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Teachers have told us that the wellbeing and success of their students relies on the relationships they build and the richness of the learning experiences they provide.

They have told us that they can only achieve this if there is a shift from an assessment focus to a more flexible student-centred learning focus.

This is a change that will take time. Some deep thinking about how NCEA works in practice may be required. Teachers also recognise that schools and kura will need support to keeping working to address existing constraints such as assessment demands, UE/Tertiary influences, and school timetabling as part of this change

They are looking to learn from examples of where this is already working well and these demands are being managed.

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

Flexibility and variety of curriculum

Aligning Principles: Coherence, Pathways, Credibility

What we've heard

"The answer to promoting coherence might be about sharing best practice in course design, not creating administrative obstacles for schools."

"NCEA is beginning to be all about getting enough credits to pass rather then enjoying the learning and having a journey take place."

Questions to ask

  • How can we support schools and kura to tailor the local curriculum, while continuing to build shared trust about what an NCEA means a learner knows and can do?
  • What practical tools or opportunities do teachers and kaiako need to be able to share and access best practice regularly?
  • How do we make sure that all the important content gets taught, without relying on NCEA assessments?

Change the balance of internal and external credits

Aligning Principles: Coherence, Wellbeing, Credibility

What we've heard

"Internals are a great way to gain credits and critical understanding of topics without the pressure of externals. Students know that their internal assessments will be testing what they have learnt on that subject, not just hoping they've retained the right bit of knowledge for a closed question during exams."

"I think that externals aren’t the problem in terms of student workload, you can do as much or as little revision as you like. Internals are the thing that is a burden on me, I would prefer to have just externals - I find them much easier to prepare for."

Questions to ask

  • How do we cater for learner preferences for different types of assessment, while maintaining fairness, consistency and credibility?
  • How do we bring the best features of exams such as perceived validity and opportunities for surprise, into internal assessments?
  • How do we bring the best features of internals such as longer-form practical work and more time to think into external assessment?

Change focus from credit accumulation or minimum credits, to learning

Aligning Principles: Coherence, Pathways, Credibility

What we've heard

"Lessen focus on credits. They provide the wrong incentives for students to collect credits [and in some cases copying/modelling exemplars] rather than on focusing on their own work and learning."

"[Review] the whole idea around internal assessments. Everything is about how many credits you can get, not the learning behind it."

Questions to ask

  • How could we build a shared understanding of NCEA success that moves beyond counting credits?
  • How do we reduce the focus on credits while keeping students motivated to learn?
  • How do we make it easier for teachers to use formative assessment informed by NCEA standards, without creating additional workload?