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Criteria set for NCEA if lockdown impacts learning

To help provide certainty for the many senior secondary students eyeing up end of year exams, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has today laid out the criteria under which changes could be made to school qualifications.

It includes re-introducing Learning Recognition Credits, and adjustments to NCEA endorsements and University Entrance to recognise the disruption COVID-19 can have.

“The wellbeing of students is our priority – particularly at those schools which have already experienced COVID-19 in their school community this year,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Teachers are working hard to keep students on track, but those in their senior years will be especially concerned about their opportunity to achieve NCEA if lockdown continues.

“If schools and kura are disrupted by Alert Levels 3 or 4 for 20 or more school days, Learning Recognition Credits will become available at the same rates and levels as originally announced in 2020,” Chris Hipkins says.

If this threshold is met, students would be entitled to one extra Learning Recognition Credit for every 5 credits they earn towards their NCEA through assessment. Students working towards NCEA Level 1 could earn up to 10 additional credits, while those at Levels 2 or 3 would be eligible for up to 8 additional credits.

“If Alert Levels 3 or 4 are in place for a total of 20 or more school days, the thresholds for Certificate Endorsements, Course Endorsements and University Entrance will also be adjusted to reflect those announced in June last year,” Chris Hipkins said.

This means Course Endorsements would require 12 credits at Achieved, Merit or Excellence level, rather than 14. Students would still need to achieve at least 3 credits from external assessment and 3 from internal assessment, where these requirements usually apply. To receive a Certificate Endorsement, students would need to receive 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, instead of the usual 50.

For University Entrance, students would need to achieve 12 – rather than 14 – credits in each of 3 University Entrance Approved Subjects. Students would still need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet literacy and numeracy requirements.

“These adjusted settings recognise the real impacts on students during lockdown. The additional credits are only earned in proportion to the standards students achieve through internal and external assessments,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Signalling these changes now is intended to give students confidence that they will continue to have a fair opportunity to attain NCEA, even if they need to spend more time away from the classroom.

“These changes are in addition to delays to end of year exam and portfolio submission dates, and other adjustments to assessments already in place.

“I would like to recognise universities and Universities New Zealand, school principals, teachers and my NCEA Professional Advisory Group, who have worked with the Ministry of Education and NZQA to move quickly to support students.”

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