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NCEA Information

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is New Zealand’s national school qualification. It is a qualification on New Zealand's National Qualifications Framework (NQF) that sits alongside more than 900 other national qualifications used throughout tertiary education and industry training. Students at school are also able to attain many of these other specialist qualifications as they complete NCEA.

A selection of achievement and/or unit standards is studied in each subject, with each standard being worth a set number of “credits”. The standards offered in each subject are listed on this website.

Under NCEA students can be assessed through both external examinations and internal assessment. Some courses have no external examinations, and some have up to 3 achievement standards assessed in external examinations.

Both internal assessment results as well as external examination results contribute credits towards NCEA and other qualifications on the NQF. There are rigorous external moderation checks to ensure that internal assessments are done fairly and consistently across New Zealand schools.

Achievement Standards

For every achievement standard, the student result will be Achieved, Merit, Excellence or Not Achieved.  A student who receives Achieved, Merit or Excellence will gain the credits for that achievement standard. The number of credits for each standard does not increase if a student achieves Merit or Excellence, but Merit and Excellence results, especially at Level 3, are likely to have a significant effect on whether or not a student is eligible to enter certain university courses. (See the later section on “Rank Scores”.)

Unit Standards

For every unit standard, students will receive either Achieved or Not Achieved.

The credits for unit standards count toward NCEA in the same way that credits for achievement standards do.