Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms

This glossary is based on a glossary of terms included in the Ministry of Education publication Profiles and Trends – New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector, and in the Tertiary Education Commission’s Tertiary Education Performance Report. Both publications are produced annually.

Term Description
Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities (AQA) An independent body established and owned by Universities New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee); reviews academic quality monitoring systems and advises on good practice and quality-assurance issues; until 31 December 2012, this was known as the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit
Academic year The financial year used by tertiary education institutions in New Zealand, as defined in the Education Act 1989; corresponds with the calendar year, 1 January to 31 December. (The Crown’s financial year is usually 1 July to 30 June.)
Adult and Community Education (ACE) Enables adults to engage in education with few barriers to participation and in a context relevant to the learner; usually does not lead to a qualification; is generally focused on personal development and skill enhancement with associated social, civic and community benefits
Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs): Primarily, but not exclusively, inter-institutional networks of researchers working together on a commonly agreed work programme; each hosted by a university and generally comprising several partner organisations including other universities, Crown research institutes and wānanga
Course A component of a qualification that may also be known as a paper, module or unit; has aims and curriculum content, and includes assessment that measures the extent to which the learning outcomes have been met
Crown research institutes (CRIs) Crown-owned companies that carry out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand
Distance education Education with students and the instructor separated by geographic distance, with learning facilitated by correspondence study, audio conferencing, video conferencing, email or the internet
Education Act 1989 The Act and its subsequent amendments that reformed the administration of education in New Zealand
Educational performance indicators (EPIs) The key measures that the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) uses to assess the annual contribution each tertiary organisation makes towards the priorities set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy. Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) funded through the Student Achievement Component have four EPIs:  

  • successful course completion is measured by the EFTS-weighted successful course completion rate (where EFTS means equivalent full-time students). This is the successfully completed enrolments in courses at a TEO each year, as a proportion of the total enrolments in courses, weighted by the EFTS value of the enrolments
  • student retention is measured by the student completion (or continuation) rate. This is the number of re-enrolments or qualification completions at a TEO each year compared with the number of students present at the TEO in the previous year
  • qualification completion is measured by the EFTS-weighted qualification completion rate. This is the number of qualifications completed at a TEO each year (weighted by the EFTS value of each qualification) as a proportion of the total enrolments in qualifications (weighted by the EFTS value of the enrolments)
  • student progression is measured by the completion progression rate. This is a rate of re-enrolment in a higher-level qualification in the following year for students who have completed a qualification. As progression into higher study is more important from lower level programmes, the TEC’s published EPI figures on progression report the rate of learners who progress after completing a qualification at New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level 1, 2, 3 or 4
  Industry training organisations (ITOs) have two EPIs related to credit and programme completion:  

  • credit completion represents the credits achieved by trainees at an ITO, as a proportion of the total number of credits trainees are expected to complete in a given period at each ITO
  • programme completion measures the number of programmes completed by trainees, as a proportion of the total number of credits that trainees are expected to complete in a given period at each ITO, weighted by the nominal credit value of the completed programme
Equivalent full-time student (EFTS) The main unit of measurement of the consumption of education (with one student enrolled in a standard programme of study full time for the full year equating to 1.0 EFTS or 120 credits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework); also the basic unit of measurement of tertiary teaching input for Student Achievement Component funding; and courses taken by part-time students being proportions of one EFTS
e-learning Education, both formal and informal, using electronic delivery methods such as internet-based learning delivery packages, CD-ROM, video conferencing, websites or email to manage the relationship between teachers and learners
External evaluation and review (EER) The New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s periodic process that independently reviews the educational performance and self-assessment capabilities of institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga and private training establishments; focuses on the valued outcomes of tertiary education instead of a traditional audit approach that measures inputs and processes
Financial performance metrics The metrics used by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) are consistent with the TEC financial monitoring framework ( and other documents/Financial-monitoring-framework.pdf). The key performance metrics used by the TEC are:  

  • net surplus (after unusual and non-recurring items): net surplus/deficit after unusual and non-recurring items to total income
  • net cash flow from operations: cash inflow (receipts) from operations to cash outflow (payments) from operations
  • liquid funds: liquid resources less short-term overdrafts to cash outflow (payments) from operations
  • three-year average return on property, plant, equipment and intangibles: the ratio of earnings before interest paid and earned, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and unusual and non-recurring items (EBITDA) to end-of-year property, plant and equipment plus intangible assets
Foundation-Focused Training Opportunities (FFTO) A programme to provide training to those at the highest risk of long-term benefit dependency; focuses on improving literacy and numeracy, with sustainable employment the primary expected outcome
Industry training organisations (ITOs) Organisations that facilitate workplace learning for trainees in employment by setting national skill standards for their industry, developing appropriate training arrangements for their industry, organising and contracting for appropriate training, monitoring the quality of training and arranging for the assessment of trainees
Institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) A tertiary education institution that offers a wide diversity of continuing education, including vocational training, and that conducts research, particularly applied and technological research
Investment Plan The key document that is the basis for a tertiary education institution’s (TEI’s) funding agreement with the Tertiary Education Commission; sets out the TEI’s response to government priorities and stakeholder needs and links these with strategic planning, education provision, capability development, outcome commitments, funding and monitoring
Ministry of Education The Government’s lead advisor on the New Zealand education system
New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) The Crown entity charged with ensuring that New Zealand qualifications are robust and credible nationally and internationally
New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) The unit standards-based system of national qualifications developed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority; it is a comprehensive list of all quality-assured qualifications in New Zealand, ranked from least complex (Level 1) to most complex (Level 10); established in July 2010
New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED) The subject-based classification system for courses and qualifications at universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga and private training establishments
New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit (NZUAAU) An independent body established and owned by Universities New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee); reviews academic quality monitoring systems and advises on good practice and quality-assurance issues; from 1 January 2013 renamed as the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities
Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) The Tertiary Education Commission-administered fund to encourage and reward excellent research in the tertiary education sector; entails assessing the research performance of tertiary education organisations and then funding them accordingly; based on the three elements of quality evaluation, research degree completions and external research income
Performance-linked funding The system introduced in 2010 to encourage all tertiary education organisations to reach an acceptable standard of educational performance; from 2012, it links 5 percent of providers’ funding to their performance in the educational performance indicators in the previous year
Private training establishment (PTE) A provider of post-school education or vocational training that is not a Crown entity
Programme of study A collection of courses, classes or work in which a student enrols and that lead to meeting the requirements for one or more qualifications
Provider-based delivery Tertiary education that occurs on-campus rather than in the workplace
Qualification A course or suite of courses that together lead to the award of a qualification that is quality-assured and registered on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications
Single Data Return (SDR) A set of data required by the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission for funding, monitoring performance against Investment Plans, publishing performance information, as well as statistical reporting purposes; required of all tertiary education organisations that receive Student Achievement Component funding or have students with student loans or allowances
Student allowances Grants designed to provide financial assistance to students who are unable to support themselves or do not have access to alternative sources of support while undertaking full-time study
Student Achievement Component (SAC) The SAC is the government funding contribution or subsidy to the costs of teaching and learning and other costs driven by student numbers. The total amount of SAC funding is calculated by multiplying the funding category rate by the number of domestic equivalent full-time students in an organisation’s Investment Plan. It constitutes nearly 70 percent of total government funding to tertiary education institutions through plans
Standard Training Measure (STM) The main unit of measurement of the consumption of training (with one STM equalling the amount of training required to achieve 120 register credits or equivalent in an approved structured training programme); also the basic unit of measurement of input for industry training funding
StudyLink The service of the Ministry of Social Development that provides financial support to students
Tertiary education institutions (TEIs) Public institutions (Crown entities) that receive public funding to deliver tertiary education in accordance with their specific role as defined in the Education Act 1989, comprising New Zealand’s eight universities, 18 institutes of technology and polytechnics, and three wānanga
Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) Bodies that provide tertiary education-related services, comprising universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga, private training establishments, industry training organisations and other Tertiary Education Commission-funded organisations such as schools and community providers that deliver tertiary education and training
Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) The document that sets out the Government’s high-level set of strategic priorities and associated strategies and objectives for tertiary education, as required by legislation
Tuition fees Fees charged to students for tuition by tertiary education providers; may differ across tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and within a TEI, and between domestic and international students
University A tertiary education institution that is primarily concerned with advanced learning and knowledge, research and teaching to a post-graduate level
University Quality Audits Five-yearly whole-of-institution audits carried out by the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities; focus on the ability of institutional processes to support each university’s achievement of its specified outputs and outcomes
Youth Guarantee An initiative introduced in 2009 that focuses on improving the educational achievements of targeted young people by enabling them to participate in a range of vocational courses free of charge; from 2014 it was extended to include 18- and 19-year-olds
Wānanga A tertiary education institution that provides programmes in a Māori cultural context, with an emphasis on the application of knowledge regarding āhuatanga Māori (Māori traditions) according to tikanga Māori (Māori custom)