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National Certificates of Educational Achievement

In 2002 new secondary school qualifications were introduced in New Zealand. Most Onslow College students complete the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Other certificates from the New Zealand Qualifications Framework offered include the National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trade Skills (Level 1) and the National Certificate in Tourism and Travel (Introductory Skills Level 2). Very able students enter the New Zealand Scholarship examinations.

NCEAs are recognised by employers, and used for selection by universities and polytechnics, both in New Zealand and overseas.

How NCEA works

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.

More detailed information is available on the NZQA website.