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NZQF Overview (NCEA)

New Zealand's National Qualifications are highly regarded world-wide and students with New Zealand's National Qualifications are widely accepted in Universities around the world. The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is the national secondary school qualification that most Senior School students enter in New Zealand. NZQF consists of NCEA Achievement Standards and Unit Standards. Most courses at Kristin consist only of NCEA Achievement Standards.

Year 11 students generally enter Level 1 standards, Year 12 Level 2 and Year 13 Level 3 and a few Year 13 choose to sit Scholarship standards as well. All Year 10 Kristin students will also enter parts of this Qualification.

View the 'How NCEA Works' video from NZQA >>

Each course or subject is made up of a number of Achievement Standards or Unit Standards. Each Standard is a unit of work. For instance Mathematics AS91027 (AS1.2) is Algebra. Some of these are internally assessed and the rest are assessed by way of a 3-hour external examination in November.

Students are assessed for each standard and may gain one of the following grades:

  • Achieved
  • Merit
  • Excellence
  • Not Achieved

Each Standard is worth a set number of Credits. These generally reflect the length and content of the unit. The number of credits varies from 2 to 12 per Standard. Mathematics AS1.2 is worth 4 credits. Students gain these credits when they achieve the standard, regardless of the level of achievement. Students accumulate credits from all their courses in a given year to go towards their NCEA Certificate.

To achieve a Level 1 Certificate a student must accumulate 80 credits altogether, 10 of which must be in Numeracy (Mathematics) and 10 in Literacy (English).

To achieve a Level 2 Certificate a student must accumulate 80 credits; with at least 60 credits at level 2 or higher as well as up to 20 credits from any level.

To achieve a Level 3 certificate, students need 80 credits, with at least 60 credits at level 3 or higher plus up to 20 credits from level 2.

Endorsements

In addition, each of the above Level Certificates may be endorsed according to how well the standards have been achieved. If a student has gained Merit or better in at least 50 credits, their certificate is endorsed with a Merit. If they have gained 50 or more credits at Excellence level, their certificate is endorsed with Excellence. Similarly each course or subject may be endorsed with Merit or Excellence if the student has gained 14 credits or more with Merit or Excellence grades - with at least 3 credits from external standards and 3 from internal standards.

University Entrance

University Entrance (UE) is the minimum requirement to go to a New Zealand university. To qualify you need:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • Three subjects - at Level 3, made up of:

             o 14 credits each, in three approved subjects

  • Literacy – 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:

             o 5 credits in reading
             o 5 credits in writing

  • Numeracy – 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:

             o Achievement standards – specified achievement standards availabe through a range of subjects, or
             o Unit standards – package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627 – all three required).

Once you have met the requirements for University Entrance it will appear on your Record of Achievement.

Useful Links

Get the NZQA App >>

Understanding NCEA >>

Understanding NCEA (Brochure) >>

NCEA resources and past exam papers (TKI website) >>

University Entrance >>

How NCEA works >>

Using NCEA after school >>

NCEA in business >>

NZQA Information Sheet >>

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