By: Simon Collins

NZ Qualifications Authority chairwoman Sue Suckling and staff were called in to explain the system to new Education Minister Nikki Kaye today.

Kaye said afterwards that the authority “committed to seeking an independent view on the robustness of the exemplar process”.

“They will also consider providing greater guidance for students and teachers,” she said. “I expect NZQA to report back to me on this within six weeks.”

Kaye’s swift action came after two South Auckland high-school students discovered that “exemplar” answers for a Level 1 History paper, posted on NZQA’s website as models of the best exam answers in 2011 and 2012, were virtually identical.

Their teacher said the 2012 script was “clearly plagiarised” from the previous year’s exemplar.

NZ History Teachers Association treasurer Greg Burnard said memorising the exemplars and reproducing them in exams was “reasonably widespread across the country”.

“Memorising an exemplar is not going to be punished, essentially,” he said. “It’s not seen as cheating. It’s just seen as being well prepared.”

Kaye said NZQA would report back to her within four weeks on the specific case of why no one picked up the fact that the 2012 History exemplar was almost word-for-word the same as the exemplar that was posted the previous year.

Burnard said examiners recognised a need to change exam questions from year to year, and to mark students down if they just reproduced material they had memorised rather than answering the questions.

“The way forward is to reward analysis rather than just regurgitation,” he said.

Source: NZ Herald


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