September 2020
- 23 Sep 2020

Guidance for online assessment

We have developed some guidance for tertiary education organisations (TEOs) that are  delivering distance, offshore or online programmes or training schemes.

The guidance is mainly for TEOs that are moving into online delivery for the first time. 

The key messages for online assessment are:

  • Adhere to the principles of quality assessment. They apply in all delivery modes.
  • Design online assessments that link directly to the learning outcomes. As much as possible, mirror the tasks that learners will encounter in their professional lives.
  • Reconfigure group work assessments, and closed-book tests and examinations.
  • Put robust measures in place to minimise cheating.

You can find the document at: Online assessment: guidance for providers.

Support materials for distance assessment

Evidence required for unit standards

In response to the impact of COVID-19 on assessment, we have published distance assessment support materials for some unit standards of which we are the standard-setting body.

These resources are available at: COVID-19: Distance assessment support materials.

Advisory documents on distance online delivery; writing learning outcomes

We have published two support documents on online delivery and writing learning outcomes. The documents provide general support and advice to TEOs delivering programmes, training schemes, degrees and micro-credentials to domestic and international students (onshore and/or offshore).      

The resources outline NZQA expectations and good practices regarding:

 If you want to share any comments and/or observations relating to the two documents, please email Approvals_Accreditation@nzqa.govt.nz.

Keep up to date on COVID-19 information

The NZQA website provides regular updates on the response to COVID-19 as it affects the education community. These include relief measures we have put in place to support providers impacted by COVID-19.

Recent updates include:

  • Inactive PTEs33
  • Flexible payment plans
  • Extending temporary approval for online delivery until 31 December
  • Quality assurance activities under different alert levels
  • International education recovery plan and funding for English language providers and PTEs.

See Information regarding COVID-19.

For further, ongoing information, see the COVID-19 pages on the websites of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.

Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the international Code)

Pastoral care of international students remaining in New Zealand over summer break

Education providers who are signatories to the international Code are advised to plan for the fact that, due to COVID-19 impacts, a higher volume of international students may choose to remain in New Zealand during the 2020/21 summer break so they can re-enrol for the 2021 academic year.

If an international student remains enrolled with an education provider over the summer, the international Code applies as usual. It is particularly important to ensure that international students have the contact details of at least one staff member who can be contacted at all times (24 hours a day, seven days a week) by international students in an emergency.

If an international student’s enrolment period with an education provider is ending for the summer break, the specific compliance requirements to consider include:

  • Ensuring that the enrolment period is clearly defined in the student’s enrolment contract and that all relevant parties (i.e. provider, student, parent/legal guardian) are clear that the provider’s responsibility for pastoral care under the Code is for the duration of enrolment
  • Ensuring a student is covered by Code-compliant insurance (including for travel to, from, and within New Zealand, even after enrolment has ended)
  • For students aged under 18 years, ensuring that a transfer of care plan is in place as required by the Code. Parents/legal guardians must be notified of each plan.

NZQA is keen to hear of potential issues in advance so we can provide tailored advice.

Please contact the Code team should you have any concerns or questions regarding this matter, at 0800 697 296 or Code.Enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz.

Annual self-review attestation due date

All signatories to the attest annually that they have completed their self-review of performance against the international Code. This attestation is usually due in October each year. 

We have deferred the international Code self-review attestation date to 1 December 2020. This recognises the significant impact COVID-19 has had on international Code signatories. 

This change is also reflected at Annual self-review and attestation.

QAD on the web

Changes to guidelines for programme approval

We have expanded the guidelines for programme approval to provide more information on making changes to programmes (both Type 1 and Type 2).

See Making changes to programmes: Guidelines for applying for approval of programmes leading to New Zealand qualifications at Levels 1-6 on the NZQF and the accreditation of organisations to provide approved programmes (PDF, 806KB).

Revised 2021 EER schedule

The schedule for external evaluation and reviews for 2021 has been extensively revised to take account of the interruption in EERs due to COVID-19. The revised schedule can be found at External evaluation and review schedule for 2021.


Revised due date for PTE annual returns

We have reviewed the open-ended extension previously granted to some PTEs for submitting their annual returns due to the COVID-19 lockdown. PTEs with these extensions are now required to submit their returns by 30 September 2020.

The extension was for PTEs with the following financial year-ends:

  • 31 October 2019
  • 30 November 2019
  • 31 December 2019
  • 31 January 2020

The returns are:

(PTEs with a financial year end of 31 March 2020 had to submit their returns by the original due date of 31 August 2020. If you have not been able to meet this deadline, please email qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz to seek an extension.)

Ensure student fee protection is aligned with your delivery

We advise PTEs to check that the amount protected in their student fee protection trust matches the remaining course duration for each student. COVID-19 may have affected delivery and therefore trust arrangements.

For more information see Private training establishments and student fees.

NZQA processes

Cut-off dates for submitting applications in 2020

Below is the cut-off date for submitting applications for programme approval and/or accreditation or programme change (Type 2 change) for programmes to be delivered in Semester One, 2021.


Final date for submission to NZQA

Sub-degree programme approval and/or accreditation applications; or Type 2 programme changes to approved programmes (levels 1-6 and Level 7 Diplomas)

Friday 9 October 2020

These timelines do not apply when an application is subject to a Request for Further Information.

The cut-off date is intended to allow enough time for providers to prepare and market for the incoming academic year, as well as plan and implement the new or changed programmes.

You can apply at any time. If you are planning a commencement date in early 2021, please submit your application before the relevant final date.

If you have any questions about programme applications, contact the Approvals and Accreditation team.

Permanent delivery sites – what to apply for

If you are a category 1 or 2 TEO intending to deliver a programme at levels 1-6 or a Level 7 Diploma, please complete the Permanent Delivery Site Approval Form.

If you are a category 1 or 2 TEO intending to deliver a degree (levels 7-10) at a new delivery site, please submit a Type 2 change application to NZQA for that degree programme.

The NZQA website has information about approving delivery sites: see Approval of delivery sites.

If you have any questions about programme applications, contact Approvals and Accreditation.

Keeping your registration status current

PTEs must deliver at least one approved programme or training scheme within a 12-month period to avoid their registration lapsing.

If you anticipate not providing a programme or training scheme for 12 months or more, you can apply for an extension of time to stop your registration lapsing.

Apply for this extension before the 12 months of non-usage ends by emailing qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

For more information about PTE registration see:

Coming up this quarter

Send NZQA your…


By when?

Annual statutory declaration

Different forms for PTEs and TEIs

TEOs with a financial year-end of:
- 31 October 2019
- 30 November 2019
- 31 December 2019
- 31 January 2020

30 September 2020 – extension due to COVID-19 lockdown

Sub-degree programme approval and/or accreditation applications; or Type 2 programme changes to approved programmes (levels 1-6 and Level 7 Diplomas)

All TEOs

9 October 2020

Annual statutory declaration

Different forms for PTEs and TEIs

TEOs with a financial year-end of 30 June 2020

30 November 2020

Independent Assurance Practitioner's Review Report or
Auditor's Report

PTEs with a financial year-end of 30 June 2020

30 November 2020

Audit of Student Fee Protection arrangements

PTEs with a financial year-end of 30 June 2020
TEOs not exempt

30 November 2020

Code of Practice self-review attestation (international students)

All signatories to the Code of Practice (international)

1 December 2020

Quarterly student fee protection attestation

Quarter ending 30 November 2020

TEOs not exempt:
- static trusts
- bank bond trusts
Not required for standard trusts

To trustee by 7 December 2020
To NZQA by 14 December 2020

Fit and Proper Person and Conflict of Interest declarations

Submit a new or amended declaration:
- before any new governing member starts
- if an existing governing member has a new or changed conflict of interest
- if an existing governing member has a change in their fit and proper person status

See Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020 for the definition of governing member

PTEs only:
- applying for registration
- registered PTEs

As needed

Forwarding information and queries

Forward the above documents and any queries to: qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

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