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9 things every parent should know about NCEA

The New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement is a relatively new qualification for New Zealand. It replaced the old bursary system that parents are more familiar with. Although it's different, there is a lot to like about the new system (and a lot to learn). Here are 9 must-know facts about NCEA.

  1. E stands for Excellence
    Back in the day, if an essay or test was returned to you with an E on it, it meant failure. Not so in the new system. E stands for Excellence – the highest grade a student can attain.
  2. There are three levels
    Under the former secondary school assessment system there were three different qualifications, depending on the year of study: Fifth Form Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate and University Entrance Bursary. Although there is just one qualification now there are three different levels of study required to attain this qualification: Level 1 (Year 11); Level 2 (Year 12); Level 3 (Year 13).
  3. Quality over quantity
    In order for a student to achieve NCEA, he or she must achieve a specific number of credits in each of the levels. It’s not the quantity of credits that count, but the quality. The more Merit and Excellence credits the better. For more about results see here.
  4. Students have a choice
    Students can choose the subjects they would like to study and which may be relevant – and required – for their future career. The only compulsory elements of NCEA are each levels credit requirements.
  5. It suits all learning styles
    The new system uses both internal and external assessment methods to test students’ skills and knowledge. This caters for the different learning styles of students, as some excel in external examination environments while others don’t.
  6. Endorsements should be encouraged 
    Certificate endorsements are a way for your teen to stand out as a high achiever. This occurs when a student achieves 50 or more of the required credits at Merit or Excellence level. Endorsements can also be obtained at subject level, demonstrating a student’s prowess in a particular subject.
  7. Early credits are beneficial
    Although Level 1 doesn’t kick in until Year 11, motivated and capable students can acquire credits early (in Year 10) that they can then carry over into Year 11. Early credits can be achieved via external courses or in academic programmes, such as St Paul’s Collegiate School's Tihoi Venture School programme.
  8. Results can be monitored throughout the year
    Every secondary school student within New Zealand is issued a unique student number (NSN). Using this number, students can log in to the NZQA Learner Login system to keep abreast of the number and grade of credits they have acquired throughout the year. This can help students and parents keep track of progress and avoid any last minute angst at the end of the year.
  9. It's regognised by universities and employers in NZ and overseas
    As the official qualification for all secondary school students in New Zealand, NCEA is widely recognised – and used – by tertiary providers and employers. This means they know exactly how well a student has done in a given area and overall by looking at their Record of Achievement.

For more useful information download our eBook - Getting to grips with NCEA.

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