Big changes, more emphasis on exams coming for NCEA level school students ...

Photo / NZH

Photo / NZH

Kiwi students are set to face new changes to the NCEA system.

An overhaul of NCEA was announced today and will see more emphasis on exams and less on internal assessments, as well as a sharper focus on literacy and numeracy skills.

The changes, which are set to be phased in over four years from next year, also remove the qualification's $76.70-a-year fee and the $30 fee for each Scholarship subject.

The Government's final decisions on reforming the National Certificate of Educational Assessment (NCEA) will increase external assessment for all achievement standards from 30 per cent now to a standardised 50 per cent across all subjects - even those that have traditionally been fully assessed internally such as Physical Education.

The new structure will comprise:

  • Each student will sit five to six subjects a year, each worth 20 credits, for a maximum possible 100 or 120 credits.
  • Sixty credits will be required to get each level of NCEA, down from 80 at present.
  • But students must also achieve 20 credits in literacy and numeracy as a "co-requisite" for NCEA which they will be able to achieve at any time from Year 7 onwards, well before the main NCEA assessments start in Year 11.

The reduced credit requirements are intended to stop students and teachers wasting time on building up and marking massive credit surpluses.

The changes represent a sharp shift back to the rigid subject-based systems of School Certificate and University Entrance that existed before NCEA was introduced in 2002.

The system will still include the opportunity to take "unit standards" in vocational areas such as trades, which accounted for just under a fifth of all NCEA standards assessed in 2017.

But "achievement standards", which made up the other four-fifths of the standards assessed in 2017, will be grouped into 20-credit subjects in which half of the standards will be internally assessed and the other half externally assessed.

The new structure appears to leave no room for extras, such as driver's licences or first aid courses, which many schools encourage students to take on top of their main subjects to get them over the NCEA pass mark each year.

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.