Learner Assessment in Te Reo Māori SOP

To be read in conjunction with

Assessment and Moderation Policy

Approval Date
1 June 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: Māori Development

In recognition of the status of Te Reo Māori as a taonga (treasure) protected under the Treaty of Waitangi, and within the spirit of Te Ture mō Te Reo Māori 2016 (Māori Language Act), Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) will endorse the right of learners and staff to use Te Reo Māori by:

a. Providing an environment that enables staff, learners, and visitors to Otago Polytechnic Ltd to use Māori language in their day-to-day communications; and

b. Facilitating internal processes which empower learners to use Te Reo Māori in their programme and assessments.


1.         Learners may request to be assessed in Te Reo Māori provided requests are received within time frames which enable the request to be met and only if the following conditions are satisfied:

a.          English language is not central to the objectives of that course, e.g. English language programmes

b.         The learner can evidence proficiency in Te Reo Māori to the level outlined in Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori – Guidelines for Māori Language Orthography[1]

c.          All other requirements outlined in this procedure are met.

2.         Learners who intend to present all or part of an assessment, examination, or piece of work in Te Reo Māori are required to give notice of their intention to do so in writing. This notice of intention is necessary to allow Otago Polytechnic Ltd time to make suitable arrangements for assessing including, when necessary, translation and external assessment. The following considerations must be adhered to:

a.         The learner must write to the Head of College and Programme Head of their enrolled programme to give notice

b.         Notice should be given within three (3) weeks of the start date of the programme.  Unless exceptional circumstances have been given

c.         The notice must outline how the learner meets the conditions outlined in this procedure.

3.       Timely consultation with the Kaitohutohu Office is essential to ensure that appropriate support is provided to learners and staff to enable learner assessments in Te Reo Māori. The College concerned will notify the Kaitohutohu Office of a learner’s intention to submit in Te Reo Māori as soon as notice is received by the Head of College and Programme Head.

4.       There are currently three (3) options available for the assessment or examination of work submitted in Te Reo Māori. These are outlined below in the order of preference, which is dependent on the variables available for each option:


Every effort will be made by the Head of College to have the assessment, examination or piece of work assessed by a person qualified to assess the work in Te Reo Māori. This should be an assessor for the course/programme if they are considered by the Head of College, in consultation with the Kaitohutohu Office, to have a suitable level of Māori language proficiency to do so.

The College may also deem it necessary for the learner to provide a glossary of technical terms to assist any translation required. This will need to be prepared in advance and in consultation with the Programme Head.



If the course assessor of the relevant assessment, examination or piece of work is not proficient to assess the work in Te Reo Māori, a substitute assessor, proficient in both the subject matter or discipline and in Te Reo Māori, may be appointed by the Head of College in consultation with the Kaitohutohu Office and in agreement with the Programme Head, to assess the work presented in Te Reo Māori.

Otago Polytechnic Ltd will take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances (considering the period of notice given and the timeframe of the assessment process) to appoint a suitable substitute assessor from within or external to the Polytechnic.

The approved Course Descriptor, assessment, examination, or piece of work and marking guide translated to Te Reo Māori MUST be given to the substitute assessor.



If a substitute assessor is not available to assess the work in Te Reo Māori, a translator may be appointed by the Head of College in consultation with the Kaitohutohu Office and in agreement with the appropriate Programme Head. The following process will be adhered to:

  • For the process for requesting translation services, refer to Te Reo Māori Translation or email the Kaitohutohu Office directly: Kaitohutohu@op.ac.nz
  • All reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that the translator is competent in the subject matter or discipline under assessment or examination. If the translator is not competent in the subject matter or discipline under assessment or examination, the translator can request a glossary of technical terms to assist any translation required.  The decision of the Head of College and Kaitohutohu Office regarding the linguistic proficiency of the translator appointed should be treated as final, subject to the provisions for reconsideration of the final grade according to policy Academic Appeal Process for Learners.
  • Translators will be informed that the assessment, examination, or piece of work submitted is a requirement of an Otago Polytechnic Ltd course as part of the learner’s programme.
  • An estimate of the time to complete the translation work will be provided to the Head of College prior to the work being commenced.
  • The translator will be sent a copy of the original assessment, examination, or piece of work with the learner’s details removed to maintain the learner’s anonymity and remove any potential conflict of interest.
  • Once the assessment, examination or piece of work has been translated and considered by the assessor, the result received for the work will count towards the final grade given to the learner.
  • The assessment, examination or piece of work should be translated as accurately as possible, bearing in mind it is not always possible to provide an exact translation from one language to another.
  • In the translation the translator will be asked not to correct errors of content or inconsistencies, nor to make suggested improvements to the flow of the work. However, ambiguities arising from the translation as well as notes regarding the quality and clarity of the language used by the learner, including, but not limited to, sentence structure, spelling and grammar, should be pointed out to the Programme Head when the translation is returned.
  • Where necessary, the Programme Head may seek clarification about aspects of the translation from the translator but contact between the learner and translator is prohibited.
  • Once translated, assessing should be carried out by the assessor, as they would any other assessment, submitted.

5.       Resorting to the translation of an assessment, examination or piece of work should only be made when reasonable efforts to find an assessor proficient in assessing the work in Te Reo Māori have been exhausted.

a.          Schools/Colleges should not handle translations they must contact the Kaitohutohu Office and discuss at the time of the Notice of Intention submission to ensure consistency in practice and adherence to this procedure.

b.         The Kaitohutohu Office will maintain a database of substitute assessors and translators proficient in Te Reo Māori and their area of discipline.

6.       Where a learner has given notice in writing of their intention to submit their assessment in Te Reo Māori, they should be informed by the Head of College as soon as is reasonably possible within two (2) weeks whether or not the assessment, examination or piece of work will be based on translation or completed by an assessor who is also an expert in the subject matter or discipline.

7.       If the assessment, examination, or piece of work is an oral assessment, the same principles should apply as for written work. Practicalities may require modifications, however, such as a limitation on the use of Te Reo Māori where oral work involves group work or interaction with other learners who do not speak or understand Te Reo Māori.

8.       All costs associated with the engagement of a substitute assessor and/or translator related to the assessing of an assessment, examination, or piece of work in Te Reo Māori will be the responsibility of the College. (Pool of funding held by KTO, a request from the HoC to be put through to the KTO).


Return of work to the learners

9.       When an assessment, examination or piece of work is returned to a learner, any translations or notes to the translation provided should also be returned to the learner. The name of the translator should always remain confidential.

10.    Feedback from assessment and assessed work will be returned to learners within a specified timeframe. The timeframe will be between 1-2 weeks for certificate and diploma programmes and 1-4 weeks for degree and postgraduate programmes (excluding thesis marking).  However, where translation work is required, the return of results to the learner may be delayed allowing time for the translation to take place before assessing. If this is the case, the learner will be informed by the College within five (5) working days after the due date of submission.


Complaints/ Academic Appeals 

11.    Any complaint about a decision regarding linguistic proficiency or subject competence made under the provisions above, or appeal of a grade, shall be carried out via appropriate procedures outlined in Otago Polytechnic Ltd policies Resolution of Learner Complaints and Academic Appeal Process for Learners as published on Otago Polytechnic Ltd website or available directly from the College.



[1] https://www.tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Corporate-docs/Orthographic-conventions/58e52e80e9/Guidelines-for-Maori-Language-Orthography.pdf



University of Otago - Procedures for Student Assessment in Te reo Māori



Victoria University WellingtonThe use of Te reo Māori for Assessment



Otago Polytechnic Academic Policy – Moderation and Assessment


Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive