Derived grades quality assurance processes

Grades from school-based evidence for externally assessed standards must be:

  • derived from actual authentic evidence
  • specific to and covering all criteria of the standard
  • collected in a way that mirrors the format and conditions of the externally assessed standard
  • subject to a quality assurance process
  • collected prior to the external assessment.

How can I gather student evidence?

Student evidence can come from an assessment event such as a class test or practice examination. Evidence can only be used for a Derived Grade where the conditions of assessment allow authenticity and validity, and a quality assurance process has been followed.

How can these grades be quality assured? 

To ensure that the assessment provides authentic, valid, standard-specific evidence from which a grade can be derived schools must:

  • ensure that all grades they submit for externally examined standards have undergone a quality assurance process and
  • hold evidence of this.

If schools cannot ensure this, grades should not be reported until any issues have been resolved.

The process must assure both the evidence gathering process and the grades. As with internal assessment, this includes:

  • critiquing the assessment materials prior to use; and
  • using verification or justification to check that the grades awarded are valid.

Verification requires a suitably qualified “second pair of eyes” (where one is readily available) to verify the grades through, for example:

  • the use of a panel marking process of a practice examination, or an end of topic test held under examination conditions
  • having a colleague in that subject area check a sample of grade boundary decisions from a selection of each teacher’s assessment papers.


Justification to provide confidence in assessor consistency and accuracy of judgements with the standard where a suitably qualified “second pair of eyes” is not readily available through, for example:

  • the assessor being involved with external assessment writing or marking for the standard or subject
  • a comparison of previous year’s practice assessment grades with NZQA external assessment grades achieved for those same years middle or senior management consultation on the teacher’s use of assessment schedules, NZQA exemplars and past student answer booklets that have been used as benchmarks
  • external moderation outcomes for that subject providing confidence of the assessor’s ability to apply an assessment schedule and make consistent judgements against an assessment schedule.

Submitting grades derived for externally assessed standards to NZQA

Submit grades in your regular data files. They can be updated and amended in subsequent data submissions. You will be able to review the grades submitted through the report section of your Provider Login.  

Further information is available in the Mythbuster.

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