How NZQA embarked on a transformational journey to digital assessment
It is no secret that education systems around the world are adapting and innovating their approaches to teaching and learning in a bid to keep up with the development of technology. These changes have led some awarding organisations, such as the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), to take action to modernise their exams in a way that reflects the digital world that students live, learn, and will eventually work in.
NZQA, the government entity that administers the national senior secondary school qualification in New Zealand, embarked on ‘digital assessment transformation journey’ after finding that the current paper-based examinations were not taking advantage of the 21st century approaches and that end-of-year exams were forcing students to be ready at the same point in time, irrespective of their individual learning journey.
“Students are enthusiastic supporters of digital assessment; they tell us it reflects the way they are learning and living, with technology at their fingertips.” Andrea Gray Deputy Chief Executive, NZQA
After completing multiple trials and pilots between2015 and 2018 to gain better insight into how to transition to digital assessment, NZQA began a strategic partnership with RM to realise their digital assessment vision for moving New Zealand’s national senior secondary school qualification (the National Certificate of Educational Achievement) online. In the first two years of partnership with RM Results, two thirds of the NCEA exams were delivered digitally and marked online.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, more schools in New Zealand have adopted online teaching and learning. The opportunity for students to sit NCEA exams online has been described by the New Zealand Education Minister as “a step forward to deliver a more modern and resilient education system”.
NZQA is looking to gradually replace paper-based assessments with digital assessments by expanding the range of subjects delivered online and by introducing exams that are developed specifically for digital platforms.