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11 September 2020

NCEA Change Programme sustains momentum amid COVID disruption 

The Ministry of Education is set to begin developing Achievement Standards for eight NCEA Level 1 subjects to sustain the momentum of the NCEA Change Programme amid the continuing disruption of COVID-19.

“The education sector is eager for us to continue with the NCEA Change Programme,” said Pauline Cleaver, the Ministry’s Acting Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement.

“After the COVID disruption earlier this year, we are progressing our work in delivering what New Zealanders have asked us to do – which is to strengthen NCEA.”

Continuing the Review of Achievement Standards (RAS)

Ms Cleaver said Achievement Standards and supporting resources would be developed for eight NCEA Level 1 subjects not affected by proposed changes to the provisional Level 1 subject list, ahead of the list being finalised. This work is now underway.

The Ministry's next step is to meet with members of the following RAS Subject Expert Groups to initiate the development process for: Mathematics and Statistics, Geography, Agriculture and Horticulture, Music, Dance, Drama, and two groups of the Languages.

Around 50 SEGs – comprised of about 400 practising teachers, academics and representatives from the tertiary and industry sectors – have been set up by the Ministry to help develop new Achievement Standards and supporting teaching and assessment resources for each subject across NCEA Levels 1-3 over the next few years. 

Ms Cleaver also provided updates on specific initiatives related to the NCEA Change Programme.

Provisional subject list for NCEA Level 1

The public engagement processes for the provisional Level 1 subject list, including the alternative options for NCEA Level 1 Science, closed recently. Feedback is being processed so that decisions on the final list can be considered by the incoming Government after the election period.

RAS Trial & Pilots initiative

The Ministry is currently seeking feedback on draft Achievement Standards and support materials for the following NCEA Level 1 Trial & Pilots subjects – English, Religious Studies and Visual Arts. It does not include NCEA Level 1 Science products, which will now be released for feedback at a later date.

Schools and kura are also invited to submit Expressions of Interest to take part in the mini-pilot in 2021, when the draft Achievement Standards and resources for all four Level 1 Trial & Pilots subjects will be piloted in a small number of schools.

Read the update on the Trial & Pilots – Phase 2 here

Literacy and Numeracy

The first draft of the English-medium literacy and numeracy learning matrix and standards will be completed on 14 September 2020. The Ministry will then seek targeted feedback on the learning matrix and standards before refining the products, prior to public consultation later this year.

The Ministry is in the process of drafting the Māori-medium literacy and numeracy standards, and the first draft will be ready for targeted consultation on 22 October 2020.

Planning is underway to conduct a limited pilot of the new standards from Term 3 2021. An Expression of Interest is currently open for schools, kura, and other settings to apply to be involved.

The Ministry is also developing a plan to support the sector in the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy to ensure schools/wharekura and teachers/kaiako are ready for the mandatory introduction of the new standards in 2023. This will include targeted short-term support for the first cohort of students, as well as long-term pathway support for teaching and learning.  

Resubmissions and Course Endorsements for NCEA

Changes to Resubmission and Course Endorsement rules, as agreed by Cabinet in February 2020, will take effect from 2021 via the NZQA Assessment and Examination Rules.

These changes will extend Course Endorsement to ‘Achieved’ and limit Resubmissions to a single opportunity for a student to gain an ‘Achieved’ grade on a standard. They are designed to recognise student achievement in a coherent course of study and reduce the over-assessment pressure currently felt by students and teachers.

New NCEA graduate profiles

The Ministry is updating the graduate profiles for the NCEA qualifications and developing a strategic purpose statement for each level to reflect the new vision for NCEA.

Draft ‘graduate profiles’, indicating that Level 1 is to prepare students with the skills they need for further study, including robust literacy and numeracy, and Levels 2 and 3 provide further opportunities to specialise and deepen knowledge and skills to support further study, training and employment, have been prepared. 

The Ministry is in the process of engaging with the sector to ensure the graduate profiles and NCEA descriptions value te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori. Once these are finalised, they will be released to support planning by teachers and schools ahead of the changes being implemented.

Teacher Only Day

Preparations are underway for the Teacher-Only Day in November , which will focus on engaging teachers and schools on the details of the NCEA Change Package and the progress in the NCEA change journey so they can also share this with their communities. Details and resource materials will be provided to schools closer to the time.

This will also be a great opportunity for the Ministry to reconnect with teachers and school leaders after the COVID-19 disruption earlier this year.

New NCEA website

A new online platform to support senior secondary students and teachers will be launched later this year. As the RAS progresses, the products and supporting resources that the Ministry will produce alongside the sector will be published on the new platform.


This page was last updated on 11 September 2020.