System failure for NCEA Level 1 maths exam

THE NCEA Level 1 maths exam, which has brought mass criticism from New Zealand schools due to the level of difficulty and content, was made even more difficult for a group of students from Gisborne’s Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga.

The students went to the exam expecting their examination papers to be in te reo Maori but the exam was only provided in English. Having learned and studied maths in te reo Maori at their Maori-medium school, the students were at a disadvantage when forced to sit the exam in English.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) confirmed that Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga requested te reo Maori translations of examination papers for its students who were entered to sit NCEA examinations. NZQA sent the translated papers to Ngata College in Ruatoria, which it had been advised was the examination centre the students would be attending.

“Unfortunately, we have since learned that the students attended another school that did not have translated versions of the examination papers,” said NZQA spokesperson Nikki Douglas.

“Since becoming aware of the issue on Wednesday morning, NZQA has contacted Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga and confirmed where its students will sit the remainder of their examinations. We will arrange for any translated papers to be available at that school.”

Gisborne District Councillor Josh Wharehinga was angry and frustrated when his daughter Pou, a student at TKKM o Harouta Wananga, told him what had happened.

“As a father, I am angry at the systemic failure that has occurred, which has disadvantaged my daughter’s chances of achieving excellence in math. Math is one of my daughter’s strongest subjects and now her external assessment will not fairly reflect her competency, which may have implications for university entrance, the other NCEA levels and even university scholarships at the end of her high school journey.

“What I am very upset about is that this current system, which disadvantages te reo Maori speakers, has to fail students before something gets done.

“Every other exam location in the country for every other subject will have backup blank exam papers in English. I’m not saying put blank Maori exam papers in every school, I’m saying the system needs to evolve and be smarter.

"We know where our high populations of Maori are, we know the stats for te reo speakers. Make the blank papers available in those areas. Or make the backup exams dual language. I don’t know what all the possible answers could be, but I do know one thing; something as minor as administration should never dictate the future of our children, the system should be better than that.”

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga was not available for comment when the Gisborne Herald contacted them. NZQA says it will be working with the kura to look at the situation for the students who sat the exam.

THE NCEA Level 1 maths exam, which has brought mass criticism from New Zealand schools due to the level of difficulty and content, was made even more difficult for a group of students from Gisborne’s Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga.

The students went to the exam expecting their examination papers to be in te reo Maori but the exam was only provided in English. Having learned and studied maths in te reo Maori at their Maori-medium school, the students were at a disadvantage when forced to sit the exam in English.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) confirmed that Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga requested te reo Maori translations of examination papers for its students who were entered to sit NCEA examinations. NZQA sent the translated papers to Ngata College in Ruatoria, which it had been advised was the examination centre the students would be attending.

“Unfortunately, we have since learned that the students attended another school that did not have translated versions of the examination papers,” said NZQA spokesperson Nikki Douglas.

“Since becoming aware of the issue on Wednesday morning, NZQA has contacted Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga and confirmed where its students will sit the remainder of their examinations. We will arrange for any translated papers to be available at that school.”

Gisborne District Councillor Josh Wharehinga was angry and frustrated when his daughter Pou, a student at TKKM o Harouta Wananga, told him what had happened.

“As a father, I am angry at the systemic failure that has occurred, which has disadvantaged my daughter’s chances of achieving excellence in math. Math is one of my daughter’s strongest subjects and now her external assessment will not fairly reflect her competency, which may have implications for university entrance, the other NCEA levels and even university scholarships at the end of her high school journey.

“What I am very upset about is that this current system, which disadvantages te reo Maori speakers, has to fail students before something gets done.

“Every other exam location in the country for every other subject will have backup blank exam papers in English. I’m not saying put blank Maori exam papers in every school, I’m saying the system needs to evolve and be smarter.

"We know where our high populations of Maori are, we know the stats for te reo speakers. Make the blank papers available in those areas. Or make the backup exams dual language. I don’t know what all the possible answers could be, but I do know one thing; something as minor as administration should never dictate the future of our children, the system should be better than that.”

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Horouta Wananga was not available for comment when the Gisborne Herald contacted them. NZQA says it will be working with the kura to look at the situation for the students who sat the exam.

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Dave Henderson - 24 days ago
System failure, or school failure? It appears from the article that the exams were sent to the correct school as requested. Sorry, I'd be asking the school questions before making a big deal about it.

Josh Wharehinga - 24 days ago
A systems failure in regards to Reo Maori back-up exams provided Dave. Not a hard fix and one that the school is NOT responsible for.

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