FAQs - NCEA Pilots

Questions and Answers:

1.   Will all NCEA Level 1 subjects be piloted?

All NCEA Level 1 subjects, from both NZC and TMoA, will be piloted. As in the 2021 school year, Te Ao Haka will be piloted across all three NCEA levels and for University Entrance to an extended number of kura and schools.

2.   Will schools/kura, along with their communities, be able to pilot as many NZC or TMoA subjects as they want?


  • For TMoA subjects, a pilot school/kura can pilot up to three Wāhanga Ako. They are also required to pilot the full suite of Paerewa Paetae from 1.1 – 1.4 of the subject(s) they choose to pilot.
  • For NZC, in order to test the new achievement standards in a wide range of learning contexts, we are limiting the number of schools piloting large numbers of subjects. We aim to have most pilot schools and kura piloting 1-6 subjects. We are also working with a small number of schools to pilot all NCEA Level 1 subjects, to test how a full implementation might work. 
  • For Te Ao Haka, a pilot school/kura is required to pilot the subject across all three NCEA levels, where appropriate.

3.   Our school/kura has been selected to be a pilot school/kura. How can we start preparing for the pilot?

Information about the NCEA Level 1 subjects for the pilots, including the draft subject content and draft achievement standards, is now available on our website. You can also further build your understanding of the NCEA changes and access the resources that will be progressively made available to support pilot teachers (add weblink to support page).

This will help you prepare for the implementation of all NCEA Level 1 subjects and Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy standards in 2023, regardless of whether you take part in the pilot next year.

We suggest thinking about tools and resources you currently use to support NCEA Level 1 and Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy and how these can be used in your setting. The Teacher Only Day modules and Action Plan templates on the NCEA.Education website and on our Learning Management System will help you with this. 

4.   Will a pilot school/kura be required to present a full coherent course (i.e. all standards for a particular subject)?

For the pilot, schools/kura will be required to use all four standards in a subject’s Assessment Matrix/Tukutuku Aromatawai to assess the learning described in the Learning Matrix/Tukutuku Ako. 

For Te Ao Haka, schools/kura must use all four standards across all three NCEA levels.

5.   Will learners/ākonga studying pilot subjects be eligible for credits?

Yes. All learners/ākonga piloting new achievement standards will be eligible for credits for both internal and external standards.

6.   In the NZC context, how many classes within a school/kura were signed up for a pilot – one class, the whole cohort, or part of the cohort?

When submitting their Expression of Interest to take part in the pilots, schools/kura were asked to provide details of the estimated size of the pilot cohort, and what percentage of the overall cohort will be piloting. 

For Te Ao Haka, schools/kura submitting an Expression of Interest were asked to provide details on the number of students/ākonga that will be assessed at each level to enable adequate and consistent testing of the standards across levels.

7.   In the TMoA context, was there a minimum number of ākonga per kura who had to be signed up to pilot a Wāhanga Ako?

No. When submitting their Expression of Interest, kura were asked to provide an indication of the number of ākonga that will be assessed against the standards. This will enable adequate and consistent testing across all Wāhanga Ako.

The Ministry recognises that some kura have a smaller student population than others. However, this was not a barrier to submitting an EOI. The numbers informed the selection panel on the allocation of kura per subject where there may be more kura in one subject than another.

8.   Will bespoke, mix-and-match courses be piloted (for example, two standards from Agricultural and Horticultural Science and two standards from Science)?

No. We need to test how the standards work together to assess the Learning Matrix/Tukutuku Ako for each subject. After the pilot year, schools will be able to design courses using standards from more than one subject. A small number of schools will be invited to develop programmes that use standards from multiple matrices to test this approach.

9.   How much student work will need to be submitted during the pilot?

For internal assessments, a sample of eight pieces of student work from each subject cohort will need to be submitted.

However, we understand that some kura/schools have a relatively small student population so this may not be achievable. Further details will be made available in coming weeks.

10.   Will course outlines be sought from next year’s pilot schools/kura? Will these carry remuneration?

Pilot schools/kura will be invited to submit proposals for developing full teaching and learning programmes using the new standards. If their proposals are accepted, schools/kura will be asked to work with the Ministry to develop a quality exemplar programme that will be published as a support resource. Schools/kura will be remunerated for this contribution.

11.   What support will be provided by the Ministry and NZQA to pilot schools/kura?

A support package that includes a range of guidance material is being developed and will be progressively made available. NZQA and the Ministry of Education will provide initial and ongoing support to schools/kura, beginning with pilot planning workshops that will teach teachers how to use the materials and to get ready for the pilot year. Ongoing support will include regular online and face-to-face meetings at key points of the year, and direct support from NZQA and the Ministry.

The Teacher Only Days supporting the implementation of the NCEA Change Programme will also support pilot schools through the development of readiness guides and tools for schools to use as they pilot and implement the new achievement standards. These will be part of an increasing set of resources that will support schools to implement the NCEA changes.

Alongside this, our Learning Area Leads will be providing learning area and subject specific guidance, and specialist support to regions, subject associations, and middle and senior leaders.