NZQA to review process for Māori exam paper availability

By Talisa Kupenga

NZQA will review its process to ensure translated examination papers are more available to students, after some Gisborne kura kaupapa (maori-medium) students had to sit their NCEA Level 1 Maths exam in English and no blank back-up Māori exam papers were available on-site.

“The process for requesting translated papers is reiterated to schools each year through our regular communications with them,” NZQA Deputy Chief Executive of Assessment Kristine Kilkelly says.

“Circumstances such as these are rare, however, we will review the process to ensure translated papers can be made available for students in such circumstances.”

VIDEO: Māori immersion students further disadvantaged by NCEA maths exam 

Ms Kilkelly says NZQA sent the translated papers for Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga students to Ngata College, based in Ruatoria, at the directive of the school. NZQA has since touched base to confirm where the remaining examinations will be held to arrange for the translated papers to be made available.

“Achievement at NCEA Level 1 is not a pre-requisite for further study – for example, it is possible to go straight to NCEA Level 2 without sitting NCEA Level 1,” Kilkelly says.

“Students needing achievement in Level 1 mathematics standards in order to meet numeracy requirements for the award of University Entrance have other alternatives available to them.”

Gisborne District Councillor and father of six Josh Wharehinga says he’s “heartened” by NZQA’s response, as his daughter is one of the affected students and maths is one of her strongest subjects.

“It’s a good start that they are willing to work directly with the school. The work needs to go further though.”

Wharehinga says when he went public with the issue, parents of current and former students at other schools contacted him having had the same experience not only in maths but also in other subjects.

“[Wider] discussions  [are needed] to gain the insights of other schools, kura and their governing bodies to see what other small, but really effective changes can be made to improve equity for our reo Māori students across the board.”

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga told Te Kāea it could not comment at this time as it was conducting its own internal investigation.

NZQA says it is working closely with the school to gather information and consider options for the students who were affected.