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New Zealand's National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) are national qualifications for senior secondary school students. Howick College continues to uphold strong achievement rates in Literacy and Numeracy across all year levels. Our achievement rate for NCEA Levels 1 - 3  is consistently well above the New Zealand national average.


NCEA is the main secondary school qualification undertaken by students from Year 11 to 13 and is recognised internationally by top universities around the world. There are three National Certificates - Level 1 NCEA, Level 2 NCEA and Level 3 NCEA.

How NCEA Works

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.

Level 1

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

Level 2

To be awarded NCEA Level 2 students need to gain 80 credits of which 60 must 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.


Level 3

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


Students are 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 a certificate to be endorsed with Excellence, 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 are from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards.


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.

More Information

More detailed information on how NCEA works is available in the NCEA Parent & Student Handbook.

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