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Over the last week, community cases of COVID-19’s Delta variant have caused disruption to thousands of secondary school students around New Zealand and is adding to students’ anxiety. It has therefore been agreed to change dates and processes around some assessments – including end of year exams and portfolio submissions.

As the whole country is in Alert Level 4, these date changes will apply across New Zealand.

End-of-year exams and portfolios
The dates for end-of-year NCEA and NZ Scholarship exams will be delayed by two weeks and will run from Monday 22 November until Tuesday 14 December (the last day of term 4 for Springs/Waiōrea). Due dates for portfolio submissions will also be pushed back by two weeks. These two changes will give students and schools more time to prepare for the end of the year.

Schools will also not have to provide Level 1 or Level 2 Visual Arts portfolios for NZQA Verification. This also means there will be more time for students to finish their work, and for teachers to mark it.

Mathematics Common Assessment Task (MCAT) and Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko Common Assessment Tasks (DigiCATs)
NZQA are delaying the NCEA Level 1 Mathematics Common Assessment Task (MCAT) from 14 or 16 September for two weeks to 28 or 30 September. This will give students who were due to sit the MCAT more time to prepare. At this stage, the dates for DCATs remain 20 September–1 October and 18–27 October.

Other changes
As the length of time and Alert Levels becomes clearer, there are extra steps the Government may take, such as reintroducing Learning Recognition Credits or making changes to the thresholds for Endorsements and University Entrance. NZQA are working with the Minister’s Professional Advisory Group and schools so that we would be in a position to implement them, depending on the duration of Alert Levels 3 and 4.

NCEA Change Programme Pilots
We are communicating separately with pilot schools on changes to specific pilot activities.

Existing flexibility and processes at Springs/Waiōrea:
Schools already have a lot of control over how they teach and assess students working towards NCEA. The Ministry of Education and NZQA are talking with us about how teaching and learning can continue under Alert Levels 3 and 4 and how learning can be assessed while students are at home, or when they return to class.

As usual, if COVID-19 (or something else beyond their control) means a student is not able to sit their end of year exams, at Springs/Waiōrea we have the well-established Derived Grade and Unexpected Event Grade processes in place.  The key is the evidence gathering templates and recording of actual evidence of student work supporting achievement related to the standard being assessed.  We’ve got this!

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