Understanding NCEA

New Zealand's National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) are national qualifications for senior secondary school students.

How NCEA works

NCEA challenges students of all abilities in all learning areas, and shows credits and grades for separate skills and knowledge. It enables students to gain credits from both traditional school curriculum areas and alternative programmes. For more information, see How NCEA works.

Changes to NCEA and UE for 2020

To recognise the disruption caused to teaching, learning and assessment as a result of COVID-19, several changes were made to NCEA and University Entrance for 2020. Additional changes to NCEA applied for students in Auckland, and students outside of Auckland who met specific thresholds were also able to access this support.

These changes do not apply to the current (2021) school year.

An NCEA achieved or UE awarded in 2020 will be regarded the same as one achieved in any other year, allowing you to progress to the next level of study (including university for UE recipients) in 2021 or beyond. 

Using Learning Recognition Credits earned in 2020

Students who earned Learning Recognition Credits in 2020 but did not attain an NCEA will be able to use all their credits (including their LR credits) towards the same level of NCEA in 2021.

Students who earned Learning Recognition Credits at a higher level than the level of the NCEA they attained in 2020 will be able to use their Learning Recognition Credits towards NCEA qualifications (up to the level of the LR credits) in 2021.

NCEA and the Whānau workshops

NCEA and the Whānau is a programme of free workshops that have been designed to help whānau better understand NCEA.

When parents and whānau understand NCEA and are engaged in their child’s learning journeys, young people are more likely to succeed. For more information see NCEA and the Whānau

NCEA ma le Pasifika workshops

To help Pasifika families to better understand NCEA, we have designed NCEA ma le Pasifika workshops. This is a programme of free workshops designed specifically for Pasifika parents and their families. When parents and family are engaged in their children's learning journey, they are more likely to succeed in school. For more information see NCEA ma le Pasifika Workshops

NCEA and business

Employers need to understand the secondary qualifications system in New Zealand, in order to understand the information that prospective employees present them with. For more information, see NCEA in business.

Using NCEA after leaving school

NCEA and other national certificates are recognised by employers and used as the benchmark for selection by universities and polytechnics. NCEA is also readily accepted overseas, including by universities. When applying for employment, prospective employees can create a summary of their results from their Record of Achievement. For more information, see Using NCEA after leaving school.

Awarding of NCEA level 2 after leaving school

Many students are also completing NCEA – often at Level 2 – in attempting new qualifications while undertaking tertiary study. For more information see Awarding of NCEA Level 2 after leaving school.

History of NCEA

Since its introduction in 2002, the NCEA qualification system has progressively been improved through a number of initiatives. For more information, see History of NCEA.

 
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