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 92.3% achievement rate for NCEA Level 2 is the HIGHEST among East Auckland schools.


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. 

NCEA End of Year External Examination Preparation Video

As a preparation for the end of year NCEA external examinations, the following video link will provide further information on digital exams, admission slips and ID, room allocations, checking exam entries, what to expect on the day of exam, exams during Covid-19 alert levels, derived grades, learning recogintion credits and endorsements.

In recognition of the added disruption for Auckland students caused by the recent COVID-19 Alert Level 3 lockdown, NZQA has made further temporary changes to NCEA for 2020. 

NCEA Derived Grades and Practice Exams Explanation Video

Due to the impact that Covid-19 has had on learning time during the year, NZQA have allowed schools some flexibility to broaden our application of ‘derived grades’ in the possible event that there is further disruption to NCEA assessment and examinations.

Please click on the following video link for a full explanation of how this new process will work.

Learning Recognition Credits for Auckland Students: 

Students are still required to get the same number of credits for each of the three levels, however, NZQA has created Learning Recognition credits that will count towards the total. For every 4 credits earned, each Auckland student will receive 1 extra Learning Recognition credit. Students can earn up to 16 Learning Recognition credits in Level 1 NCEA and up to 12 Learning Recognition credits in Level 2 and 3 NCEA. 


Certificate Endorsement For Auckland Students Only:

Auckland students will be awarded a Certificate Endorsement if they achieve 44 credits at Merit or Excellence level, rather than the 46 credits required by the rest of New Zealand (under normal conditions students require 50 credits).

Course (Subject) Endorsement:

Students achieving 12 credits at Merit or Excellence level in a course - rather than 14 - will be awarded a Course (Subject) Endorsement. You will still need to achieve at least 3 credits in externals and 3 in internals.  

University Entrance (UE):

Changes to University Entrance (UE) were announced in June, meaning students need to achieve 12 credits, rather than 14 credits, in each of 3 University Entrance Approved Subjects. There are no additional changes to UE for Auckland students, but universities and other tertiary education providers are taking the unique circumstances of 2020 into account in their discretionary entry requirements for 2021.


For more details about the changes to NCEA and UE for 2020, please visit the NZQA website. 


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.


Information on how NCEA works is available from the NZQA website.

 Inspiring a Community of Passionate Learners       Whakamanawahia Tētehi Hapori O Ngā Ākonga Hihiri