Regional | Te Reo Māori

Online glitch shut rural students out of Māori exam; IT training ‘inadequate’

Two secondary school students were unable to complete an online external exam for traditional Māori performance in te reo Māori.

The Year 11 students at Te Wharekura o Ruatoki in the Bay of Plenty, selected the Māori language option to complete the exam for Te Ao Haka (The World of Haka).

But the system crashed, and a system glitch blocked the students logging in again. Repeated attempts by an exam supervisor also failed and NZQA was unable to provide a solution at the time.

Te Ao Haka is available for NCEA at all levels as a performance-based, online course where students must demonstrate their knowledge of Māori culture, language, and identity.

It was piloted by more than 30 secondary schools and kura kaupapa Māori when it was introduced in 2021.

But a teacher at Te Wharekura o Ruatoki who didn’t want to be named said training had been inadequate.

“We were given a manual and told, ‘Here, read it.’”

Rural connectivity warning

The teacher said NZQA was also warned about the potential connectivity problems facing rural schools and their inability to receive IT advice quickly and locally. But the school received no guidance, and no hard copy of the exam could be accessed on the day.

NZQA Deputy Chief Executive Assessment, Jann Marshall said the authority was aware of the two students abandoning their Te Ao Haka external assessments on September 6 and was “working closely with Te Wharekura o Ruatoki to better understand their experience”.

The students applied for a derived grade, allowing their work and results over the year to be internally assessed in te reo Māori.

Twelve other students from the school were able to complete their external assessment.

The authority said support and guidance for schools and kura about using the digital external assessment platform was offered in the form of eLearning modules, videos and guides in both Māori and English. NZQA staff were also on hand to help deliver digital external assessments.

Marshall said printable copies of the exam could also be obtained in the event of disruptions to internet connectivity.