Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: NZQA extends bonus credit scheme to all students

By Dubby Henry

Education officials have heard the pleas of students across New Zealand who were due to miss out on a NCEA bonus credit scheme after coming out of lockdown four days too early.

Students who have spent 20 school days in alert level 3 or 4 this year are entitled to "learning recognition credits", to the tune of one extra credit for every five they earn in NCEA.

Requirements to achieve University Entrance, and merit and excellence certificate endorsements, would also be lowered for those students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced last week.

But high school students and teachers outside Auckland feared they would be left "high and dry" because they went back to school today - having spent only 16 days in lockdown.

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More than 7000 people signed a petition calling for the scheme to apply to all students.

Now the NZ Qualifications Authority has confirmed students outside Auckland will also be eligible for a more generous marking scheme.

NZQA chief executive Grant Klinkum said the students who had spent fewer than 20 days in lockdown would get one learning recognition credit for every five achieved through assessment - but they would be capped at eight bonus credits for NCEA Level 1, and six bonus credits for Levels 2 and 3.

That's fewer than those who hit the 20-day threshold - they are capped at 10 bonus credits in NCEA Level 1, or eight in Levels 2 and 3.

"Although students in Auckland continue to do the hard mahi in lockdown, those who returned to alert level 2 this week have also been significantly impacted by the loss of 16 days of classroom learning time," Klinkum said.

"The lower cap reflects the shorter amount of time spent away from school."

Only students who reached the 20-day threshold would be eligible for the changes to endorsements and University Entrance, NZQA said. In 2020, those changes didn't apply until 32 school days spent in alert level 3 or 4.

Klinkum said schools that had faced additional significant disruption outside the school's control could apply the full NCEA settings if the total time away was more than 20 days.

He gave the example of schools where students could not go on site due to external health or safety advice or directives - likely to include schools such as Hutt Valley High School, where Years 12 and 13 have been forced to learn from home due to black mould in classrooms.

"This recognises the compounding impact of natural disasters and other adverse events on students who have also been affected by this year's Covid-19 lockdown," Klinkum said.


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