Founder of the NCEA Campus tutoring service Anne Gaze says more than 20,00 secondary school students with learning difficulties are missing out on extra help with NCEA exams.
The exams start in less than two weeks and about 3,400 students will get assistance such as reader-writers, or more time to complete the examinations.
But Ms Gaze told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme the Education Ministry has estimated 17% of children need learning support, and that means there are a further 27,000 students who should have more help.
"Those that don't have the compensatory support are being set up for failure, they're not on a level playing field. It is completely wrong.
Ms Gaze says children are missing out on help because it costs too much money to assess if children qualify for that help.