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NCEA Confidence Crisis Challenge for New Minister

Crisis of Confidence in NCEA Key Challenge for New Minister

The crisis of confidence in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is a critical challenge for the new Associate Minister of Education David Benson-Pope.

The crisis is revealed in a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) survey whose results have been reported in the New Zealand Herald this morning.

The survey shows rapidly dropping credibility for the NCEA among employers and the general public.

NCEA is the only qualification for the vast majority of New Zealand students and for its credibility to fall as reported is a crisis for New Zealand students – particularly those from low income communities.

NCEA credibility has suffered from its inception by –

Educationally based concerns about breaking subjects up into small compartmentalised units for assessment purposes Widely fluctuating results from year to year for the same “standard” Students receiving “bubble gum” credits at level 1 NCEA for picking up litter etc Lack of consistency in NZQA policy on schools reporting “Not Achieved” results The debacle at Cambridge High School NCEA must be seen to be a credible qualification by students, parents and the wider community. However the NZQA survey shows that more than one third of employers say the results are not useful and that different schools have different standards.

This crisis in credibility means that universities, polytechs and employers may begin to take more notice of the school a person attended rather than the NCEA credits they achieved. In other words the “school tie” could take over from NCEA results as a measure of educational value. This would be utterly disastrous and would impact most seriously on students in schools in low income communities who work particularly hard to achieve a NCEA qualifications.

This crisis must be addressed urgently by the new minister. It cannot be left to chance.

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