The National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) are the national secondary schools qualifications. There are three National Certificates — Level 1 NCEA, Level 2 NCEA and Level 3 NCEA.


For NCEA, students must demonstrate that they meet standards in each subject. These are called Achievement Standards or Unit Standards and each standard is worth a certain number of credits. The standards are assessed using a mixture of internal and external assessments.


Students need 80 credits to be awarded the NCEA at Level 1. Included in this total students will need at least 10 credits in numeracy and 10 credits in literacy.


To complete NCEA Level 2, students need 80 credits of which 60 need to be at Level 2 or above. The other 20 credits can be from any level of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements must also be met.


To complete NCEA Level 3, students need 80 credits of which 60 need to be at Level 3 or above. The other 20 credits need to be at Level 2 or above of the National Qualifications Framework.


Students will be able to gain the above NCEA Certificates endorsed with Merit or Excellence. For a certificate to be endorsed with Merit students must achieve 50 credits at Merit or Excellence level. For an Excellence endorsement students must gain 50 credits at Excellence level. Credits counting towards these endorsements may be gained over more than one year but must be at the same level or higher on the National Qualifications Framework, i.e. Level 2 credits will count towards endorsement of a Level 1 NCEA, but Level 1 credits will not count towards endorsement of a Level 2 NCEA.


Course endorsement provides recognition for a student who has performed exceptionally well in an individual course. 


Students will gain an endorsement for a course if, in a single school year, they achieve:

14 or more credits at Merit or Excellence, and at least 3 of these credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards. Note, this does not apply to Physical Education, Religious Studies and level 3 Visual Arts.


A course endorsement is not a qualification.


A course endorsement can be gained independently of a qualification. For example, a student may achieve a Merit endorsement for their Level 2 Mathematics course regardless of whether they achieve NCEA Level 2.


 Howick College offers a number of National Certificate courses which lead into tertiary qualifications.

National Certificates offered are:

  • National Certifcate in Computing
  • National Certificate in Tourism - Introductory Skills
  • National Certificate in Building Construction and Allied Trade Skills
  • National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering Technology (Level One)
  • National Certificate in Electro Technology
  • Credits towards National Certificate in Outdoor Education
  • National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care