Recognition of extra-curricular learning during COVID-19 lockdown

Senior secondary students who helped out at home, worked part-time or did unpaid volunteer work during the COVID-19 lockdown may be able to earn credits towards an NCEA for the skills they gained from these learning experiences.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has developed templates to support schools and kura to recognise learning that occurred outside of school settings and is not part of a student’s formal programme of learning during the 2020 school year.

Credentialing lockdown learning to recognise prior learning - NZQA website(external link)

NZQA acknowledged that through extra-curricular learning, young people can also develop capabilities and skills that align strongly with the vision and key competencies of the National Curriculum. 

There are already existing mechanisms in NCEA to validly assess extra-curricular learning, and some schools are already doing this. The additional guidance NZQA has prepared uses existing unit standards and assessment policies, and may be useful in identifying students who were not able to maintain their engagement with schooling but who have developed relevant skills, competencies and knowledge during the time out of school.

NZQA said the assessment of extra-curricular learning should be targeted to those students who were less able to engage in school-provided learning and underpinned by rigour and evidence.

Using NZQA’s templates for gathering the required evidence, schools and kura can apply a range of existing unit standards to credential activities undertaken by senior secondary students who completed work experience, volunteered or assumed care responsibilities for family and whānau.

In June, Education Minister Chris Hipkins asked the Ministry of Education and NZQA to consider ways to support schools and wharekura in recognising such learning and skills gained by students outside their formal programme of learning during the lockdown.

Changes to NCEA and University Entrance requirements have already been made for the 2020 school year to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The changes highlight the priority placed on the well-being of students and recognise that the disruption to learning and assessment may have affected their ability to attain NCEA this year.

Read about the changes to NCEA and University Entrance for this school year:

Changes to NCEA address impact of COVID-19 - 13 May 2020

Further changes to NCEA and University Entrance address COVID-19 impact - 3 June 2020

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