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PPTA seeks urgent meeting with NZQA about exam issues

PPTA Te Wehengarua is seeking an urgent meeting with the NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to express teachers’ serious concerns about the issues with this year’s exams so far.

“Running exams is NZQA’s core business and the issues being experienced by students around the motu are unacceptable,” says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua acting president.

“Last week there were issues with the literacy and numeracy corequisite assessments which involved: widespread problems logging in and accessing the assessment master platform due to high demand; students being unable to save amended answers; students trying for up to two hours to log in; and connectivity issues – having to wait on hold with NZQA for up to an hour and a half while students also wanted to continue with their assessments.”

In a letter sent today to NZQA, Chris Abercrombie said PPTA Te Wehengarau representatives at a Secondary Qualifications Advisory Group meeting on Wednesday (8 November) were given assurances that the digital platform would have capacity and would be able to cope. “However, we are far from feeling reassured and we request an urgent meeting with you to hear your response.

“Today with the NCEA Level 1 English external assessment, the issues we have heard about so far include: students having logged in in plenty of time getting booted out; students getting booted out and losing planning they started for their essays; and students not being able to log in at all.

“Hearing that NZQA has responded that the issues are due to ‘unprecedented demand’, or the technology vendor not meeting expectations is simply not good enough.

These students have all been enrolled in these assessments for some months and it is incomprehensible that NZQA has not been aware of, and prepared for, the impact that many logins at the same time would have on the system.

These concerns have been well signalled by us throughout the pilots. With student numbers due to increase exponentially next year with the new Level 1 standards, to say we are disappointed is very much an understatement.”

“Students deserve better – as do teachers who have done all they can to help students prepare for the exam, only for technical problems to arise.”

Chris Abercrombie said teachers who are principals’ nominees – teachers who have responsiblity in each school for overseeing the running of NCEA exams – are saying their workload has tripled this year because of extra demands, including technical issues with the exams.

“We are very keen to sit down with NZQA urgently and find out what can be done to sort this.”


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