Pupils take ‘pretty hectic’ NCEA disruptions in their stride

Former Kavanagh College year 13 pupils (from left) Emily Kerr-Bell (18), Sam Meikle (17) and...
Former Kavanagh College year 13 pupils (from left) Emily Kerr-Bell (18), Sam Meikle (17) and Summer Paulin (17) check their NCEA level 3 results online yesterday morning. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
While some in the education sector have reported concerns about NCEA pupils being disadvantaged by New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdowns, three Dunedin pupils are saying they are ahead because of the lockdowns.

Former Kavanagh College year 13 pupils Emily Kerr-Bell, Sam Meikle and Summer Paulin were among about 140,000 teenagers who went online yesterday morning, to check their NCEA results.

The trio were pleased with their results and believed they could not have done better if there had not been a lockdown.

In fact, Summer said the lockdown had turned out to be an advantage for them.

"It’s been pretty hectic, but it’s also been a big opportunity to learn how to work independently, which is a good skill to have, especially when you go on to university."

Emily said she was not worried about how Covid-19 would affect her exam results because most of her assessments were internal and she already had university entrance and the endorsements she wanted before exams started.

"The exams were just the last little snippet to fall into place."

Fellow former pupil Sam Meikle was in a similar position. He said his school, like many others, had put special programmes in place to help pupils catch up if they had fallen behind.

"There were definitely some people who were disadvantaged by the lockdown, but surprisingly we saw achievement go ahead at our school, to the point where we had to restructure how we were keeping all our year 13s because they had already achieved all their goals before exams started."

Schools were closed for about a month during the national lockdown, forcing NCEA pupils to do their learning online.

Many in the education sector were worried about the effect the lockdown and other pandemic-related issues would have on pupils’ NCEA results, so schools put support programmes in place to help the pupils catch up on lost learning time, and the Ministry of Education introduced learning recognition credits.

The credits were awarded to pupils to mitigate the disadvantage caused by the national and Auckland lockdowns.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) said it could not yet provide any analysis of the results, but schools would be able to see how their own pupils had performed and make comparisons with previous years.

Answer booklets for the 2020 exams will be returned later this month, and digital exam responses will be available online from late January until 30 June.

New Zealand scholarship results will be released on February 4.

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