QA News

QA News Issue 99
- 31 May 2018

ISSN 1170-3318 (Online)


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QA News is a quarterly publication that brings together the activities from across NZQA.


Chief Executive's News

Karen Poutasi

As usual it has been a busy start of the year for NZQA, we kicked off with the results release for NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship. These results showed strong progress across the past few years in all levels, along with some impressive Māori and Pasifika student achievement. You can read about those results here, and about New Zealand Scholarship here.

The focus for our Future State work this year was set in a keynote speech I made at the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) national conference. The theme of the 2018 conference was ‘learning locally, leading globally’, I expand on this speech further in this issue.

We recently had the successful launch of Te Puāwai, an app supporting NZQA staff in their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori, you can find out more here. This supports our journey to become a bilingual organisation in te reo Māori. We hope you will join us in this journey.

Another story in this issue is our annual Top Scholar Awards ceremony. It was a remarkable event celebrating the hard work and achievements of the top students from New Zealand Scholarship. We of course had a very special guest announce the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence – I think you can guess who that guest was. The achievements of all the award winners can be found in this story.

Of course, we have been busy in our tertiary space as well – more on that in our next edition of QA News.

Ngā mihi

Dr Karen Poutasi

Whakapakari - Te anga whakamua ki te reoruatanga 2020

NZQA has an aim to be a bilingual organisation in te reo Māori by 2020. This is so we can work effectively for Māori learners and providers of education, and to celebrate te reo Māori as an official language of Aotearoa.

We have a number of programmes to support staff in their te reo journey including our new app for staff called Te Puāwai. This app supports NZQA staff in their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Te Puāwai is an educational resource for NZQA staff to learn about basic Tikanga and te reo Māori to support our day to day mahi.

Interactive features within the app include pronunciation of Māori words, maps with Māori names and iwi groups, Ngā Mātāpono (values), and principles, mihimihi/pepehā (introductions), ngā mihi (greetings), poroporoaki (farewells), whakataukī (proverbs), and waiata (songs).

TePuawaiAppOne of the app’s key features is that it allows our team to input their own personal information to create a customised pepehā. This resource is particularly helpful when leading, or being part of discussions that involve Māori communities.

The downloads of this app have been incredible, with over 2,200 downloads. This is well beyond our staff of 400. We have been pleased to see the Education Council, Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and Department of Corrections have been promoting this app to their staff.

The response from our staff, to our aim of being bilingual, has been positive and we plan to review our progress continuously, as we are on a journey.

If you would like to join us on this journey towards a bilingual future you can download Te Puāwai at the Apple and GooglePlay stores.


SPANZ sets the scene for our 2018 focus

In March NZQA Chief Executive, Dr Karen Poutasi was a keynote speaker at the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) national conference.

‘NZQA enjoys a positive working relationship with SPANZ and greatly values their support as we collectively work towards ensuring our learners can qualify for the future world’ says Dr Poutasi.

The theme of the 2018 conference was ‘learning locally, leading globally’. Dr Poutasi took the opportunity to provide the SPANZ Executive with the key work NZQA is undertaking to meet the changing needs of learners, communities and employers in a world that is global and digitally connected.SPANZ image

Dr Poutasi acknowledged that the world is rapidly changing. The future employment market will be vastly different from today’s and the education system must change if it is to prepare learners for this. She outlined how NZQA is thinking and working differently, shifting systems to adapt and trial new developments in a safe environment. As principals and school leaders, the attendees of the conference are key partners in realising this work.

The SPANZ speech is regarded as setting the scene for NZQA’s major focal points in 2018. You can read it here.


Achievement in NCEA at a high

 Late last year, almost 168,000 students sat NCEA external examinations. The NCEA results for 2017 shows that more students than ever before are achieving NCEA Level 2.

“The highlight of the results was the increase in Māori and Pasifika student achievement at Level 3 of NCEA. This shows strong progress in both Māori and Pasifika achievement” says NZQA Chief Executive Dr Karen Poutasi.

“NZQA has a Future State goal for NZQA to partner with education system agencies to support a 50% lift of Māori and Pasifika student achievement at NCEA Level 3 in one or more standards in STEM subject related areas by 2020”.

NZQA is already working alongside key stakeholders on a range of initiatives in 2018 to support our STEM target.

The 2017 NCEA results were the last year that attainment is reported using the roll-based statistical measure. NZQA and the Ministry of Education have combined information sources to develop an updated measure of NCEA attainment. NZQA will be consulting with schools during June and July on how the new measure of NCEA attainment should apply when reporting school-level NCEA attainment. This will be used to report on NCEA attainment for the 2018 school year in January 2019.

Also, this last year approximately 5,100 students took part in our Digital Pilot examinations as part of NZQA’s Digital Trials and Pilots programme. Digital Pilot examinations were available at NCEA Level 1 in English, Media Studies and Classical Studies, and in the same subjects at NCEA Level 2.

Since 2014 around 30,000 students and 75% of schools have participated in at least one Digital Trial or Pilot examination. We’ve been able to work with schools to help us learn about what works well, and where we can improve, as we scale up for more schools, students and subjects becoming available.

In 2018 our Digital Trial and Pilot examinations will focus on the same three Pilot subjects offered in 2017, with the addition of some Level 3 subjects. For the first time, we will offer a mid-year Level 1 Science Trial, designed to be specifically to be taken online. Previous digital assessments have replicated traditional paper based examinations. You can read about this more in an upcoming issue of QA News.

You can view the details of these results here, along with our Annual Report on NCEA & New Zealand Scholarship Data & Statistics found here. (PDF, 4.5MB)

New Zealand Scholarship

Regarded as the most prestigious secondary school academic award in the country, New Zealand Scholarship extends the very best students and offers financial rewards for those going on to full-time tertiary study in New Zealand.

In 2017 more than 9,800 students entered New Zealand Scholarship across 35 subjects. Of those who sat New Zealand Scholarship, 2,414 students were awarded one or more scholarships.

Students sitting New Zealand Scholarship are assessed on their ability to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation. Successful students are those who can also integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.

Top scholars receive both monetary awards and recognition. Premier and Top Subject scholars were invited to our recent Top Scholar Awards Ceremony, which you can read more about here in this edition of QA News.

To see the list of the winners of the Premier Awards, Outstanding Scholar Awards and Top Subject Scholar Awards see here on our website.

If you would like to have your say on the subjects that are offered for New Zealand Scholarship, NZQA is currently consulting on the subjects list. You can add your feedback here.


Celebrating top student's success

It was NZQA’s pleasure to host the annual Top Scholar Awards ceremony with the Minister of Education recently. This event celebrated the achievements of 36 award winners, recognising their achievements in the 2017 New Zealand Scholarship examinations.

Scholarship sets a demanding standard. Only around three per cent of students studying each subject at Level 3 are awarded Scholarship. Less than half a per cent will achieve Outstanding Scholarships.

Scholarship candidates must not only show comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject, but must also demonstrate high-level critical thinking, effective communication and sophisticated solutions. They must be able to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.

In front of their whānau and schools, award recipients were acknowledged by NZQA board member Murray Strong, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

At her first Top Scholar Awards ceremony, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described how it is an exciting time to study and take the next steps in education, as the award recipients head towards their chosen career path. She remarked on how that path will likely change as New Zealand identifies and creates new skills and careers to cater for our future 21st century needs.

She also presented the Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence. This award recognises the top-achieving student in the annual New Zealand Scholarship examinations and is the highest academic accolade a student can aim for at secondary school.

This year the recipient was former Scots College student, Andrew Tang. Andrew was a top student during his five years at secondary school and has an incredible academic record. Andrew achieved a remarkable amount at high levels in a range of sporting, cultural and community activities. You can read about Andrews accomplishments here.

We congratulate all award winners on their outstanding achievements.

All Scholars Murray Strong Prime Minister and Minister Hipkins 2 Copy

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