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FAQs Year 11 Programme

What’s changed in the Year 11 curriculum?
Scots has reduced the number of credits offered in NCEA Level 1 to provide space for a combination of traditional and future focussed skills. The Year 11 curriculum will have three key components:

  • Five full-year subjects
  • Two half-year options
  • A collaborative project.

Teaching skills such as collaboration and critical thinking are a focus of this new curriculum that will provide the 21st century skills students need to succeed both in school and later in life.

Why is Scots College making these changes?
Students currently gain far more credits than they need. That means teachers are preparing students for a constant cycle of assessment instead of teaching students how to learn, problem solve and think critically. Students are stressed and there isn’t enough time to teach the other skills they’ll need to succeed in the Senior School and life after Scots. We’re making these changes so students can focus on learning, rather than assessment. 

What are these future-focussed skills and why are they important?
Our new curriculum uses a mixture of project-based learning and more traditional methods to teach critical thinking, problem solving and working in teams. Parents with children who’ve been through the middle school will be familiar with the MYP programme with its approaches to learning and as a course that encourages students to make connections between their subjects and the real world. What we’re talking about for Year 11 is a higher level of that with a measurement framework that lets parents measure their son’s progress and without the stress of constant assessment.

Why are they important?
Our world is changing rapidly and technology is constantly disrupting work places. This means students need skills to help them deal with uncertainty and change. By teaching these skills, we provide our students with the best possible education to help them excel in life beyond Scots.

How has the curriculum been developed?
Teachers have identified key skills taught in the New Zealand curriculum and IBDP and used these skills as a starting point for each course. We are developing courses based on how the course will be taught and the outcome sought – the emphasis is on learning rather than assessment. You can read the Year 11 course content online here.

Are staff prepared for these changes?
The College continues to invest in professional development for all staff to ensure they are supported through this change. This includes a course with the 21C Skills Lab, which gives teachers the opportunity to upskill in design thinking. Each department has worked together in dedicated sessions to develop and write course plans.

How many credits do you offer in NCEA Level 1?
Approximately 40 credits focussed on numeracy and literacy requirements and making sure students have those core skills for Years 12 and 13.  At the moment, students need 80 credits to achieve NCEA Level 1. However, students who pass NCEA Level 2 are automatically awarded NCEA Level 1. This means almost all of our students will achieve both qualifications at the end of Year 12.

Can students progress to NCEA Level 2 or the IBDP without Level 1?
Yes. Students do not need NCEA Level 1 to study towards Level 2 or the IBDP. Our updated curriculum provides students with the skills they need for further secondary study and for life after Scots.

Will this impact my child’s University Entrance?
No. Level 1 is not required for University Entrance. Students are required to sit a certain number of numeracy and literacy credits, which they get as a priority in our updated curriculum. 

Will students be prepared to sit exams in Level 2 or the IDPB?
Yes. Year 11 students sit one internal and one external assessment in each full year subject. This will help to ensure they are prepared for exams while balancing the need to focus on learning 21st century skills. This balance ensures students are better prepared for Level 2 or the IBDP.

What does the project involve and how will students choose a topic?
Projects look at a solution to a real world problem. They could cover a range of issues from technology and energy to health and culture. Students are challenged to develop important skills such as critical thinking and collaboration.

How are students assessed and how will I know they are achieving? 
Students will sit one internal and one external NCEA assessment in each full year subject, so they experience traditional assessment.

We are also exploring ways to measure 21st century skills such as collaboration, which are a focus of the new curriculum. Our aim is to make sure parents and students understand assessment and performance. As always, parents will be informed of the assessment and progress of their child.

Will Scots still offer NCEA and IBDP?
Yes, students entering Year 12 are still able to choose between studying NCEA Level 2 or the IBDP. These is no proposed change to the curriculum for students in Years 12 and 13. The new Year 11 programme better prepares them for NCEA Level 2 or the IBDP.

Are these changes being made because of the government review of NCEA Level 1? Is the College doing anything differently?
Like the government, we aim to improve student outcomes and staff wellbeing by reducing the amount of assessment and focusing on learning. We’ve been researching potential changes to NCEA Level 1 for a number of years which means we can deliver programmes far earlier than other schools which are yet to consider the issues.

We’re closely following the government review, and will ensure changes to the Scots curriculum are compatible.

How will students be motivated to do their school work with the reduction in credits?
Scots delivers a personalised education and recognises that each student is motivated in different ways. Some students are motivated by learning itself and others by the rewards, feedback, and the desire to improve. The Year 11 course will include a combination of goal setting, assessments, student and parent feedback, and meaningful and engaging learning opportunities. Students will be sitting one internal and one external in each of their five full year subjects.

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Strathmore Park
Wellington 6022
New Zealand
Scots College
PO Box 15064
Wellington 6243
New Zealand