There's something about receiving a letter in the post.

There's the anticipation of its arrival, the numerous treks to the letterbox to see if the postie has been, and of course the ceremonial ripping open of the envelope after it has arrived.

So it was, back in the day, when this scribe received his school exam results.

Let's not discuss the four per cent received for school cert science. How dare they schedule an exam for the same afternoon as a beach party.


Suffice to say I had less explaining to do for the other results which was a relief to say the least.

We should not under-estimate the stress that our young people can be under surrounding national exams. Having a piece of paper to prove your grades – assuming the news was good – was often a comfort that the modern way of logging onto a website does not give.

Especially when that website can't cater for huge numbers of users all at once, as was the case last year when NCEA results came out and thousands of young folk could not access their marks as the technology crumbled under the weight of the demand upon it.

The NZQA tried to be coy this year, refusing to say when the results would go live – hoping to spread the load over several days.

More than 60,000 students had logged in to check their results by 11.30am yesterday, including almost 28,000 in the first hour between 7am and 8am. For the most part students got their results, save for a handful who were tripped up by wrong passwords.

But that does not justify a dubious decision to withhold important information that tens of thousands of students were keen for.

A better approach is to fix the technology or go back to snail mail.