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The National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), like all qualifications listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, are required to be reviewed every five years.  The NCEA Review engagement across Aotearoa New Zealand in 2018 culminated in seven changes being identified to strengthen the qualification and outcome for young people.  The Cabinet agreed in-principle with the changes and the Minister announced the NCEA Change Package in May 2019. The Minister currently intends to seek Cabinet's approval early 2020 to make these in-principle decisions final.

The Review of Achievement Standards (RAS) is a key mechanism to enable the shifts and outcomes for a number of the changes from across the NCEA Review change package, including parts of Change 1 Make NCEA more accessible, Change 2 Mana ōrite mō te mātauranga Māori, Change 4 Have fewer, larger standards and Change 7 Keep Level 1 as an optional level.

The NCEA changes and Review of Achievement Standards are a chance to re-think how students experience senior secondary education. They build on the extensive engagement and co-design we did with New Zealanders interested in NCEA during 2018. We have been designing the Review of Achievement Standards (RAS) blueprint through a pilot stage where we have selected four subjects (Science (L1), Visual Arts (L1), Religious Studies and English) to run through the process ahead of the Review of Achievement Standards in 2020, to make sure that we test our assumptions and are ready for the full development process in 2020.

This pilot has two phases:
Phase 1 (ends 1 March 2020) – includes the initial development of a Learning Matrix, Assessment Matrix (and for Science, draft Achievement Standards and potential learning and assessment activities) and a Rationale document that explains them. We are now seeking comment on these early drafts.

Phase 2 (February – 24 April 2020) – user testing, incorporation of feedback and further development of these materials.

In Phase 1, the pilot has followed a process to develop the draft documents. A high-level outline of the process is below:

The Ministry worked on a curriculum refresh with curriculum experts. These teams developed draft materials including:

  • A revised learning area essence statement
  • Identified high level significant learning for each learning area

Next, the RAS Subject Expert Groups (SEGs) were tasked with developing draft material that meets the NCEA change package parameters. Specifically:

  • further develop and refine the broad learning area significant learning into subject specific significant learning
  • use this significant learning to develop a draft Learning Matrix at (one or more Curriculum levels)
  • use the learning matrix to develop a draft Assessment Matrix (at one or more NCEA levels)

And for Science;

  • begin development on draft Achievement Standards and potential learning and assessment activities

The Subject Expert Groups include a diversity of secondary teachers, Māori and Pacific people, tertiary and industry representation as appropriate, and NZQA as additional members.

How will this feedback be used?

The information from this feedback period will be used to inform further development of the draft materials. There will be an opportunity to comment again at a second feedback phase later in the review and tested through school trials planned for 2021. We have released this material at an early stage to get your initial feedback as to whether we’re on the right track.

The feedback needs to focus on the identified significant learning and proposed aligned assessment. We also want to know if the content, structure, and format of this material is clear.

Important to note:

  • This is a pilot process, as a result the documents are in early draft form.
  • There are only four subjects to provide feedback on. You can choose to comment on one or all four.
  • The documents are not in their final format and might differ in appearance to cater for individual subject requirements.
  • There are more documents to comment on in Science.
  • There may be specific questions within the questionnaire that the SEGs would like feedback on in particular.

For further information, or if you have any questions, please contact ras.review@education.govt.nz


You need to respond by 5.00pm 1 March, 2020.


Click on the links below to begin

To view and provide feedback on the Science materials

To view and provide feedback on the Religious Studies materials

To view and provide feedback on the Visual Arts materials

To view and provide feedback on the English materials

To view FAQs for the draft materials