National Certificate of Educational Achievement

National Certificate Of Educational Achievement

National Certificate of Educational Achievement

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The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is, since 2004, the official secondary school qualification in New Zealand.

It has three levels, corresponding to the levels within the National Qualifications Framework, and these are generally studied in each of the three final years of secondary schooling—Year 11 through to Year 13.

NCEA assessment is administered both at the school level via internal assessment and at a national level via external assessments such as examinations, and uses criterion or standard-based assessment.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority administers the NCEA.


NCEA replaced the previous secondary school qualification in a phased change from 2002 to 2004. The key difference between NCEA and the previous qualification framework is that NCEA implements a standard- or criterion-based system of assessment, whereas the previous qualifications were norm based. That is, to pass in NCEA, the student must demonstrate a certain level of knowledge (the criterion or standard), whereas, for example, to pass a School Certificate course, the student had to gain a higher grade than at least half of those sitting that course. NCEA does, however, alter/moderate the criteria so that only a certain number of students get the appropriate grade.

The qualifications at the time were the School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate and the University Bursaries. The Universities Entrance Board ran Bursary and Sixth Form Certificate, and the...
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