New Zealand's exams start today

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Zealand's National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) external end of year exams started today. It is expected that "...136,000 people [will be] sitting exams at 405 exam centres..." Bali Haque, deputy chief executive of New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) said.

The exams will finish on December 9.

These exams are also being closely scrutinised because of the past problems with NCEA. "...there will always be some anomalies and unforeseen events, such as the traffic jams and floods of 2005," Mr Haque said, "We are confident that we are prepared for such eventualities." The problems faced in the past include when in 2005 hundreds of English papers were remarked due to a problem with the marking schedule which caused low pass rates. In 2004 a problem with the marking consistency resulted in thousands of students failing scholarships. These problems caused the government to launch an inquiry and this year the education minister, Steve Maharey, said that he is confident nothing will go wrong. Principal of Tawa college, Murray Lucas, said: "I'm quietly confident that it will go reasonably well and that there won't be the problems that were attached to the scholarship exams in 2004, and there will be a great deal more in consistency."

Over 4,500 supervisors will, of course, supervise the 555 exams.

Principals in recent weeks have criticised the NCEA for allowing students to receive credits if the answers are written in "text (SMS) abbreviations".