NCEA Levels 1, 2 & 3

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (or NCEA) is a qualification for New Zealand senior secondary school students, awarded at Levels 1, 2 or 3. Nearly all subjects are assessed both externally and internally. The main external assessment method is external examinations (marked outside the school) and folios (Art/Graphics/Technology) are also examined externally. All subjects have parts that are internally assessed (marked within the school). Internal assessment results gained within the school count as FINAL results towards the NCEA. Internal assessment is used for parts of the curriculum where a written examination is unsuitable, e.g. skills, practical performances (Music/Drama), science experiments etc.

NCEA is administered by NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority) who also run the external examinations. Although the external examinations are on the school campus, an Exam Centre Manager employed by NZQA oversees the examinations, not the school. All NZQA rules and regulations must be adhered to in everything to do with the NCEA.

NZQA checks all schools’ internal assessment activities and procedures to ensure that internal assessment across all New Zealand schools is fair, consistent and at the national standard. Samples of work from each subject are sent to NZQA to be rated (checked), to ensure that NPGHS is marking to the national standard.

How does NCEA work?

Each subject has a number of Achievement Standards which are assessed externally and internally and Unit Standards which are assessed internally. Each Standard has clear criteria stating the level of knowledge and skills required to meet the standard. Each Standard is worth a set number of credits. If you meet the standard you receive the credits.

Achievement Standards are recognised at:

  • an unsatisfactory level: (N) Not achieved
  • a satisfactory level: (A) Achieved
  • a very good level: (M) Merit
  • an outstanding level: (E) Excellence

The grade (A, M, E) does not affect the number of credits received. If you pass whether at A, M, or E level you receive all the available credits. The number of Ms and Es gained will however affect your grade average. NZQA awards merit and excellence endorsements for students gaining over 50 Ms or Es respectively.

How Do You Achieve An NCEA Qualification?

How Do You Achieve An NCEA Qualification?

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Year 11 students will work toward Level 1 NCEA (National Certificate of Education Achievement). Most Year 12 students will be working toward Level 2 NCEA. Usually Year 13 students will be leting their Level 3 NCEA and the University Entrance qualification. Some students will also opt to sit NZ Scholarship examinations.

NOTE: Senior students can select courses from any NCEA Level appropriate to their ability.

Students must study the Senior Curriculum Booklet for details on the most appropriate subjects and levels according to their skills, interests, abilities and future career direction. Alternative or more practically based subjects, offering a mixture of Achievement and Unit Standards, are available in several subject areas. Some students will be guided to one or more alternative subjects that are assessed mainly against Unit Standards. This will allow students to place their academic focus on the other five subjects (or less in some cases).

A range of alternative courses and vocational opunities are available to senior students including; SPEC, STAR and Gateway programmes, which may be available as a subject choice.

NCEA Student Handbook

Qualifications Student Handbook Senior-2018
Qualifications Student Handbook Y10-2018

NCEA Information Videos

Video: NCEA Explained
Video: NCEA - Monitoring Progress

NCEA Information Documents

Information for students and their parents, whanau or caregivers
View in English
View in Maori

Making Use of NCEA: a guide for senior students - Click here to view