Examination Rules

Breaches of the Rules – External Assessment

For the purposes of breaches of the rules, external assessment  includes common assessment tasks, examinations and portfolio  submissions.

 NZQA may undertake an investigation into any  report of the following kinds of conduct (called “breaches of the rules”  for the purposes of this clause):

1. Failure to follow instructions 

candidate is reported to have failed to follow the instructions of NZQA, in relation to an examination, such as those of an examination supervisor, or those examination rules listed in the instructions to candidates or listed on the candidate’s admission slip.

2. Influencing/assisting/hindering candidates or disrupting the examination  

A candidate or person is reported to have influenced, assisted or  hindered candidates, or otherwise disrupted an examination whether  dishonestly, fraudulently or unwittingly.

3. Dishonest practice by a candidate 

A candidate or another person is reported to have

1. attempted to dishonestly or fraudulently access information or materials not permitted in an examination

2. access information or materials or other help from another person

3. altered returned external assessment materials prior to seeking a review or reconsideration

4. used any document or certificate produced by NZQA in a way that provides them with an advantage (pecuniary or otherwise)

5. any other practice that might result in an advantage to the candidate or other candidates.

4. Performance based authenticity 

A candidate is reported to have submitted material for assessment that  is not their own, or is not verified as their own, whether dishonestly,  fraudulently or unwittingly.

5. Impersonation 

 A person is reported to have impersonated or dishonestly claimed to be a  candidate entered for a qualification. These Rules and Procedures may  apply to the alleged impersonator, to the candidate who has allegedly  been impersonated, and to any other person who may have assisted or  concealed the impersonation.

2. Before deciding whether or not to undertake an investigation, NZQA may seek to clarify the reported conduct.

3. Where NZQA has initiated an investigation, a  candidate or other person whose reported conduct may have possibly  breached these rules and procedures will be sent a letter with copies of  any relevant evidence or reports, outlining the:

1. conduct that may have been in breach of the rules

2. rule/s that it may have breached

3. penalties that may apply if the breach were proven

and will be invited to make written comment to NZQA about their  conduct within 14 business days of the date of the written notice.

4. Investigation into a possible breach of the rules  by a candidate or other person may involve consultation with the  Principal’s Nominee from the candidate’s school or candidates’  school(s).

5. While NZQA is investigating a possible breach of  the rules it may suspend the release of all or part of the results of  any candidate who is believed to be involved, until a decision is made  as to whether or not a breach has occurred.

6. If NZQA receives written comment from the  candidate or any other person which explains their conduct and satisfies  NZQA that no breach has occurred, at any stage of the investigation,  then any results which may have been withheld will be released and no further action will be taken.


7. After the expiry of the 14 business days referred  to in paragraph c above, a decision will be made by the staff member of  NZQA (with delegated authority from the Chief Executive of NZQA) on the  reported breach of the rules, taking into consideration all of the  information received, when the staff member of NZQA reasonably believes  there is sufficient information upon which to make an informed decision.

The candidate or other person will be informed in writing of the decision by NZQA and what, if any, penalties will be imposed.

8. Where NZQA considers a formal face-to face meeting would  assist in eliciting further information, the candidate or other person  will be invited to the meeting and may bring a support person with them.  The meeting will be chaired by an independent appointee of the Chief  Executive (for example, a former school principal), and the following  procedure will apply

1. The candidate or  other person will be given reasonable notice of the date of any  face-to-face meeting, will be given copies of any relevant reports or  evidence held by NZQA, and may provide written submissions prior to the  meeting.

2. The candidate or other person may choose to provide written submissions and not attend the face-to face meeting.

3. The candidate or other person may choose to neither provide written submissions nor attend the face-to face meeting.

9. Where the candidate or other person chooses not  to accept the offer of a face-to face meeting, does not reply to the  offer or does not attend the meeting the NZQA staff member with the  delegated authority will make a decision on the breach of the rules and  on any penalties based on all the information received.

10. Where the candidate or other person attends the face-to face meeting, the independent appointee chairing the meeting will:

1. outline to the candidate or other person the reported conduct which may be in breach of the rules and the possible penalties

2. listen to, discuss  and clarify any issues in relevant submissions and views of NZQA and of  the candidate or other person in relation to the reported conduct,  breach of the rules and penalties.

11. Following the meeting with the candidate or  other person, the independent appointee will make a recommendation on  whether the reported conduct was a breach of the rules and on relevant  penalties. The recommendation will be given to the NZQA staff member  with the delegated authority who will proceed to make a decision. The  NZQA staff member will document the decision with reasons.

12. NZQA will notify the candidate or other person  of the decisions made within 14 business days of the decisions unless  there is good reason not to.

Penalties that may be imposed

13. Where the decision is that the candidate or  other person has breached the rules, the candidate or other person will  be admonished. Further penalties that may be applied include:

1. cancellation of the  results of the candidate or other person in relation to the external  assessments where breaches were found. Note that this will not include  results in other external assessments or from previous years unless  there are extenuating circumstances

2. conditions placed on  the candidate or other person when entering further external assessments  including but not limited to an agreed code of conduct

3. disqualification of  the candidate or other person from entering further external assessment  for national qualifications in specified assessments or for a specified  period of time.

14. In a case of impersonation, the candidate/s  and/or other person/s who assisted or concealed the impersonation will  be penalised.

15. If, in a case of assisting, hindering or  influencing candidates, the person is an employee of a school, in  addition to any other penalties imposed on the person, that school’s  accreditation to assess against specified standards may be withdrawn.

16. NZQA may refer any breach of the rules to  relevant authorities (including the police where criminal behaviour is  believed to have occurred) for consideration by those authorities.

Appeal of Decisions

17. Where a candidate or other person believes a decision was  incorrect they may apply in writing to the Manager of Secondary  Assessment and Liaison for an appeal of any decision that the candidate  or other person breached the rules, including any penalties imposed,  within 14 business days of the date the notification of the decision was  sent to the candidate or other person.

18. The request for an appeal must include the reasons why the  candidate or other person believes the decision is incorrect. The  candidate or other person will be notified of the manager’s decision  within 20 business days of the receipt of the appeal request.


4.5.1 Review of a Breach of the Rules Decision

1. A candidate or any other person who has been  found to have breached the Rules and Procedures may apply in writing to  the Chief Executive for a review of the decision (including any  penalties imposed) within 14 business days of the date of the  notification of the appeal decision that was sent to the candidate or  other person.

2. The request for review must include the reasons  why the candidate or other person believes the decision should be  further reviewed, and whether or not the candidate wishes to be heard in  person (including by telephone conference).

3. A review is to confirm whether it is more likely than not that the breach of the rules of external assessment occurred.

4. The Chief Executive will ensure that all involved  parties have a copy of any new information, and allow sufficient time  for comment on that information.

5. Where a candidate or other person does not wish  to be heard in person, the Chief Executive may proceed to make a  decision on the basis of the information received.

6. Where a candidate or other person wishes to be  heard in person, it will be at their own expense and the Chief Executive  will correspond with the candidate or other person to set a mutually  convenient date for the review. If, after reasonable attempts, a  mutually convenient date cannot be found, the Chief Executive will set  and specify a date for the review. The meeting will be held at NZQA  offices in Wellington.

7. The Chief Executive may adopt any procedure the  Chief Executive believes reasonable in the circumstances, for the review  and for hearing a candidate or other person who wishes to be heard.

8. In carrying out the review and making a decision  the Chief Executive may, at the Chief Executive’s discretion, and  whether or not a hearing has been requested, do any or all of the  following:

1. ask for further relevant information from either party

2. receive any new  information from either party that is relevant, whether or not the Chief  Executive has asked for that information

3. obtain any advice or  expertise from third parties that may assist in the decision, which for  the avoidance of doubt may include handwriting or scientific advice or  expertise

4. allow sufficient time for parties to consider any new information, advice or expertise

5. decide to refer the matter back to the original decision-maker for reconsideration

6. confirm or change any decision.

9. Where a candidate or other person has applied for  a review of the decision and the decision being reviewed involves the  penalty of disqualification from entering further externally assessed  standards, pending the outcome of the review the candidate or other  person may make an entry for the externally assessed standards in any  year to which the disqualification would otherwise apply. If the review  confirms the original decision, any penalties will be reapplied, and the  candidate’s entry may be withdrawn.

10. The Chief Executive’s decision is final.

Derived Grades

A derived grade will be considered if for any legitimate reason you cannot attend an examination.

The derived grade form has three sections:

  • Section A is for you to complete. It outlines the details as to why you are applying for the derived grade.
  • If your application is for medical reasons, ask your doctor to complete Section B. Then take the form to your Principal’s Nominee. You musthave  been to a doctor within a day of each examination for which you have  applied for derived grade. It is very important that your doctor  examines you and describes the nature of your illness or impairment and  provides details concerning the date(s) of your impairment. A medical  certificate is not enough.
  • Your school will complete Section C and may then complete the application online.

If necessary, your school’s Principal’s Nominee Mr M Jackson can  discuss your application with you and your parents so that all  appropriate information is obtained. It is important that you do this  quickly. If you are unable to fill in your own form, a parent or  guardian can act on your behalf.

Your Principal’s Nominee Mr M Jackson will discuss your application  with your teacher(s) and supply information to NZQA so that a grade can  be determined for you. When you receive your results you should discuss  any queries with your school’s Principal’s Nominee.

Counsellors and Students

Many influences in life can contribute to students feeling pressured  in their work at school. Talking with someone not directly involved can  help to work through those feelings and to find ways that help achieve  the goals that students have in their life.

Professional counsellors, Mr Kirstein and Mrs Cachopa are available  for confidential counselling. Students can make an appointment at any  time with Ms Renton at Heron House in reference to careers information.

Study Sites

For up-to-date careers and tertiary course information visit:

  1. Careers Services site – www.careers.govt.nz
  2. For Australian Universities – www.curriculum.edu.au/ozjacwed/
  3. For UK Universities – www.eduationuk.org
  4. For studying in USA – www.fulbright.org.nz (all the information you need to prepare for studying in the USA. SAT information etc.).

More Information:

NCEA Pathway

If you want more information about NCEA Awards you can get assistance from Mr Jackson (email: [email protected]).

You can also find out more about these awards from the NCEA website at www.nzqa.govt.nz.

Study Websites

www.studyit.org.nz is a site where exam papers, past questions are all available.

NCEA Study Site