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What is the NCEA?

What is the NCEA?

From 2002, the NCEA will become the main qualification for senior secondary school students.

* It will be available at Level 1 for year 11 (fifth form) students in 2002. Level 2 will be phased in in 2003 and Level 3 in 2004.

* Although the exams will remain, the School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate and University Bursaries awards will be replaced by the NCEA.

* Scholarship awards will continue at Level 3, to recognise the achievements of outstanding students.

Why is the NCEA being introduced?

* New technology and new ways of working require people who are more highly skilled and better qualified.

* Our schools have moved to equip students to meet these challenges, but the qualifications system that reports students' achievement has not.

* Students stay on longer and have far more choices, and New Zealand needs a qualifications system that can recognise and report a broad range of achievement, in detail, to students, parents and employers.

* External examinations will remain, at years 11 and 13 at least, and possibly in year 12 (form 6).

* The subject content and methods of teaching and learning will not change.

How has the NCEA been designed?

Guided by extensive consultation since early 1999, including all New Zealand secondary schools and teachers, the NCEA is designed to:

* Be clear about the standards expected in each subject. Expert panels are developing achievement standards for all school subjects. Unit standards from the National Qualifications Framework may also contribute credit towards an NCEA.

* Be academically stretching and show the differences between good, very good, and truly excellent achievement. Students will receive credit, merit or excellence grades for achievement standards they accomplish, as well as marks for those who are externally examined.

* Allow students to work towards a qualification at the pace that suits them best.

* Allow students to gain credit for skills and knowledge that aren't suited to exams, such as laboratory skills.

* Provide a better foundation for further study and the world of work by allowing students to take on a variety of studies they need for their future.

How does the NCEA work?

* To complete an NCEA students must earn credits, by meeting standards in their chosen subjects.

* Each standard will be worth a number of credits. A total of 80 credits will be needed to qualify for a Level 1 NCEA. (A typical year 11, or fifth form, course would lead to a possible 120 credits). Credits may be earned from:

* External assessment (including fifth form exams) against achievement standards for school subjects.

* Internal assessment against achievement standards for school subjects.

* Internal assessment against unit standards in industry driven subjects. For More Information:

* Check our website at

* Contact the Qualifications Development Group of the Ministry at 04 471 0668

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