Change 4 – Fewer, larger standards

With more credits available in each subject than can fit into a single course, it is hard to identify the most significant learning in a learning area. The huge number of assessments has also led to increased workloads for students and teachers.

What we've heard

We’ve heard that the number of assessment events each year leads to increased workload for students. Excessive numbers of internals can also drive teacher workload, as they bear the main burden of designing, delivering, marking and moderating internal assessment.

We’ve also heard that vocational education and training is not seen to have the same status as traditionally ‘academic’ programmes of learning.

Key changes

  • Rebuild the standards within each subject or field of study so there are fewer of them, but each standard covers a broader range of knowledge, skills and capabilities. Each standard will be worth 4-6 credits, with a total of 20 credits per subject.
  • Ensure the number of credits available from internally and externally assessed standards is better balanced.
    • Expand the range of external assessments available, beyond just exams. This will include things like portfolios, reports, investigations, performances or common assessment tasks.
  • Ensure that different sources of knowledge, including mātauranga Māori, vocational and Pacific people’s knowledge, will be recognised by new and existing subjects and curriculum supports, where appropriate.
  • We will work with relevant industry bodies to explore what ‘fewer, larger standards’ should look like in vocational courses offered in schools and foundation tertiary settings, and how we can best ensure these are valued equally with other kinds of learning.
  • Strengthen industry-derived standards (as part of the Reform of Vocational Education) to support the development of coherent vocational learning packages within NCEA.
  • Expand course endorsements to include Achieved as well as Merit and Excellence grades.
  • All registered courses will need to have a course description explaining their focus, and how they might fit into the student’s future pathway and overall learning.