Information for candidates

A derived grade is a grade reported by a school, based on pre-existing authentic, standard specific evidence - in other words, work produced by the student during the year.

Who can apply for a derived grade?

You can apply for a derived grade if for an approved reason you:

  • have been unable to attend an examination
  • attended an NZQA external examination session and believe your performance was significantly affected
  • are unable to submit a completed portfolio (Design and Visual Communication, Technology, Level 3 Education for Sustainability or Level 3 Visual Arts)
  • have been selected for national representation in a sport or approved activity. This must be pre-approved by NZQA. A completed derived grade pre-approval application form (DOCX, 81KB) must be submitted to NZQA by 1 November.

What will you need to do?

You will need to:

  • Download a derived grade application form (DOC, 250KB) or collect one from your school and get it filled in.
  • You will need to get your doctor, counsellor or relevant agency to fill in their part of your application form. (The school can't process your application without the appropriate sections being completed.)
  • Take your application to your school’s Principal's Nominee. The completed application forms must be given to your Principal's Nominee by 5 pm on  4 December 2019.  Check the 2019 examination timetable.

The school can only submit a grade for you if it holds authentic, standard-specific evidence. The school will use your results from work such as school practice exams or end of topic tests.


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

you must submit the evidence you have produced through the year as instructed in the submission instructions. Check with your school's Principal's Nominee if you are unsure about this.

National Representation

Applications for national representation require completion of a derived grade pre-approval application form (DOCX, 81KB) to be submitted before the start of exams.  If pre-approval is granted, an online application must still be completed.

Then what happens?

If your application is approved, the derived grade(s) will appear on your results notice when these are released in January. They won't be labelled as derived grades. The grade you get will be the better of the derived grade reported by the school, or the one you achieved in the external assessment

You will be informed in writing by NZQA if your application has been declined.

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