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The National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) were introduced between 2002-2004. They are our major school leaving qualification. Every year around 120,000 students gain an NCEA.

Read this page in Te Reo Māori.

NCEA was established as a flexible, inclusive model and has become one of the most open and transparent school qualification systems in the world. Instead of passing and failing a set percentage of students every year, any learner who shows that they have met the standard succeeds.

NCEA has three qualification levels - Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.

While NCEA is traditionally seen as a schooling qualification, many students get NCEA in other settings, like tertiary education organisations, or in work places through industry training.

More about NCEA on the NZQA website.

What we’ve heard - Kua rongo mātou

NCEA is designed to empower students to pursue their passions through relevant learning tailored to their strengths.

Some of the challenges we have heard:

  • It can be hard to understand NCEA
  • NCEA could encourage more learning based on the curriculum
  • Some students do more assessment than they need to
  • Not every student has the same access to quality learning that responds to their identity and culture
  • Timetabling and moderation practice can limit innovation
  • Teachers don’t always have time or resources to tailor courses or learning programmes
  • All students should have the same opportunities to succeed