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English still doesn't get NCEA, confuses figures

12 September 2006

English still doesn't get NCEA, confuses figures

Confusing NCEA with school certificate, and misrepresenting official figures on student achievement, is Bill English's latest contribution to the education debate, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

"Once again Mr English is confusing NCEA with the old pass-fail school certificate system," Steve Maharey. "His claim today that the number of students leaving school without formal qualifications has risen in the last year is misleading and shows he just doesn't get the NCEA system.

"The introduction of NCEA has seen a significant drop in the proportion of students leaving school with no or very low qualifications and an increase in the standards students are achieving.

"The facts are that: - In 2005, 33 per cent of students left school with NCEA level 3 compared to 32 per cent in 2004 and 27 per cent in 2002 - The percentage of students staying at school until Year 13 continues to increase. Year 13 was the last year of schooling for 59 per cent of leavers in 2005 compared with 58 per cent in 2004 and 57 per cent in 2003 - The number of students leaving with little or no formal attainment (13 or less credits) has fallen from 18.2% in 2002 to around 13% in 2005.

"A major advantage of NCEA is that those leaving with partial attainment can still use their credits build towards a qualification. In 2004 nearly 80 percent of students in this cohort did just that, putting their credits towards apprenticeships and polytechnic courses.

"Mr English is characterising NCEA as a system where students either pass or fail a qualification, in the way they did for School Certificate and Bursary.

"He is intent on undermining a system that was introduced with broad cross-party support, has the endorsement of the education sector, and is contributing to higher standards and more opportunities for all students."


·Mr English's claim relies on information from a table that makes it clear that the figures are not directly comparable due to changes in methodology.

·The number of students leaving with little or no formal attainment has in fact fallen from 18.2% in 2002 to around 13% in 2005.

·Those with 14 or more credits, but less than the 80 required for level 1 NCEA has fallen from around 15% in 2002 to around 8% in 2004. This figure is around 15% for 2005 a change methodology means it is not comparable with figures for 2004. It includes figures for Cambridge International and other overseas awards not included in previous years.


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