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The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is standards based. National standards have been set in each area of learning. When students achieve those standards they earn ‘credits’ towards their qualification. They can also achieve Merit or Excellence grades showing the level to which the standard has been met. In each area of learning, different aspects of skills, knowledge and understanding are assessed separately; for example in English, creative writing skills are assessed separately from research skills or formal writing skills.


The Credit Requirement

Standards have different credit values depending on the amount of learning involved.  Most full-year subject courses will offer from 18–22 credits so that girls taking six subjects at Year 12 will be entering for approximately 120 credits.

To be awarded the National Certificate of Educational Achievement Level 2 in 2022 a student will either require 80 credits at Level 2 or higher OR 60 credits at Level 2 or higher plus 20 credits from Level 1 and at Level 3 60 credits and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher.

In each subject there is a mix of internal and external assessment using achievement standards, the ratio of which varies from subject to subject. For internal assessment there is a national system of moderation to ensure that schools meet national standards and, to facilitate this, samples of marked student work are checked by national panels of subject experts.To be awarded NCEA Level 2 in 2022, a student must achieve 80 credits, 60 of which must be from Level 2 standards, and have met the Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements. To be awarded Level 3 of the NCEA, 80 credits are again required, with at least 60 having been achieved at Level 3 standard. In each case, 20 credits can come from the level below to make a total of 80.

Skills and knowledge that can be assessed by examination are included in normal end of year examinations administered by NZQA.  Students will receive formative assessment in class throughout the year to prepare them for these examinations. An annual Record of Achievement will be provided by NZQA showing detailed results for all credits gained. When a National Certificate is attained it will show the overall level of achievement e.g. NCEA Level 2.

Subject Endorsement

A student’s strength in individual courses is recognised with a course endorsement of Merit or Excellence.  Students will gain an endorsement for a course where they achieve:

  1. or more credits at Merit or Excellence at the lower level that supports the endorsement
  2. at least 3 credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards
  3. sufficient credits in a single school year

Note: Physical Education at all levels and Visual Arts at Level 3 are exempt from condition 2 above, as they do not have external standards.

Certificate Endorsement

Students are able to gain NCEA certificates with Merit or Excellence if they have performed at the appropriate level overall.  For a certificate to be endorsed with Merit, 50 credits at Merit or Excellence will be required at the same level, or higher, on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), as the certificate being awarded.  For a certificate to be endorsed with Excellence, 50 credits at Excellence will be required at the same level, or higher, on the NQF, as the certificate being awarded.

Information for Parents

At the beginning of the academic year all students entering NCEA courses will have access to information outlining the policies associated with the qualification on the college intranet, “INSITE”. This covers issues such as authenticity, missed or late work, further assessment opportunities (where applicable) and the derived grade process.  It is vital that students and parents/caregivers read this information carefully and seek clarification if necessary.

Numeracy and Literacy requirements 

Students in the SMC Foundation Diploma 2022 will be assessed for the numeracy and literacy credits in Year 12, under the revised system. This requires 10 credits for numeracy and 10 for literacy.