Understanding How NCEA Requirements Are Changing

Ko te tauira reo Pākehā kē tēnei o te whārangi nei, i te korenga o tētahi tauira reo Māori.
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Key Information

Over the next few years, NCEA will transition from its current form into a new qualification. Although this information is intended for teachers, we encourage learners and whānau to use this guidance as well.

In 2024:

  • The new NCEA Level 1 achievement standards will be fully implemented.
  • Current Level 1 achievement standards expire at the end of 2023
  • NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 will each become 60-credit qualifications
  • The te reo matatini, pāngarau, literacy, and numeracy co-requisite, which sits outside of the new NCEA qualification, will become mandatory
  • Learners will only be awarded an NCEA qualification once they have met the 20-credit co-requisite
  • Learners need to complete the co-requisite once only.

Over the next few years, NCEA will transition from its current form into a new qualification. Although this information is intended for teachers, we encourage learners and whānau to use this guidance as well.

In 2024:

  • The new NCEA Level 1 achievement standards will be fully implemented.
  • Current Level 1 achievement standards expire at the end of 2023
  • NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 will each become 60-credit qualifications
  • The te reo matatini, pāngarau, literacy, and numeracy co-requisite, which sits outside of the new NCEA qualification, will become mandatory
  • Learners will only be awarded an NCEA qualification once they have met the 20-credit co-requisite
  • Learners need to complete the co-requisite once only.
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NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 as 60-Credit qualifications

Changes and new requirements for all three levels of NCEA come into effect from 2024. These changes have been signalled since 2020 when the seven NCEA changes were announced.

  • From January 2024, NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 will each require 60 credits at certificate level or above.
  • NCEA Level 1 currently requires learners to achieve at least 80 credits at Level 1 or above. This includes the literacy and numeracy requirements of the qualification.
  • NCEA Levels 2 and 3 also currently require 80 credits, but learners can ‘carry over’ 20 credits from the level below. This provision will cease, so learners will not be able to carry over 20 credits from Level 1 through to Level 2, or 20 credits from Level 2 to Level 3.
  • The 60-credit NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 will not include the 20-credit te reo matatini, pāngarau, literacy, and numeracy co-requisite, which sits alongside these qualifications.
  • From 2024, to be awarded any level of NCEA, learners will need to achieve the new 20-credit co-requisite
  • Credits used towards the co-requisite cannot be used towards the 60-credit NCEA. Essentially, the number of credits required to gain each level of NCEA remains the same, with the literacy and numeracy requirements separated out into a ‘one-off’ co-requisite.
  • During 2024 and 2025, learners will be able to meet the 20-credit co-requisite through achieving either the new standards in Literacy-Writing, Literacy-Reading, Numeracy, Te Reo Matatini, and Pāngarau or gaining 20 credits from a small list of literacy and numeracy-rich standards.

What stays the same?

  • Unit Standards as well as Achievement Standards can be used towards the 60-credit NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications.
  • Any credits learners already have can be used towards the new NCEA qualifications.
  • There is no time limit on completing an NCEA. If learners gain part of their qualification, they can return to study at any time.
  • Course and certificate endorsement requirements also remain the same. Students will be required to gain 14 or more credits in a course at Achieved, Merit or Excellence (including at least 3 external and 3 internal credits) to gain a course endorsement. Certificate endorsement continues to require 50 or more credits at Merit or Excellence level.

Changes and new requirements for all three levels of NCEA come into effect from 2024. These changes have been signalled since 2020 when the seven NCEA changes were announced.

  • From January 2024, NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 will each require 60 credits at certificate level or above.
  • NCEA Level 1 currently requires learners to achieve at least 80 credits at Level 1 or above. This includes the literacy and numeracy requirements of the qualification.
  • NCEA Levels 2 and 3 also currently require 80 credits, but learners can ‘carry over’ 20 credits from the level below. This provision will cease, so learners will not be able to carry over 20 credits from Level 1 through to Level 2, or 20 credits from Level 2 to Level 3.
  • The 60-credit NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 will not include the 20-credit te reo matatini, pāngarau, literacy, and numeracy co-requisite, which sits alongside these qualifications.
  • From 2024, to be awarded any level of NCEA, learners will need to achieve the new 20-credit co-requisite
  • Credits used towards the co-requisite cannot be used towards the 60-credit NCEA. Essentially, the number of credits required to gain each level of NCEA remains the same, with the literacy and numeracy requirements separated out into a ‘one-off’ co-requisite.
  • During 2024 and 2025, learners will be able to meet the 20-credit co-requisite through achieving either the new standards in Literacy-Writing, Literacy-Reading, Numeracy, Te Reo Matatini, and Pāngarau or gaining 20 credits from a small list of literacy and numeracy-rich standards.

What stays the same?

  • Unit Standards as well as Achievement Standards can be used towards the 60-credit NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications.
  • Any credits learners already have can be used towards the new NCEA qualifications.
  • There is no time limit on completing an NCEA. If learners gain part of their qualification, they can return to study at any time.
  • Course and certificate endorsement requirements also remain the same. Students will be required to gain 14 or more credits in a course at Achieved, Merit or Excellence (including at least 3 external and 3 internal credits) to gain a course endorsement. Certificate endorsement continues to require 50 or more credits at Merit or Excellence level.
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Creating courses using new NCEA achievement standards

All NCEA subjects and wāhanga ako are being re-developed with four achievement standards – 2 internally assessed, 2 externally assessed – worth 20 credits in total. Kaiako are free to design NCEA courses using achievement standards from across two or more NCEA subjects.

Course endorsement provides recognition of student achievement in an individual course in a single school year. It can be awarded at Achieved, Merit, and Excellence. Students achieve course endorsement if, in a single school year, they achieve: 14 or more credits at Achieved or Merit or Excellence, and at least 3 credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards.

Schools choose which standards make up a course. Any type of standard from any subject can contribute towards course endorsement. They don’t need to be from the same subject.

All NCEA subjects and wāhanga ako are being re-developed with four achievement standards – 2 internally assessed, 2 externally assessed – worth 20 credits in total. Kaiako are free to design NCEA courses using achievement standards from across two or more NCEA subjects.

Course endorsement provides recognition of student achievement in an individual course in a single school year. It can be awarded at Achieved, Merit, and Excellence. Students achieve course endorsement if, in a single school year, they achieve: 14 or more credits at Achieved or Merit or Excellence, and at least 3 credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards.

Schools choose which standards make up a course. Any type of standard from any subject can contribute towards course endorsement. They don’t need to be from the same subject.

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NCEA co-requisite for literacy, numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau

From 2024, learners will need to achieve a 20-credit co-requisite using either the new literacy and numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau standards or an approved list of literacy and numeracy-rich assessment standards to be awarded an NCEA.

If learners meet the NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements before the new Level 1 achievement standards are phased through (prior to 2024), this achievement will be recognised towards the new co-requisite.

This includes all current avenues, as well as the new literacy and numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau standards for schools, kura, and other providers who have used these between 2021 and 2023. Learners will have until the end of 2026 to take advantage of this recognition, giving them a three-year grace period.

From 2024, learners will need to achieve a 20-credit co-requisite using either the new literacy and numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau standards or an approved list of literacy and numeracy-rich assessment standards to be awarded an NCEA.

If learners meet the NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements before the new Level 1 achievement standards are phased through (prior to 2024), this achievement will be recognised towards the new co-requisite.

This includes all current avenues, as well as the new literacy and numeracy, te reo matatini and pāngarau standards for schools, kura, and other providers who have used these between 2021 and 2023. Learners will have until the end of 2026 to take advantage of this recognition, giving them a three-year grace period.

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Exclusions

The only time that a learner cannot use a standard towards an NCEA qualification is if they have already achieved a standard where the learning significantly overlaps. Information on new exclusions

The only time that a learner cannot use a standard towards an NCEA qualification is if they have already achieved a standard where the learning significantly overlaps. Information on new exclusions

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NCEA Level 2 and 3

Under the new timeline: 

  • NCEA Level 2 will be fully implemented by 2028, not in 2026 as previously planned. 
  • NCEA Level 3 will be fully implemented by 2029, not in 2027.

Under the new timeline: 

  • NCEA Level 2 will be fully implemented by 2028, not in 2026 as previously planned. 
  • NCEA Level 3 will be fully implemented by 2029, not in 2027.
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Support and information

Support from NCEA Implementation Facilitators is available. Contact your local Te Mahau office for more information: Local offices – Education in New Zealand

Or email us: ncea.review@education.govt.nz

Support from NCEA Implementation Facilitators is available. Contact your local Te Mahau office for more information: Local offices – Education in New Zealand

Or email us: ncea.review@education.govt.nz