Assessment and Certification

Guiding demands a complex balance of physical and mental skills.

The aim of assessment is to endorse participants’ ability to meet the requirements likely to arise in the guiding profession. Courses are designed to enable a wide variety of skills to be gauged as objectively as possible.
Reassessments  Course_Failure  Certification


Topics for assessment:

The Analysis of Topics identifies 42 topics to be evaluated during the courses. These topics encompass virtually all guiding skills.

Some topics will only apply to a certain aspect of guiding, for example, Ski Guiding, and are therefore only in that particular marking schedule.

Specific techniques to be assessed are listed in the Technical Syllabus.

Assessment methods

Skills are assessed mainly during practical exercises which may be full-day guiding assignments, or shorter specific tasks. They are designed to create a favourable opportunity for a wide range of skills to be demonstrated and evaluated.

For most assigned tasks on courses, the assessment method will be the Self and peer model. (see below)

By the end of the course, the assessors must evaluate the overall performance of each participant under each topic heading and express their conclusion.

Final marking is done jointly by the assessors who also draft an overall performance report for each participant. Details of the marking system and pass requirements are below and are also detailed on the Course report received by participants.

Self and peer assessment
This is a suitable means of assessment when several people are affected by what the candidate for assessment does, for example, running an instruction session or managing two clients on a guiding day.


  • As soon as possible after the assessment session the group gathers in a closed circle (no dark glasses and no lying in bunks).
  • Discussion is confidential to the group.
  • Only the topic being tested is for assessment.
  • The assessors facilitate the process.

Improvement round

  • Candidate speaks first, saying what could have been done to improve the session.
  • In turn, each of the participants comments specifically on what would have improved the sessions for them. Use only `I’ statements and speak to the candidate.
  • Assessor records and has the final say.

Affirmative round

  • Candidate first on what was good.
  • Participants speak in a different order on what specifically was good.
  • Assessor speaks, thanks candidate, closes discussion.

 Pass mark
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The format used for each course is detailed in the appropriate section.

  • For all courses each topic requires 50% to pass.
  • For Level I, a pass mark or positive recommendation is 65%.
  • For Level 2, Hard Ice and Alpine Trekking Guide Courses, a pass mark is 75%.
  • Level 2 Courses are assessed using the same marking schedule as Level 1 Courses but with a higher standard.
  • Marks are not presented to participants but are used as a tool for assessors and as a means for participants to gauge the weight of marking given to each topic. Participants receive only an indication of standard on each topic, each section, and a similar indication as to their final grade on course reports:
    ++ = well above standard
    + = above standard
    - = below standard
    - - = well below standard (Less than 50% and Topic failure)
  • If it is not possible to assess every topic on a Ski or Climbing Guides Level 1 Course it should be noted in the individual course report.

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Reassessments of all or parts of courses are no longer offered. A pass/fail status is determined by the end of the course.

Course Failure
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  • Course failure will occur if there is;
    • A failure of four topics or more, regardless of the cumulative total
    • A fail in either Client Safety or Snow Safety
    • A fail in Downhill Skiing (Ski Guide Course)
    • Failure of any topic on a Level 2 Course.

The training time allowance for any candidate who fails a Level 1 Assessment is extended for 12 months. The training time allowance for any candidate who fails a Level 2 Assessment is extended for up to 18 months to allow re-presentation at the next season’s Assessment


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All participants' results are subject to ratification by the Technical Subcommittee.

On completion of all prerequisites, an Assessment Course, and ratification by the Technical Subcommittee, participants will:

  • Receive a final course report
  • Become a member of the NZMGA
  • Receive an identification card, showing the qualification achieved, which is the certificate of practice.

On passing both the Ski Guide and the Climbing Guide Level 2 Courses, and ratification by the Technical Subcommittee, an NZMGA member will be also be recognised as an IFMGA Mountain Guide.

All NZMGA guides are awarded identification cards or carnet, updated every year. The identification card includes a photograph of the guide and describes his or her discipline and level of training.

To be valid, the IFMGA carnet must also carry an IFMGA sticker.
A one-off IFMGA levy of $50 is payable before the award of the carnet. One metal badge is provided at no charge.

All NZMGA qualifications are subject to:

  • The financial standing of the member
  • The possession of a current Pre Hospital Emergency Care certificate (or equivalent)
  • Compliance with the Terrain, Supervision and Professional Guidelines.

Guides operating outside these guidelines may face disciplinary action from the Committee which may include:

  • Suspension of their certificate to practise.
  • Expulsion from the Association.
  • A fine as allowed by the constitution.

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