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NCEA - What You Need to Know

Dan Russell —

In 2020, Year 11 students will be starting their journey on Level 1 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Here's some information to help you get your head around what exactly all this means for students at Linwood College. A lot has changed since the days of School Certificate, and understanding NCEA can help you support your family through this initial learning phase.

NCEA qualifications at Level 1, 2, and 3, are programmes of study that students engage with at Linwood College. Achieving in each of their subjects contributes to gaining these qualifications, which are important for gaining employment and going on to further study when they leave school. Essentially, NCEA qualifications are saying that the student has the knowledge and skills to progress to the next level, or progress to the next steps on their pathway. 

  • Each year, students study a number of courses or subjects.
  • In each subject, skills and knowledge are assessed against a number of standards. For example, a Mathematics standard could be: Apply numeric reasoning in solving problems.
  • Schools use a range of internal and external assessments to measure how well students meet these standards.
  • When a student achieves a standard, they gain a number of credits. Students must achieve a certain number of credits to gain an NCEA certificate.
  • There are three levels of NCEA certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. In general, students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school.
  • Students are recognised for high achievement at each level by gaining NCEA with Merit or NCEA with Excellence. High achievement in a course is also recognised. For more information, read about Endorsements.

NZQA has a mobile App called NCEA Guide written for parents, whānau and employers.

The App provides quick and easy access to key information about NCEA. Content can be viewed in English and Te Reo Māori.

How NCEA Works animation: English NZQA

The NCEA Guide App is free to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

We've also attached short videos that explain NCEA simply. This can be viewed in Te Reo, English, Samoan and Tongan. There's also a Guide to NCEA pamphlet attached too.