NCEA results out - this time

It's the moment thousands of students have been dreading or eagerly anticipating - NCEA results are out.

The New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) has this morning released the official NCEA results for 163,000 students.

It comes a day after 265 students saw their marks online while the NZQA was doing some testing, only for those results to disappear moments later. The authority is reviewing processes in the wake of the error.

National statistics on the results will not be released until March, but NZQA deputy chief executive Richard Thornton said overall pass rates traditionally increased by an average of 1-2 per cent a year and last year's results were the same.

Marked papers will be returned to students, who then have until February 18 to apply for reviews and reconsiderations or to ask NZQA to recheck or remark some standards.

New Zealand Scholarship students won't be able to view their results until mid-February.

NZQA went live with 163,000 NCEA exam results for five minutes from 6.25am yesterday as a "final check" that the system was working.

"We do it then because we hope everyone is at home sleeping," Thornton said.

"We don't have a way of doing it any other way. You need to flick it on, make sure it's working properly and flick it back off. We could try 1am or 4am; there may be less chance [of people accessing results] then."

The results needed to go live to ensure they appeared the same as they did prior to going live, Thornton said. It then took about eight hours to test to make sure the system is working correctly.

He said the system had been checked this way at the same time in previous years, and a couple of hundred people usually viewed their results in this window.

However, after yesterday's glitch spread quickly via social media, NZQA would be reviewing how it conducts its final checks.Another time could be used or students would be pre-warned about the test.

However, Thornton acknowledged the latter option may lead to the system crashing if 163,000 students tried to log on at the same time.

"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't," he said.