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Reason 3,042 why the NCEA should be dumped

Immediate Release
Sunday, 30 January 2005

Reason 3,042 why the NCEA should be dumped

New Zealand students seeking entry to specialist degree courses across the Tasman are being severely disadvantaged by the NCEA, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

“In the recent past, Kiwis could apply for Australian universities and study there paying Australian rates. Most Australian universities use a form of competitive entry scheme. For example, in NSW this is based on an applicant's UAI score, which is a ranked measure of a student's ability – a UAI of 96 indicates the student is in the top four percent of the student population, as determined by their performance in the externally tested HSC exams.

“For courses such as medicine, dentistry and law, UAI scores in the mid to high 90s are a requisite for entry.

“However, Australian universities can't use the NCEA to measure a student's peer ranking. Only students who have sat either the International Baccalaureate or the Cambridge exams can get a UAI score as the admission body can set a conversion between these exams and the results of the NSW exams”.

Miss Coddington said Australian universities are finding NCEA results meaningless because even if someone gets the highest award, it is so broad that it cannot be converted into a ranking. As a result, Kiwi students with NCEA scores cannot now enter university in NSW via the general admission process, and are unlikely to be ever considered for courses requiring a high UAI for entry, unless they have Baccalaureate or Cambridge qualifications.

“This is extremely unfair on those students in New Zealand, whose parents don't have the luxury of choice to send them to a school offering external exams. If they want to do a general degree it's not such a problem. But in Australia there are specialist degrees not offered in New Zealand that our youngsters will now find it almost impossible to access, such as undergraduate degrees in forensic science, aeronautical engineering, and others.

“Yet again New Zealand as a nation suffers a loss because of the stupidity and politically correct madness in our education system that believes self-esteem matters more than striving for excellence.

“The National Party introduced this madness. Let's hope when Dr Brash delivers his big education speech this year National will come out of the closet and call for the NCEA to be dumped,” Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

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