actual participation (e.g. photo, result notice). The Principal’s Nominee should collect this evidence as soon as possible after the activity.

Pre- approval is required. Applications cannot be approved after the event has taken place.

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