National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

The National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) are the main qualification for secondary school students in New Zealand. You can be confident that you can use NCEA towards future study either in New Zealand or another country. NCEA is awarded at three levels; 1, 2 and 3. Students usually gain NCEA level 1 in year 11 (aged 15), level 2 in year 12 (aged 16) and level 3 in year 13 (aged 17). NCEA is a very flexible qualification and can be personalised according to each student’s ability and interests. You may study one or more subjects at a higher level if you are very good at that subject(s). For example, if you are studying at Level 2 but are very good at Mathematics, you can study Mathematics at Level 3.

NCEA offers many subjects to suit you

Each year, you can choose from a wide range of over 40 subjects, depending on what is offered at your school. In year 11, you will probably take a broad range of subjects which might include English, Mathematics and Science and two or three other subjects. In years 12 and 13 you will start thinking about what areas you need to focus on for your future study or career. If you have a particular career in mind, you can start to match subjects to suit your future career choice.

Find out which subjects you will need from your school or the university, polytechnic, institute of technology or private training establishment (higher education providers) where you intend to study. NCEA allows schools to develop learning courses to suit students’ needs and then assess what they know against standards (the skills and knowledge that you are expected to know).

Most courses will be tested, or assessed, with a mixture of internal assessment (work that is set and marked by individual schools),and with external assessment – end-of-year external examinations that are set and marked by The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). NZQA checks that assessment is fair across all secondary schools in New Zealand.