Changes to NCEA address impact of COVID-19

A two-step process to changes to NCEA this year will help mitigate the impact of disruptions to teaching and learning as a result of COVID-19, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said today.

The well-being of students is a priority, and these changes recognise that disruption to learning and assessment may affect students’ ability to attain NCEA, Chris Hipkins said.

The changes, effective immediately, are to:

  • delay external NCEA examinations and New Zealand Scholarship examinations so they start on 16 November instead of 6 November, allowing another week for teaching, learning and internal assessment in Term Four,
  • extend the submission date for subjects which require students to submit a portfolio, such as Design and Visual Communication, from 28 October to 12 November 2020, giving students more time to prepare, and
  • waive the requirement for NZQA verification of Level 1 and 2 Visual Arts portfolios, meaning students will have more time to complete their portfolios and teachers will have more time for marking.

“The Ministry of Education and NZQA will also work with my NCEA Professional Advisory Group to consider how to address equity issues arising from the disruption,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We need to ensure that students who reach the level of the graduate profile described in the NCEAs will be awarded their qualification this year without being adversely affected by disruption to their teaching and learning caused by COVID-19.

“It’s important to get the balance right. Any further changes will need to be carefully considered, so the credibility and reputation of the qualification are maintained and allow those who leave school after this year to continue with tertiary study, vocational education or employment.

“This will need rigorous analysis, which can be done quickly, to ensure the confidence of the sector in the decisions that are made.”   

NZQA is also consulting with Universities New Zealand on whether there should be changes to the requirements for University Entrance this year, in light of COVID-19’s impact.

“We recognise that students, teachers and schools are affected in different ways by COVID-19, and it’s important to provide a fair opportunity for students to achieve NCEA this year,” Chris Hipkins said.

The Ministry has been working to provide a range of learning resources and technology services to support senior secondary students amid the disruption. This includes distributing Internet-enabled devices and hard copy NCEA learning resources, and facilitating Internet connectivity to students without access to digital technologies at home.

NZQA has also provided detailed guidance to support schools as they adapt to delivering valid distance teaching, learning and assessment amid the disruption.