NZQA | Scots College


National Certificate of Educational Achievement – NCEA

NCEA has three levels, Level 1 (Year 11), Level 2 (Year 12), Level 3 (Year 13) and there is also NZ Scholarship for the most able Level 3 students.

At least 50% of the year’s work in most subjects is externally assessed, in general by means of a three hour examination, and the remaining 50% (depending on the subject) is internally assessed. Scholarship is assessed purely by means of a three hour examination (or a folio of work in the case of Graphics and Visual Art).

How does it work in practice?

The curriculum content of each subject at each level is divided up into about five to eight ‘topics’ and each of these topics is either internally or externally assessed.

For each topic there are Achievement Standards (AS) which specifies exactly what the students have to do in order to ‘pass’, earning credits towards the NCEA. For each standard there are three levels of achievement: achieved (for the average student), achieved with merit (for the better students) and achieved with excellence (for the top students).

A few of the subjects at Scots College are assessed by Unit Standards (US) which are similar to achievement standards except that there is no division into achieved, merit, excellence, and these are always internally assessed. Credits achieved via units standards have the same status as those from achievement standards as far as NCEA is concerned.

To achieve NCEA students must accumulate a certain number of credits (see below). Each student’s official annual results (issued in May of the following year) will show:

  • Credits gained from the standards (both external and internal)
  • Grades (achieved, merit or excellence) for each standard
  • Examination results for the externally assessed standards
  • the level of NCEA completed

After students have left school, they are further able to complete or upgrade their NCEA level. NCEA credits can be gained in most courses at polytechnics and colleges of education, and in accredited private and government training establishments and on-job training programmes.

NCEA results are recognised by tertiary institutions (both NZ and overseas) and employers. For some purposes, internal results may be more relevant; for others, examination results may be more relevant. But for most purposes a combination of all results will give a clear picture of a student’s achievements.

NCEA Level 1

To achieve NCEA Level 1, a student needs to gain 80 credits from all his subjects, with each subject being worth 24 credits. So a student doing six subjects needs to get 80 out of the maximum of 144 credits on offer. A student must gain ten credits each from English and maths, to indicate a degree of literacy and numeracy.

To qualify for a full NCEA level 2 course, a student needs to have achieved NCEA Level 1. For individual subjects, a student needs to gain 16 out of 24 credits at Level 1 (plus any stated prerequisites) to guarantee entry into the same subject at Level 2, but as always, individual circumstances will be taken into account.

Year 11 Curriculum Review

Currently the College is undergoing a Year 11 curriculum review. At Scots we aim to provide an education that equips students with the necessary skills for a 21st Century life. Technology continues to disrupt our workforce, fundamentally changing the skills students will need after College. They need to be balanced, compassionate, motivated, resilient and socially aware. Teaching character and citizenship is part of giving students the skills and knowledge to be successful at school and after they leave.

Scots is updating the Year 11 Curriculum to keep pace with changes and make sure we provide the best possible education, equipping them for future education and work.

Year 11 students in 2019 will be taught a curriculum focussed on learning, not assessment.

To do this the number of credits offered in Level 1 at Scots will be reduced in favour of creating a holistic programme that alongside traditional subjects offers project based learning provide future focussed skills and better well being for students and teachers. Scots currently offers up to 120 credits to Year 11 students. We will reduce this following consultation with our community.

NCEA Levels 2,3

To achieve Levels 2 or 3, 80 credits are needed – 60 credits at that level and a further 20 credits which could come from a lower level

Endorsement for merit, excellence

NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 qualifications are endorsed ‘with excellence’ or ‘with merit’ if at least 50 of the 80 credits are gained with excellence / merit respectively. Subjects can also be endorsed if a student gains 14 or more credits at excellence / merit respectively.

University Entrance (NCEA level 3, English level 2, Maths level 1)

Another important qualification is University Entrance, which entitles a student to a place at university. To achieve this, 14 credits are needed at Level 3 in each of three subjects. Also needed are 10 English credits at Level 2 (5 reading, 5 writing) as well as 10 maths credits at Level 1. Please note: this minimum UE Standard no longer guarantees a place at University. Students should refer to each University’s prerequisites

NZ Scholarship (Year 13)

In addition the most able students are encouraged to enter Scholarship in up to three subjects; each subject (except Visual Arts and Graphics) has just one examination. The Scholarship exams occur concurrently with the Level 3 exams in November and this will mean several exams in a short space of time. A decision about whether or not to enter Scholarship needs to be made early in Term 3.

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