NCEA overview

Each year, you study courses or subjects.

Achievement in each subject may be assessed through several standards, with each standard covering a specific set of skills and knowledge.

For example, a Science standard is to investigate the implications of electricity and magnetism for everyday life.

Schools use internal and external assessments to measure how well you meet these standards.

When you achieve a standard, you gain credits. You must achieve a certain number of credits to gain NCEA.

There are 3 levels of NCEA. In general, students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school.

Achievement at each level or in a course is recognised with Endorsements.


NCEA changes

You may know that NCEA is changing. As a student, you might notice a stronger focus on Literacy and Numeracy (or te reo Matatini and Pāngarau).

You might also notice changes in how you are assessed, with more assessments being done online or submitted to NZQA through our website.

What you need for NCEA in 2024 and 2025

For NCEA in 2024 and 2025, you will need:

60 credits at the Level (or above) of the qualification you are working towards
Literacy or Te Reo Matatini – 10 credits from Literacy or Te Reo Matatini standards, or from a list of specified standards in a range of subjects Numeracy or Pāngarau – 10 credits from Numeracy or Pāngarau standards or a list of specified standards in a range of subjects.

You only need to meet the literacy or te reo matatini and numeracy or pāngarau requirements once, and you do not need to attempt them again for other levels of NCEA. If you haven’t finished your NCEA at the end of the year, you can still start working towards the next level.


What else is changing?

What else is changing

Schools will use new standards when they develop courses for NCEA Level 1 in 2024, NCEA Level 2 in 2026 and NCEA Level 3 in 2027.

There will still be exams at the end of the year, but you might also complete external assessments during the year, for example submitting reports, portfolios or kete manarua, or attempting Common Assessment Activities for literacy, numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau.

More external assessments will be done online or uploaded to NZQA through their website.

Literacy, numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau assessments may be offered from Year 9.

What is staying the same

Any credits you have already earned can be used towards the new NCEA. You can still use Unit Standards and Achievement Standards towards NCEA.

Course and certificate endorsement requirements remain the same. You can still study at different levels of NCEA in the same year.

If you met the literacy and numeracy requirements in 2023 or earlier, you do not need to attempt them again.

There is still no time limit on completing NCEA. If you have part of a qualification, you can return to study at any time.

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