Working with external providers on the STAR programme
Memorandum of Understanding
Other than for enrolment in university papers, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for each course or work-based learning experience will outline:
- what is to be delivered
- unit standards or other qualifications the students are working towards
- health and safety arrangements
- expectations around reporting absences
- format and timeliness of student results
- how providers will share student evaluations
- course costs and situations under which costs may be refunded.
The memorandum assures the school that:
- the required standards of teaching, assessment and moderation will be maintained
- collaborative arrangements are clearly set out
- channels of authority, accountability and executive action are identified clearly.
The memorandum must be signed by the legally recognised signatories who represent the school and the accredited external provider/s to which the agreement applies before the delivery of any standard or course.
The memorandum must specify, as appropriate to the application:
- names of the parties to the agreement
- assessment and moderation arrangements
- duration of agreement
- responsibility for administrative arrangements such as:
o student enrolment; student welfare services
o decisions relating to progress through the course, assessment and appeals
o reporting student results
o remuneration of monitors and moderators (if applicable)
o communication about reporting of results and any other information required by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)
o for verifying the provider’s accreditation and consent to assess against relevant assessment standards
o for agreeing on all necessary financial arrangements and the provision of resources, both physical and human
o for resolving any differences that might arise between the parties to this agreement
o for the protection of students should the arrangement terminate
o for the management of systems to oversee and maintain quality of delivery
o for the management of the standards delivered, and for ongoing monitoring
- access to both parties by NZQA to quality assure all related processes and procedures
- acknowledgement that NZQA reserves the right to not recognise any results reported on behalf of a school that does not have consent to assess the relevant standards if issues arise as a result of an inadequate memorandum of understanding or if the agreed procedures are not followed.
Contract for services
Under the memorandum of understanding, the contract for services will be an annual agreement with each external provider, linked to each year and the agreed course or work-based learning experience provided.
The memorandum of understanding will outline agreed procedures for reporting absences to the provider and to the school. Students sign an agreement that outlines the attendance requirements and provides an explanation of the procedures to follow in the event of an absence from a work-based learning experience or study outside the school.
The NZQA website lists providers accredited to offer learning programmes that lead to New Zealand qualifications. Many providers have a designated person in charge of STAR. They may also have brochures outlining the STAR-funded courses they offer, or may be willing to consider a course proposal.
Providers may present a prepared Memorandum of Understanding. However, within the partnership, schools have the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of students. A provider’s memorandum should be reviewed with this in mind.
A school has the right to prepare a memorandum itself or to negotiate with a provider to ensure a memorandum reflects best practice. A memorandum should be consistent with a school's policy and meet the requirements set out above.
Exemplar: Working with external providers
Work-based learning experiences and courses run off site involve additional risks for students. The STAR coordinator should investigate and address relevant health and safety issues at the time placements are investigated. Where relevant, specific issues will be covered in the Memorandum of Understanding. A health and safety checklist will be completed for every work place.
Attendance requires an additional work commitment from the student. For this reason, obtain informed consent from all parties involved:
Students and parents or caregivers must consent to attendance, and agree to all applicable conditions. This includes catching up essential work missed through absence from class.
As noted above, teachers can withhold approval for a student’s absence where the student is likely to be disadvantaged by not attending a regular class, for example if the absence jeopardizes achievement of compulsory literacy or numeracy requirements. However, schools should endeavour to ensure timetables are flexible, and that students are not required to make up non-essential classwork.
Students as school ambassadors
Students are school ambassadors when they attend externally provided courses. To meet this responsibility:
- students are expected to dress appropriately at all times, and only change out of school uniform if the work or course requires them to
- schools will set clear expectations of behaviour and attendance that attending students will agree to in writing
- travel arrangements to and from the site must be clearly established and agreed to in writing before attendance.
All students participating in STAR-funded courses will complete an evaluation form at the end of the course.
Best practice for external providers
Providers include schools, polytechnics, private training establishments (PTEs), government training establishments, and wananga. Industry training organisations (ITOs) arrange delivery of education, training, and assessment related to specific industries and professions. Most polytechnics offer short introductory courses that also provide unit standards that can contribute towards national qualifications.
All external providers must have consent to assess against the standards to be assessed and have a current Memorandum of Understanding with the school. If a training provider is contracted to a school, then the students can be assessed by the school, provided the school’s consent to assess includes the requisite standards.
Some external providers offer quality-assured qualifications that are not based on assessment standards (for example, those of the New Zealand Institute of Management). These qualifications can be accessed through the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
Working in conjunction with the school, it is a provider's responsibility to:
- have a current Memorandum of Understanding
- ensure that courses conform to the aims and objectives of STAR
- clearly indicate the standards and qualifications students will work towards
- clearly indicate when standards are in learning areas associated with the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. While the purpose of STAR is still to fund courses that are not based on The New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the STAR Excluded List has been discontinued.
- be well-informed and responsive to the needs of students, schools and local industries
- keep attendance records and pass them on to the school
- promptly inform the school of any unexplained absences
- care for the health and safety of students when students are located at the external provider's location
- report results to the school in a timely way
- conduct evaluations and communicate the results of these to the schoolacknowledge their results if they return to study towards the qualification (rather than expecting them to repeat a standard to make up a full course).
If a course contains a mixture of eligible and ineligible components, only the eligible parts can be funded from STAR. Many providers have their own STAR coordinator, who is the first point of contact for schools. This person understands STAR's purpose and is able to check that the programmes they arrange conform to its objectives and criteria. They are also familiar with the policies of the local schools and keep in contact with the schools' STAR coordinators to make sure that they are meeting the schools' needs.
In monitoring the effectiveness of the courses, providers should use these questions as a guide:
- How well does the course align with the school curriculum?
- Does this course provide individual students with learning experiences that link to possible, realistic career aspirations?
- Does this course introduce students to realistic career choices?
- What information can be gathered about the effectiveness of the course from the students’ perspectives?
The New Zealand Qualifications Framework
The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is a comprehensive list of all quality assured qualifications in New Zealand. There are two quality assurance bodies responsible for approving qualifications in New Zealand: NZQA and Universities New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee). These bodies are responsible for monitoring the quality of programme delivery.
- conveys the skills, knowledge and attributes a graduate has gained through completing a qualification
- enables and supports the provision of high-quality education pathways
- requires the development of integrated and coherent qualifications
- enhances confidence in the quality and international comparability of New Zealand qualifications
- contributes to the strengthening of Maori as a people by enhancing and advancing matauranga Maori
- represents value for money and is sustainable and robust.
The National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) levels 1–3 are New Zealand's national school qualifications usually assessed in years 11 to 13. Credits from all standards on the DAS can count towards NCEA. Many credits also count towards specialist national or New Zealand certificates in areas such as horticulture and electronics technology.
The Directory of Assessment Standards
The Directory of Assessment Standards (DAS) lists all quality assured unit and achievement standards, known collectively as ‘assessment standards’. The assessment standards listed on the DAS can contribute to national qualifications.
Students can accumulate credits gained from assessment standards towards national or New Zealand certificates, including NCEA, and towards national or New Zealand diplomas. Visit the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website for more information.At school, students can gain credits through traditional school curriculum areas, through alternative school curriculum programmes, and through links with tertiary and industry qualifications. STAR provides a mechanism through which these links can be made.
Only education organisations offering courses accredited by NZQA can award credit for unit standards. The types of organisations that may offer eligible STAR courses are listed in the Glossary.
See the NZQA website for education organisations. This list is updated weekly and includes information about the fields, subfields and domains that each organisation has consent to assess. A field is a broad area of learning on the DAS (for example, Manufacturing), a subfield is an area of learning within that (for example, Composites), and comprises one or more domains (for example, Industrial Composites).
The NZQA website also has information about approved courses – search for a qualification and select ‘# organisations can assist in gaining this qualification’.
A search for a specific unit standard subject will show education organisations with consent to assess the standard. This search can be refined to show results within a region.