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Link to radio interview on the changes to NCEA

Last year, we asked all New Zealanders to share their views and experiences of NCEA – the challenges, the successes, what they like, and what we can do better. We wanted to make sure that everyone’s voice has been heard.

The feedback we received from across the country was phenomenal. With New Zealand’s help, we identified areas where NCEA could be strengthened. 

NCEA Change Package 2019

The Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, has announced the seven changes to NCEA.


It's great to hear the lively debating happening around the country about the NCEA Change Package. We’ve heard some discussions that could benefit from extra clarity or information.

These questions and answers will help to address some misconceptions.

Overview of the changes

Read the NCEA Change Package Overview 2019 for more detail about the changes, the journey we took with New Zealand to get to them, and what an NCEA programme could look like.

cover image of overview document

What next?

Around 16,000 New Zealanders took part in the year-long review of NCEA, and the Ministry of Education will continue to work with stakeholders to confirm a detailed design and implementation plan for the changes by the end of the year.

Some changes such as removing fees, will start to take affect from 2019. Students who have already paid fees for NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship this year will be refunded through schools, and students will no longer be asked to pay NCEA or New Zealand Scholarship fees for this school year. NZQA will be contacting schools about this process.

Other significant changes to NCEA will take longer to be implemented.

Read more about NCEA fees on the NZQA website.

Review of achievement standards

The Ministry of Education is also responsible for reviewing the NCEA achievement standards that assess outcomes from the National Curriculum. This review was due to start this year, however because it will play an important role in implementing some of the changes that come out of the NCEA Review, it will now start in 2020. We will use this year to prepare and plan for the achievement standards review, and will be engaging with key stakeholders to keep them informed throughout the year.

Advice supporting the decisions

The advice considered by the Minister when making the decisions on the NCEA Change Package has been proactively released. This includes the advice from the Ministry of Education, the Ministerial Advisory Group and the Professional Advisory Group. A small amount of information has been withheld in line with the Official Information Act.

View the advice