Derived Grade Updates

October 2019
- 17 Oct 2019

Derived Grade Update 4

Copies of Derived Grade Updates are available in the Derived Grade area of the school’s secure provider login. Updates will be published each term and complement online information.

Please ensure you pass relevant information to teachers, as appropriate.

Key Dates

14 October Derived Grade online application tool opens
By 1 November Pre-approval applications for National Representation required
By 5pm 4 December Student application form states derived grade applications for examinations and portfolios due to Principal’s Nominee. This is to allow PNs time for processing
By 5pm 6 December Derived Grade on-line application tool closes

Suggested things to do

  • Review Derived Grade Update #3 – available in the Derived Grade area of the school’s secure Provider login
  • Ensure markbooks are set up to send Unexpected Event (Emergency) Grades in your 1 November data file
  • Ensure applications submitted are fully completed (all subjects and standards) prior to submitting
  • Where a submitted application is amended for an additional illness/event complete the form to notify NZQA of the change.
  • Ensure those working with unwell students are aware of the derived grade eligibility criteria
  • Remind students and staff of the pre-approval process for students selected for national representation and make applications.
  • Ensure portfolio subject teachers follow the submission instructions where a student is applying for a derived grade.
  • Put copies of the derived grade application form at the school office for students/parents to collect.
  • Send additional requested material/information to the Derived Grade Team promptly

Topics in this Derived Grade update

Reminders from Derived Grade Update #3

  • Unexpected Event Grades replace emergency grades
  • Ensure Unexpected Event Grades are included in your 1 November file to NZQA
  • Managing student absence for Verified subjects
    • Level 1 and 2 Visual Arts – schools apply their late assessment policy
    • Level 1, 2 and 3 Verified Languages and Level 1 MCAT schools apply their missed assessment policy.
  • For portfolio submission subjects the temporary impairment must occur after 1 October.
  • School practice examination papers should ensure authentic, standard specific evidence is collected and grades are subjected to a verification or justification process.
  • Injuries to an arm or hand prior to 1 October are managed through Special Assessment Conditions, for injuries after 1 October the candidate should apply for a derived grade.

Changes to the Online Application Tool and application process for 2019

The candidate’s application should only be submitted when all the information (subjects, standards and grades) have been entered. Where changes are made to a submitted application because of an additional illness/event NZQA must be notified. A link to the form is provided in the derived grade application tool can be found below.

Derived Grade Tool- forms

Measles information

Ministry of Health advice is for anyone who suspects they may have measles to stay at home and contact their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116. Children who have not been immunised or who have an impaired immune system have been advised by the Ministry of Health to stay away from schools where measles cases have been reported.

  • A SAC application for separate accommodation is not an option.
  • There is no derived grade process for New Zealand Scholarship

Where a number of students are affected, contact your School Relationship Manager for further information.

Providing advice and/or submitting candidate applications

  • Be familiar with the derived grade guidelines and eligibility criteria to ensure accurate and realistic information is provided in response to student and parent queries
  • Submit all applications received for processing by NZQA whether you support them or not


  • signal if you support/do not support an application in the on-line tool based on your evaluation of the evidence provided. NZQA does not inform applicants that their school did not support the application

Why derived grade applications may be declined?

The NZQA Derived Grade Team evaluates the evidence provided against the derived grade eligibility criteria and guidelines. To ensure an application is approved, provide:

  • the date of the onset of the illness/injury or trauma/event
  • the date of visit to medical/independent professional
  • sufficient description of the diagnosis OR trauma/event and impact on functional ability

Applications are declined because:

  • they do not meet the eligibility criteria
  • insufficient information is provided to confirm the application meets the eligibility criteria

A candidate specifies the standards a derived grade is applied for

Candidates can choose not to apply for a derived grade for a standard where a Not Achieved grade is held. Schools should inform candidates of this choice and whether a valid grade is available.

Requests for additional information to support an application

The Derived Grade Team will request additional information where insufficient information is provided or further information is required to confirm the application meets the eligibility criteria. Please ensure the additional requested information is provided in a timely manner.

Derived grade web pages updated

The NZQA derived grade web pages have been updated to include separate information for

The updated web pages provide links to the following common questions.

The Guidelines to assist schools to provide advice give examples of situations that may meet the eligibility criteria and those that do not including:

  • situations that should be further investigated and/or advice sought from the NZQA Derived Grade Team
  • avoidable circumstances that are within a candidate’s control/responsibility or for which schools should have procedures to mitigate the impact of the event
  • family related matters and personal commitments or pursuits.

Guidelines to assist schools to provide advice- information page

Events during NCEA examinations

The following are not normally grounds for a derived grade:

  • a disturbance during a Language recording - the tape is played 3 times to mitigate a brief interruption
  • fire alarm – schools and ECMs have procedures when this happens
  • candidate contends the teacher did not cover/teach the work. This should be investigated at school level
  • digital examinations when a student has to move to paper because of a technical issue. Students are aware of this process prior to examination.

Clarification of the decline process

  • Only when an application is declined is the student (by letter) and Principal’s Nominee (by email with a copy of the student letter) informed
  • All declined applications are peer reviewed with the decision to decline made by two members of the Derived Grade Team
  • All declines and those “pending further information” are expected to be completed by 15 December
  • Declined applications will be communicated to the student and Principal’s Nominee when a decision is made. This may be before a student’s examinations are completed.


Please refer any enquiries relating to this circular to your School Relationship Manager.

School Relationship Manager
School Quality Assurance and Liaison
Telephone: 04 463 3000

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