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By achieving equity and inclusion for diverse learners we will improve wellbeing and make sure everyone can realise and demonstrate their capabilities as they move from schooling.

Respondents have suggested that to do this involves:

  • training and resourcing teachers to support students with specific needs
  • comprehensive tracking of student needs
  • records that follow a young person throughout their schooling
  • school governance and systems that recognise the need to accommodate for full inclusion.

Below are some of the things we have heard, and some questions that may be useful for your conversations around the future of NCEA.

Remove Level 1

Aligning Principles: Coherence, Wellbeing, Equity

What we've heard

"By removing the Level 1 qualification, the system would give space for teachers to develop for Year 11 much more innovative courses of the kind that they are currently free to provide in Years 9 and 10."

Questions to ask

  • If Level 1 was removed, what support would be needed to ensure every young person was ready to succeed in Level 2?
  • How do we continue to meet the needs of the 10% of young people who leave with NCEA Level 1 as their highest qualification?
  • What alternative programmes to NCEA Level 1 might schools want to offer? How could these be supported?

Change school reporting

Aligning Principles: Wellbeing, Credibility

What we've heard

"The pressure in schools to sit the internals early in the year, for reporting. Time is needed for teaching, learning and exploring before assessments. Students get over anxious about assessments as they feel constantly bombarded by them, often with many bottle necking."

Questions to ask

  • How can we support schools to spread out assessment, while still giving young people opportunities for reassessment?
  • How do we give learners and their family and whānau access to timely information about progress so they can be confident they are on track?
  • What might larger, more comprehensive standards require? Could subjects be broken into larger chunks that assess multiple things?

Ask students what they want – then co-design

Aligning Principles: Coherence, Wellbeing, Equity

What we've heard

"The intention of NCEA is a good way to recognise student achievement and ability to do something. It is good that assessments can be offered across a broad range of subjects and many different tasks can be offered to meet an assessment standard. Education in New Zealand is broad, can de diverse and is a positive step forward into the future it is however tiring for students from L1 through to and including L3 NCEA."

"Flexibility. The syllabus is wide, and we can write assessments that allow kids to achieve in a huge variety of ways. I would say that the main limit on NCEA's effectiveness as a teaching tool (as opposed to an assessment one) has been teachers' paranoia about whether or not they're complying with NZQA routines and bureaucracy. So we [use pre-approved] lacklustre tasks that create a good paper trail and we ask the kids to provide too much documentation just to be on the safe side, killing any germ of an exciting idea that might have been there to start with."

Questions to ask

  • How can we help learners to take more control over their learning, without leaving them without adequate support?
  • How can we make teachers more confident to innovate, without compromising the credibility of the qualification?