Steiner Education Development. About'

Frequently Asked Questions?

Questions for schools

Q: How does a School Become a NZCSE provider?
A: To become an Accredited Provider (AP), a school must assure SEDT that the school is a Steiner school and works out of Waldorf pedagogy as well as meeting a rigorous and robust accreditation process to prove it can work out of a Quality Management System (QMS) process. Further detailed information can be found in the Quality Management System document available to APs and prospective APs.
Q: How does a school become an accredited provider?
A: Usually a school will contact us as a result of a public talk or from this website. We will visit the school and talk to teachers and parents so all are clear about what they are getting out of it and what commitments they need to make. If the school wishes to move forward we initiate further visits which will include training for teachers in QMS processes and quality assured assessment practices.
Q: Are NZCSE points and NCEA credits interchangeable?
A: No. There is no agreement with NZQA to this effect. A student starting NZCSE in Class 11 at Level 2 can use a Level 1 NCEA as evidence of their ability to achieve successfully at this level, but the reverse does not apply as there is no pre-requisite to entering NCEA at levels above Level 1.
Q: What about students wanting to go on exchange overseas?
A: There is a variety of solutions depending on the ability of the student. Most schools offer two term exchanges. Some very capable students may pass enough points in 2 terms to gain their NZCSE before they go away. If a student does an exchange with another school offering NZCSE then the student can continue with their qualification seamlessly. Otherwise students are advised to go overseas during Class 10/Level 1 and not receive a certificate for that year. As long as they work consistently while still at school and gain good grades, they will be given discretionary entry into the next Level of NZCSE the following year.
Q: How do we deal with students struggling academically?
A: A student can take more than one year to complete a Level of SSC. Such students need to be identified prior to Class 10. Those with specific learning disabilities who have been diagnosed can apply for Special Assessment Conditions for things like extra time or reader/writers in tests.
Some New Zealand schools have developed programmes for students to spend time out of school gaining NZQF credits for trade-related qualifications while still at school. If the student gains up to eight credits this can be transferred to five NZCSE points so they can have some recognition for the time lost. For students doing larger courses which take them out of school for one day per week there is the Applied Learning LO which will give ten points for successful completion. This will also result in their certificate being “endorsed with Applied Learning”. This LO is designed for non-academic students to help them achieve the NZCSE at Levels 1 and 2 and should not be used for students who are academically capable of achieving NZCSE in the classroom.
Q: How do schools keep teachers focussed on assessment for learning rather than learning for assessment?
A: Everything starts with the Waldorf curriculum. Schools need to be planning courses out of their curriculum based on the needs of the particular cohorts in front of them. Not all Class 10s are the same and if the same LOs are applied year after year regardless of the different cohorts then the quality of teaching can suffer. Developing high-quality assessment programmes for SSC requires teachers to sit around the table and talk about their intentions for different groups. In this way a more complete picture emerges as well as opportunities to combine assessments between subject areas so that students are not over-assessed. NZCSE is not a curriculum, nor is it the content. If teachers remain conscious of this as they plan and ensure the LOs are chosen last of all to match the programme arrived at through discussion, we can prevent the “tail wagging the dog”.
Q: What about the non-assessed parts of the curriculum and students who will not cooperate unless there are NZCSE points involved?
A: Of course the Waldorf curriculum is about more than just classroom work. Plays, festivals, camps, workweeks etc. are a part of what parents sign up for when they send their children to a Steiner School. As APs, schools are required to confirm with us that students have met “Special Character” requirements before we can confirm final results and issue certificates. When NZCSE was first developed we felt it important to protect these aspects of school life which are so beneficial to students but which do not belong in the realm of assessment. Unfortunately there will always be students (and parents) who will push the boundaries and refuse to get on board. Schools have developed a variety of ways of formalising this process from annual parent interviews to carefully worded agreements which all parties are required to sign. SEDT plays no official role in this as we want schools to find their own process that suits their community.

Questions for parents and students

Most important information for students and parents can be found in the student handbook your school will provide. However some of the FAQs below may be useful.

Q: How much help can I give my son/daughter with their assessments?
A: Assessment in general is a valuable tool for teachers to tell how well their students are learning. If you give so much help to them that the work is no longer their own it is giving a false impression of that student’s ability and in the long run does no one any favours. Parents do need to take an interest and the best way to help is to ask them leading questions so they can eventually come to the solution themselves or point them in the right direction for resources.
Q: What is plagiarism and why is it so bad?
A: Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s ideas or words in a piece of work without their permission or without acknowledging them as not being your own. Basically you are passing off someone else’s work as your own which is one of the commonest forms of plagiarism. Schools are generally very good at helping students to avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism and in NZCSE we ask that all research-based work is referenced using the APA referencing system which is a method for acknowledging your sources be they from books, the internet etc. This is a very useful tool for students to have especially if they want to continue on to tertiary study. Some schools are now using plagiarism software so that written work can be quickly and easily checked for authenticity.
Q: What do I do if my certificate or Record of Achievement is lost or damaged?
A: Either ask the NZCSE Coordinator at your school to request a replacement from us or if you have left school contact us directly at info@sedt.co.nz with the details of your request and a forwarding address. The cost of replacing a certificate is $30 NZD plus postage if overseas. ROAs are free to replace but again postage paid is required for requests outside of New Zealand.
Q: Can a student still go on exchange and do the NZCSE?
A: There are a variety of solutions depending on the ability of the student. Most schools offer two-term exchanges. Some very capable students may pass enough points in two terms to gain their NZCSE before they go away. If a student does an exchange with another school offering NZCSE, then the student can continue with their qualification seamlessly. Otherwise students are advised to go overseas during Class 10/Level 1 and not receive a certificate for that year. As long as they work consistently while still at school and gain good grades, they will be given discretionary entry into the next Level of NZCSE the following year.
Q: What happens if you are caught cheating?
A: We take academic honesty seriously. Students who breach academic honesty policies receive an instant Not Achieved for that assessment with no possibility of a resit. The school may also instigate further disciplinary action.
Q: Why is NZCSE better than state qualifications for Steiner Schools?
A: NZCSE is the only qualification that fully validates and endorses a full, Waldorf High School/Upper School experience including recognition of special and unique aspects such as main lessons and the Class 12 Project. These are mostly unassessable using NCEA (for example) so schools using state qualifications have to offer “Steiner Credits” so that students will still do the work. In addition NZCSE is a dynamic qualification in that it can change and evolve over time and we value feedback from teachers and students in this respect. Steiner graduates already have a very good reputation at university level which is further enhanced by having a registered qualification to support it. Students doing NZCSE will in future be able to study in any NZCSE school in the world and the benefits to exchange programmes is enormous.