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Report on the first week of secondary school exams

Report on the first week of the secondary school exams

The first week of national secondary school exams has seen more than 100,000 students sit two Scholarship exams, and 24 NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 exams.

The Qualifications Authority Acting Chief Executive Karen Sewell says as you would expect with an operation of this size, NZQA has dealt with numerous enquiries from schools and students over the past week.

"Our operations team has been dealing with late entry requests from schools around the country. In the past 14 days, we have distributed an additional 11 thousand exam papers around the country. This is in addition to late entries processed for nearly eight thousand papers at the end of October.

Karen Sewell says there have also been numerous requests for exams papers for students who turn up on the day without being enrolled.

"This is something that tends to happen most years so we are reasonably well practised in getting additional exams papers to schools at short notice. We have 12 exam paper 'hubs' around the country housing extra papers to cover these instances."

"The demand has been so great this year that in some instances we have had to courier extra papers directly to the exam centres from our main supplies in Wellington."

This is the first time exams have been held on Saturdays and Karen Sewell says this has also prompted some calls from Scholarship students.

"Scholarship exams have been separated from NCEA exams this year to minimise clashes. As a result, we accommodated many more students this year, particularly those sitting NCEA level 3 and Scholarship. However, a handful of students wanted to sit the Saturday exams on another day, mainly because of sports commitments.

"We've explained to those students that in fairness to all the other Scholarship students, letting them sit on another day is not appropriate. However we have been able to accommodate some of their wishes. There is a considerable amount of money available for Scholarship students and so the stakes are high. Preserving the integrity of the exams is paramount," said Karen Sewell.

The Qualifications Authority has also been working closely with some schools to resolve and clarify a variety of questions, such as special assessment eligibility, late enrolments, and requests from students to sit exams at a centre other than the one for which they are enrolled.

The exams continue over the next three weeks, finishing on Saturday 10 December with Scholarship Mathematics with Calculus.

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