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SAC Review Update

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In March 2014, Ministry of Education and NZQA released a review of the Special Assessment Conditions (SACs) provided for students with learning differences sitting NCEA level exams. The review highlighted huge disparity and inequity in accessing SACs across schools in New Zealand, with students at decile 10 schools much more likely to have a SAC application made than those at decile one schools. Some 35% of schools made no SAC applications at all.

From the review, two major changes were slated for 2014. Firstly, the application process was to be made quicker and easier, with school based evidence accepted instead of requiring an independent expert’s report. Secondly, MoE was to target 250 mainly low decile schools, of the country’s 518 secondary and composite schools, to ensure eligible students applied for SACs. In the last few years we have seen more SAC applications across schools, this is good news, but the equity gap still persists.
In 2014 the nine short-term recommendations for change from the review were:

Since the review there have been numerous improvements in the NZQA model, in particular there is now a SACs rollover so that students do not need to put in yearly applications for entitlement. Also, applications are now web based (real time) so the process is less time-hungry for schools and SENCO’s than before.

Another critical change is that the MoE has made it clear to RTLBs that supporting schools in their engagement with the SAC process is an important part of their briefs.

For 2016 data and comment click here.

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