Understanding How NCEA Requirements Are Changing

Over the next few years, NCEA will transition from its current form into the new qualification. Here is what you need to know about transitioning to the new NCEA requirements. This section is intended for teachers, but we encourage learners and whānau to use this guidance as well.

Key Information

There are two changes happening to NCEA in 2023 on the current timeline. The current timeline may change in accordance with an upcoming decision on sector readiness for literacy and numeracy.

Under the current timeline, from 2023:

  • The new Literacy and Numeracy | Te Reo Matatini me te Pangarau co-requisite requirements will come into force.

  • The size of the qualification will reduce from 80 credits to 60 credits. 

These changes are happening for NCEA Level 1 in 2023, Level 2 in 2024, and Level 3 in 2025. 

The Review of Achievement Standards has been rephased so that the new Level 1 achievement standards will be fully implemented in 2024, the new Level 2 achievement standards in 2025, and the new Level 3 achievement standards in 2026. This will not affect the co-requisite and credit requirements.

The corequisite requirements are that new standards relating to Te Reo Matatini, Pāngarau, Literacy, and Numeracy will become a mandatory part of Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the qualification. The 20 credits achieved from these standards are separate from the 60 credits needed to achieve each level of NCEA.

  • Learners will need to achieve:

    • one of Te Reo Matatini OR Literacy, both of which are 10 credits, AND 

    • one of Te Pāngarau OR Numeracy, both of which are 10 credits.

Many learners may achieve their 20 credit co-requisite in Years 9 or 10 but for others it may be in Year 11 or beyond.

Learners will be able to continue on their learning programme towards NCEA while they work towards achieving the Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy co-requisite. However, they will need to achieve the 20 credit co-requisite to be awarded their NCEA qualification. This means they will want to achieve them before finishing their NCEA studies.

NCEA as a 60-Credit Qualification

Under the new NCEA:

  • Each level of NCEA will reduce in size from an 80-credit qualification to a 60-credit qualification.

  • New standards relating to Te Reo Matatini, Pāngarau, Literacy, and Numeracy will become a mandatory part of Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the qualification for students enrolled in kura or schools. The 20 credits achieved from these standards are separate from the 60 credits needed to achieve each level of NCEA.

Any credits learners already have at the appropriate level can be used to meet the new requirements. 

Learners can use unit standards as well as achievement standards to reach the credit requirement for each level of NCEA. They will also be able to use any skills standards set by Workforce Development Councils. The only unit standards they cannot use for the 60 credit requirement are the compulsory Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy standards.

There is no time limit on completing the 60 credit qualification. If learners gain part of their qualification, they can return to study at any time.

 

Creating Courses Using New NCEA Achievement Standards

All NCEA subjects and wāhanga ako are being re-built with 4 achievement standards – 2 internally assessed, 2 externally assessed – worth 20 credits total. Schools will still be free to design courses that use achievement standards from across 2 or more NCEA subjects. However, during piloting years, schools must deliver courses that use all 4 achievement standards.

To be eligible for course endorsement, students must gain 14 or more credits from a single course, with at least one externally assessed standard achieved.
 

Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy Co-requisite

On the current timeline, the new Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy & Numeracy co-requisite is set to become a mandatory part of the qualification from 2023. It is a package of standards that sit outside of the 60 credits learners need for each level of NCEA. These new standards assess learners on important foundational skills that will help them succeed in NCEA, further learning, life, and work.

To get the co-requisite, learners need to achieve the ten credits in:

a)    either the Te Reo Matatini OR Literacy standards
       AND
b)    either the Pāngarau OR Numeracy standard

All learners will need to achieve the co-requisite in order to be awarded their NCEA qualification at any level. It can be achieved at any time from Year 9 – teachers will help learners to know when they are ready to be assessed against the standards.

It is important to know that the co-requisite will not stop learners from working towards NCEA. Learners can work towards the co-requisite at the same time as they work towards the 60 credits needed for each level of NCEA. This is what makes it a co-requisite and not a pre-requisite.

Transition arrangements for Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy

Right now, the two ways learners can meet the requirements for literacy and numeracy in NCEA are to complete standards on a list of specified assessment standards, or a package of three literacy and three numeracy unit standards. See the NZQA website for more information.

If learners achieve the full literacy or numeracy requirement before the qualification changes, this achievement will be recognised towards the new co-requisite while we transition to the new NCEA requirements.

On the current timeline, 'tagged' Level 1 assessment standards, including the current package of three literacy and three numeracy unit standards will no longer be recognised to meet the NCEA literacy and numeracy co-requisite for kura and school based programmes from 2023.

We are also tagging new achievement standards so that they can be used towards the literacy and numeracy requirements during the transition period. The New Zealand Curriculum NCEA Level 1 subjects and the three levels of Te Ao Haka have undergone an approvals process to determine which standards can be used to meet the literacy and numeracy requirements as they are piloted in 2021 and 2022. Te Reo Māori and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa NCEA Level 1 pilot standards are undergoing a similar process.

Below is a list of pilot achievement standards that have been tagged:

Download
Download

List of Tagged Standards

List of Tagged Pilot Achievement Standards
List of Tagged Pilot Achievement Standards

These will be added to the full list held on NZQA’s website in 2022, along with new reo Māori unit standards that have been tagged.

This process will be undertaken for all new achievement standards both derived from the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa as they are completed. These standards will be added to the specified assessment standards list for pilot purposes.

For an example of the transition process for Level 1, if a learner completes their literacy or numeracy requirements using the achievement standards from the list of specified assessment standards or the package of three literacy and three numeracy unit standards in 2022, they can use them towards the new literacy or numeracy co-requisite.

If learners have already gained their literacy and numeracy requirements, they can use them right up to 2025, but after that, all levels of NCEA will require the new Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy standards to meet the co-requisite requirements of the qualification.

We also expect that these transition arrangements will apply to NCEA qualifications delivered in tertiary and alternative education settings. However, final decisions on additional transition arrangements for these programmes will be confirmed before the academic year begins in 2022.

Table 1 shows the standards a learner can use to meet NCEA literacy and numeracy requirements, based on the year a learner completes their qualification. If learners are using standards other than the new Te Reo Matatini me Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy standards, learners need to have fully met the literacy or numeracy requirement if they want to take it into the corequisite.

STANDARD TYPE 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
New te reo matatini me te pāngarau | literacy and numeracy Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Package of three literacy and numeracy Level 1 unit standards Yes Yes Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior No
Current Level 1 achievement standards on the specified assessment standards list Yes Yes Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior No
New Level 1 achievement standards on the specified assessment standards list Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2022 or prior No
Current Level 2 achievement standards on the specified assessment standards list Yes Yes Yes Yes, if achieved in 2023 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2023 or prior No
New Level 2 achievement standards on the specified assessment standards list Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes, if achieved in 2023 or prior Yes, if achieved in 2023 or prior No
Current Level 3 achievement standards on the specified assessment standards list Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, if achieved in 2024 or prior No
New Level 3 achievement standards on the specified assessment standards list Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes (only through the pilot) Yes, if achieved in 2024 or prior No
English for Academic Purposes standards on the specified assessment standards list - Level 4 unit standards Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, if achieved in 2024 or prior No

Table 1 

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. The term for this is an exclusion. As we develop new achievement standards, we will publish information about any exclusions.

Exclusions are important for:

  • encouraging broad and foundational coverage of the curriculum. Assessing the same learning outcome twice is likely to be at the expense of deeper, richer teaching and learning.

  • promoting the delivery of coherent packages of learning. Assessing the same learning outcome twice is unlikely to provide as coherent or complete coverage of a subject or learning area as teaching towards and assessing two or more separate but related learning outcomes.

  • reducing teacher and student workload. Students should not be assessed twice on the same learning outcome, and teachers should not have to mark work towards the same learning outcome twice, with the notable exception of resubmissions.

  • ensuring the robustness of the qualification. Double dipping undermines and devalues the outcome statement of an NCEA.

In most cases, new NCEA standards are excluded against existing standards in each subject. See the exclusions list for the new NCEA Level 1 pilot standards.

A learner cannot use a standard towards both the 60 credit requirements and the Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy corequisite. For example, if a learner uses an achievement standard towards the corequisite, they cannot use it towards the 60 NCEA credit requirement as well. 

There are also some exclusions which will apply to the new literacy and numeracy standards. This will mean that if learners achieve the new corequisite standards and the current literacy and numeracy unit standards, the excluded standards will not be counted towards meeting the NCEA 60 credit requirement. See Table 2 for a list of standards excluded from the new literacy and numeracy standards.

 
  NEW LITERACY AND NUMERACY STANDARDS   CURRENT UNIT STANDARDS
EITHER Literacy (reading) US32403, 5 credits OR Reading US26624, 3 credits
EITHER Literacy (writing) US32405, 5 credits OR Writing US26622, 4 credits
EITHER Numeracy US32406, 10 credits OR Numeracy: number US26623, 4 credits, statistics US26626, 3 credits or measurement US26627, 3 credits

Table 2