The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the national qualification for senior secondary school students.

This qualification challenges students of all abilities in all learning areas and shows credits and grades for separate skills and knowledge. Under this system, students are able to gain credits from both traditional school curriculum areas and alternative programmes.

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

  • In Years 11, 12 and 13, students study a number of courses or subjects.
  • Skills and knowledge are assessed against a number of standards in each subject/course.
  • A range of internal and external assessments are used by schools 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 at each year level.
  • There are three levels of NCEA certificate, generally students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school.
  • High achieving students are rewarded at each level through Certificate Endorsement with Merit or Excellence. Course endorsement is also recognised with students able to be awarded Merit and Excellence endorsement in a subject

NZQA has a formal quality assurance process. This is to ensure that each standard is assessed fairly across all students, regardless of the school they attend. This includes internal moderation, external moderation and MNA system checks. MNA reports for specific schools can be found here.

Digital exams are offered in a number of subjects, below is a useful link for students and parents:

Self-guided tutorial for digital exams – If you haven’t already, check out our self-guided tutorial to help you prepare for digital exams. There are 10 short videos that can be completed in 45 minutes.

Scholarship is a monetary award to recognise top secondary school students. Scholarship exams are externally assessed and are an additional set of exams. They do not attract credits, nor contribute towards a qualification, but the fact that a student has gained a Scholarship appears on their Record of Achievement.

All students are assessed against standards that are registered on the Directory of Assessment Standards. Each standard describes what a student needs to know, or be able to achieve, in order to meet the standards. Once they have met the standard, they will gain the credits attached to it – Standards Information.

There are three levels of NCEA Certificates and at each level, students must achieve a certain number of credits in order to gain the relevant Certificate. These credits can be gained over more than one year. More information about the standards and credits can be found here.

Useful information for parents and students can be found in our NCEA information booklet, which can be found here

The NCEA Exam Timetable for 2022 can be found here

Useful Links

For additional information on NCEA please follow the links:

New Zealand Qualifications Authority

How NCEA Works

Waitaki Girls High School Contacts