Change 7 – Keep NCEA Level 1 optional

We've had lots of conversations about whether or not to keep NCEA Level 1.

What we've heard

For many students, Level 1 introduces them to the format of NCEA assessment and prepares them for their next steps. Many school leaders wanted to keep Level 1 as it keeps their students motivated by giving them a goal to work towards. Māori and Pacific communities were particularly likely to tell us that they value Level 1 highly.

On the other hand, some school leaders suggested that removing Level 1 would allow teachers to focus more on teaching and less on assessment. By reducing their assessment workload, teachers would be free to develop innovative approaches to Year 11 which would be of more value to students than a Level 1 qualification.

For around 10 per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand students, NCEA Level 1 will be their highest level qualification. Removing it as an option could potentially disadvantage these young New Zealanders.

Why we're keeping Level 1 optional

We want to keep NCEA Level 1 as an optional level for schools that wish to continue using this qualification. Others would be free to adopt alternative approaches to Year 11, in a way that best meets the needs of their students.

As part of our rebuild of NCEA standards, Level 1 will be refocussed on a broad education across a wide range of Learning Areas | Wāhanga Ako. We will be working with teachers and subject associations to build these new standards.