What is the NCEA Change Programme

We’re in the process of strengthening NCEA by making a series of changes to improve well-being, equity, coherence, pathways and credibility – for students and teachers alike.

The changes, which were confirmed by Cabinet in February 2020, will be the most significant reform of NCEA since the qualification was introduced in 2002.

In light of feedback from key stakeholder groups – those who undertake NCEA (learners and their parents/whānau), those who deliver NCEA (school leaders and educators), those who administer the qualification (NZQA) and those who use the completed qualification (employers, tertiary providers, iwi, etc) – we will be working to ensure we implement the NCEA changes in a way which is responsive to the diverse and evolving needs of our education system and communities, and recognises the complex nature of NCEA.

We will also provide the best resourcing, tools and guidance, minimise disruption to learning programmes as much as possible, and continue to engage with New Zealanders as we implement the changes.

The NCEA Change Programme is a work programme led by the Ministry of Education to deliver the package of seven changes aimed at strengthening NCEA:

  1. Make NCEA more accessible
  2. Equal status for mātauranga Māori in NCEA
  3. Strengthen literacy and numeracy requirements and assessments
  4. Fewer, larger standards
  5. Simplify NCEA's structure
  6. Clearer pathways to further education or work
  7. Keep NCEA Level 1 optional

The changes were informed by insights and feedback gathered during the public engagement on the NCEA Review in 2018, and were confirmed by the Government in February 2020.

Thousands of people across the country took part in the Review from May to October 2018 and provided feedback in different ways – including Quick Survey (6,758 people); workshops, fono and hui (8000+ people); NCEA and Big Opportunities Survey (920 people); 54 focus groups (493 people); 20 regional workshops (476 people); and submissions (155 individuals, 116 groups and 95 organisations). An overwhelming majority favoured changes to strengthen NCEA.

The Ministry of Education is working with schools, young people, families/whānau, communities and other key stakeholders to deliver the NCEA changes. The changes will be phased in over five years, with new achievement standards at Levels 1, 2 and 3 in place by January 2025.

NCEA Change Programme Indicative Timelines (A3 poster)

NCEA Change Programme Indicative Timeline [in English, Colour PDF]

NCEA Change Programme Indicative Timeline [in English, Black & White PDF]

NCEA Change Programme Indicative Timeline [in Te reo Māori, Colour PDF]

NCEA Change Programme Indicative Timeline [in Te reo Māori, Black & White PDF]

Fact Sheet: NCEA Change Programme (A4)

English

Te reo Māori

Mandarin

Hindi

Korean

Cook Islands Māori

Fijian

Gagana Samoa

Gagana Tokelau

Tongan

Tuvalu

Vagahau Niue

Brochure: NCEA Change Programme (A5)

English

Te reo Māori

Mandarin

Hindi

Korean

Cook Islands Māori

Fijian

Gagana Samoa

Gagana Tokelau

Tongan

Tuvalu

Vagahau Niue