How does EER begin?

This section covers the way EERs are scheduled, and the people who make up the EER team.

2.1 Scheduling an EER

Standard EERs

Once a TEO enters the system, it must participate in EER. The first EER will usually be scheduled one year after the ‘validation visit’. Subsequent EERs occur no later than four years apart.

The frequency of subsequent evaluation visits depends on the category assigned to each TEO following an EER.

Category Next EER
Category 1 or 2 Usually within 3-4 years
Category 3 or 4 Must be within 6-24 months

NZQA publishes its annual EER schedule on the NZQA website well in advance. In principle, NZQA expects every TEO to be ready to participate in EER at any time.

See the 2022 EER schedule

NZQA-requested EERs

If NZQA has serious concerns about a TEO, it may call an early EER. When this happens, NZQA will state in writing what these concerns are. A TEO will be given a minimum of four weeks’ notice to prepare for such an EER.

TEO-requested EER

A TEO can ask NZQA to carry out an early EER at any time. Common reasons include:

  • Change of ownership
  • Significant changes in programmes.
  • The TEO’s belief that it is performing much better than at the date of its last EER.

NZQA will always try to accommodate such requests within its schedule, depending on available resources.

In deciding to request an early EER, TEOs are strongly advised to exercise due diligence. If an EER is undertaken before key evidence of improvements has become fully available, then the EER outcome may prove disappointing.

Deferring an EER

In exceptional circumstances, a TEO can request that a scheduled EER be deferred. Relevant factors include:

  • Acts of God (earthquake, floods, death)
  • Complete relocation of premises
  • No learners available over the inquiry period.

NZQA does not consider ‘ordinary’ complications (e.g. absence of the owner on a marketing trip) to be grounds for deferral.

If a TEO is due for an EER but not currently delivering any approved programmes or training schemes, then it should contact NZQA immediately.

Deferral requests should be sent to NZQA will promptly reply, explaining our reasons for granting or declining the TEO’s request.

2.2 EER teams

The mixed model

EER team members are drawn from NZQA staff, independent evaluators and subject specialists.

All EER evaluators are fully trained in EER policies and practices. Their performance is regularly monitored. Every EER has a minimum of two evaluators. More are added for larger EERs.

Before an evaluator is assigned to an EER, they are required to confirm that no unmanaged conflict of interest is involved.

If a TEO believes that there is still an unmanaged conflict of interest on the part of any evaluator, the TEO should contact If NZQA agrees with your concern, the evaluator will be replaced. As a rule, this is the only grounds for removing an evaluator from an EER. 


For professional development reasons, NZQA will sometimes assign an observer to an EER team. In such cases, the TEO will always be notified in advance.

An observer is there to study the process, not to participate in the EER. They may take notes, but these do not affect the EER ratings or statements of confidence. Any notes taken are considered commercially sensitive and are not shared with third parties.

A TEO may choose to ask any of its stakeholders to observe the EER. NZQA expects to be notified in advance whenever this occurs, as a courtesy.

Quality controls

All EER team members are required to abide by NZQA’s standards of professional conduct.

If a TEO has concerns about the conduct of a team member, the matter should be raised directly with the Lead Evaluator. Usually, the concerns can be quickly resolved.

If a TEO has concerns with the Lead Evaluator, the matter should be raised directly with the Manager, Evaluation. Again, problems will most often be satisfactorily resolved through prompt discussion.

If a TEO has followed these steps, but remains unsatisfied with the outcome, it may choose to lodge a written complaint. The TEO should contact the Manager, Evaluation who will provide guidance on NZQA’s formal complaint process.

Whenever a formal complaint is being investigated, NZQA will ensure that the TEO’s rights are protected. For example, if the complaint relates to the conduct of an evaluator, they will be stood down from the case until the investigation has been completed.

Links to other sections of the guide

What is external evaluation and review?

How are EERs planned?

How does EER enquiry occur?

How are EER judgements made?

How are EER findings reported?

What happens next?

The process of external evaluation and review

Back to External evaluation and review

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