Secondary Schools consultation on new enrolment-based measure of NCEA attainment

Closed 09 Aug 2018

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) have developed a new enrolment-based measure of NCEA and University Entrance attainment.  This will replace NZQA’s current roll-based and participation-based measures.  The new enrolment-based measure will be in use from January 2019 by NZQA for public reporting on national NCEA and UE attainment, and by schools for planning and evaluation purposes.

NZQA and MoE introduced the new measure to schools from 28 June 2018.  We gave schools access to the new statistics reports and an information pack to help them understand how the new measure works.  We also contacted schools to discuss how the new measure applied in their school context.

From 28 June to 9 August 2018, schools were invited to provide feedback via an online survey.  Specifically, schools were asked how long students should be attending a school before they were counted in that school’s statistics.  The proposed time was 70 days.  Schools were also asked about the usability of the new reports and for any other feedback.

Consultation feedback

Below is a summary of the consultation feedback received.  See the summary of consultation responses and questions for detail on the survey responses, types of questions received, and a copy of the online survey questions.

Number of submissions

NZQA received 25 responses to the online survey.  Responses came from Principals, Principal’s Nominees and school Senior Managers.  NZQA also received 19 emails from schools seeking clarification on specific issues.  In addition, NZQA and MoE received feedback from Principals at regional meetings, where the measure was presented and discussed.

Key themes raised by schools

The feedback received from schools could be categorised into a number of key themes outlined below:

Having a single measure and retiring the participation-based measure of attainment

This was positively received by the majority. 

There is agreement that it is confusing to have two measures.  However, some schools commented that participation-based reporting when used appropriately can give a truer measure of what a school has accomplished for those students who are on an NCEA pathway.

Some schools that offer non-NZQF qualifications also raised concerns about the difficulty in comparing their school’s NCEA attainment with that of schools that offer only NCEA if the participation-based measure is no longer published.

70 day attendance rule for inclusion of students in a school’s statistics – there was broad support for the principle of only including students in a school’s statistics after they are enrolled at the school for a defined period of time.  Of the 25 schools who responded to the survey, 40% (10 of 25) agreed or strongly agreed that 70 days (roughly one term) provides sufficient time for the school to engage a student in an assessment programme.  Some schools commented that a longer period would be more reasonable and suggested 90 days or two terms.

Overall, feedback and discussion at the regional meetings with Principals was mixed as to whether 70 days was a reasonable time-period.

Inclusion of students in school statistics who are not following typical NCEA attainment pathways – there was strong feedback from the survey and from interactions with schools against the inclusion of alternative education, Teen Parent Unit (TPU) students and ORS-funded students in the enrolment-based measure.  They noted these are usually students who are not following typical NCEA attainment pathways.  They commented that any measure should recognise that many schools enrol and support these students.

Principals also raised concerns about the way school NCEA attainment figures are published in the media without context or explanation for why attainment rates may be different between schools. This has been an ongoing concern which predates consultation.   

Presentation of data in the new reports – there was positive feedback from most respondents about the way the school and student level data are presented and made accessible via the interactive reports NZQA has produced for schools.  Most agreed or strongly agreed that the reports were easy to navigate and use, presented the data transparently and allowed schools to access the information they needed for their reporting requirements.


NZQA and MoE response

Decisions following feedback

Host schools raised concerns about the inclusion of Teen Parent Unit students on the basis that they take enrolments from across their region. While they are not schools in their own right, TPUs have their own unique identifier in our systems.  This prompted us to revisit the decision to include these students in their host school’s statistics.  TPU students will no longer be included by default in their host school’s statistics and will be treated as a separate school for this statistical purpose.  Host schools with attached TPUs will be able to report separately on the attainment of TPU students.  This is consistent with the Ministry’s approach with the School Leaver’s measure.

The 70 day attendance rule for inclusion of students in a school’s statistics was the focus of the consultation with schools.  Seventy days was selected because it is roughly equivalent to one term which both NZQA and Ministry of Education considered a fair and reasonable period for a school to engage a learner in learning and assessment, and therefore to be included in that school’s statistics.  It is aligned with the Ministry’s School Leaver measure.  We appreciate the concerns of schools about the 70 day time period.  However, on balance, and considering all the feedback received, a 70 day time period for inclusion of a student in a school’s statistics is considered fair and reasonable.

While we did not consult on the inclusion of Alternative Education and ORS-funded students in a school’s attainment statistics, we did receive considerable feedback from some schools on this issue.  We appreciate these schools’ concerns however the measure is an inclusive one, which captures all enrolled students including Alternative Education and ORS-funded students.   Therefore, there will be no change to the inclusion of students on non-NCEA pathways in the calculation of the enrolling school’s attainment statistics.

NZQA is looking at how we can provide better information in support of our published statistical collections to assist in the understanding of data.  For example, many schools have a significant involvement in providing specialist support for students not on an NCEA pathway (this may include students with special needs support, alternative education).  There are some schools that offer non NZQF qualifications (such as the International Baccalaureate, Cambridge or Accelerated Christian Education) in addition to NCEA, and the supporting information could address this also. 

Schools can customise their reporting for their boards of trustees and communities through the application of a variety of filters to include or exclude student populations, e.g. international students, adult students.  In the student lists schools have access to, schools can also filter for only those students who are entered for sufficient credits to attain an NCEA qualification.

Next steps

The link to the new statistics reports has been removed so we can update the reports with the changes following consultation.

The modified reports will be made available to schools by 11 October 2018.  Updated guidance material about the new measure will be made available at that time.

Schools will have access to both the current roll-based and participation-based reports and the new enrolment-based reports until the end of 2018.  When the first release of their 2018 attainment statistics is made available to schools in January 2019, the reports will use the enrolment-based measure, and the current roll-based and participation-based reports will be archived.

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us