No doubt many you will be wondering what is the best way forward for our students who are entered for the upcoming MCAT. While NZQA say that schools and kura should deliver the MCAT as planned wherever possible, you will be in the best position to make that decision with your school, learners and community. Student and teacher well being should be the first priority.

This post share some of the recent information from NZQA and others about the MCAT and evidence gathering.

NZQA have been in contact with Principals’s Nominees and this week published on the Maths & Stats subject page links to guidance documents.

Also note that NEW in 2020 is that schools will only receive papers for their nominated day. If students are away on the nominated day they cannot write the paper on the other day. In this case you will use your schools missed assessment policy to determine a grade. [see note 6 of administrative guidelines]

On this page you can  download a flowchart to determine when to apply your missed assessment policy and also a sample evidence gathering templat for the MCAT which you may have already seen. This slide deck

would indicate that you can develop you own template, eg use a spreadsheet or take a portfolio approach. You can also consider partial evidence collected over time and collect evidence for future assessments.

This year you have until November 15 to gather evidence from which to derive the grade.


For those students sitting the MCAT it will no doubt be time to build confidence and make sure they know that they actually know how to do many of the questions.

  • Attempting all questions will be important. The schedules from previous papers note for “u” requires  a  valid step towards….
  • Spending some time with past papers and having students work out what skills are contained in each question and not actually attempting the questions at the time  might be useful. Doing this over 2 or 3 years papers they will see patterns arising. Key skills like expanding & factorising may come in many cloaks. Solving exponential equations using the same base. Knowing the difference between area and perimeter of a rectangle. Simplifying like terms and rearranging expressions and equations
  • Identifying what they already know how to do, what they will be able to do given another 2 weeks and what they will not have time for and put aside for now at this stage.  From here spending time on what is most immediate for them and not wasting time of completing problems they know how to do or they have put in the not yet “box”.
  • Being aware of where they make silly mistakes (eg with signs) is also important. The RISK strategy here is useful to use during revision
  • Making use of online tools to supplement classroom learning, your own or Subash Chandar K’s videos on Youtube, LearnCoach skills videos
  • Cengage have made available a practice paper on their website for your use


Gathering evidence for any standard

NZQA say “If teaching time or assessment opportunities have been affected by COVID-19 then rather than having formal assessments we can integrate an evidence gathering process with our ongoing teaching and learning programme”. Every student will likely fall into this category in 2020. NZQA have outlined how we could use the flexibility of NCEA to gather credible standard specific assessment evidence in this slide deck. Carolyn Green and Holly Swift from Rolleston College have shared this useful summary of the NZQA slide deck. Download the infographic and have a read through the slides if you have not seen them.

Earlier this year NZQA published a guide for managing student assessment during COVID-19. The last page of frequently asked questions may provide some clarity. The evidence gathering templates referred to are linked from the subject homepage.




Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

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