Changes to NCEA and University Entrance post-COVID

Further temporary changes to NCEA and University Entrance (UE) will support senior secondary school students whose teaching and learning have been disrupted by COVID-19.

“The wellbeing of students and teachers is a priority. As we are all aware, COVID-19 has created massive disruption to the school system, and the Government is moving to ensure students will not be penalised, while preserving the integrity of our national qualification,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

When I recently announced changes to end of year examination and portfolio due dates last month, I flagged additional measures were being considered.

“I can confirm that students will be able to earn additional credits through their learning and assessment programme, UE requirements have been modified with agreement from universities, and certificate and course endorsements have been modified.

“For each 5 credits a student attains towards their NCEA, they will be entitled to an additional 1 Learning Recognition credit, up to a maximum of 10 additional credits for students undertaking NCEA Level 1, or up to a maximum of 8 additional credits for students at NCEA Levels 2 or 3,” Chris Hipkins said.

This approach also maintains the credibility and reputation of NCEA by basing additional credits on assessed learning.

“Students can be confident that an NCEA attained this year will continue to open doors to tertiary study, vocational education or employment.

“As further recognition of COVID-19’s impact, this year University Entrance will be awarded to students who achieve 12 credits in each of three University Entrance Approved Subjects. They will still need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet the literacy and numeracy requirements to be awarded UE.

“This reduction of two credits per approved subject recognises that students may not have had the same opportunity to achieve as in other years, while continuing to ensure students are ready to undertake university study.”

Students will be awarded a certificate endorsement if they achieve 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, rather than the usual 50. Similarly, students achieving 12 credits at Merit or Excellence level in a course – rather than 14 – will be awarded a course endorsement.

“In addition to the changes announced, I have asked NZQA and the Ministry of Education to consider how schools might identify and collect evidence that could be used to credential the learning and skills gained by young people outside of their formal school programme of learning.

“These changes have been endorsed by my NCEA Professional Advisory Group, and I’d like to thank them for their robust advice. I also recognise the work Universities New Zealand and individual universities have done alongside officials to develop the changes to UE,” Chris Hipkins said.

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