NCEA levels and certificates

There are three levels of NCEA certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. At each level, students must achieve a certain number of credits to gain an NCEA certificate. Credits can be gained over more than one year.

NCEA levelRequirements

Level 1

80 credits are required at any level (level 1, 2 or 3) including literacy and numeracy. Schools can explain the literacy and numeracy standard pathways they are using.

Level 2

60 credits at level 2 or above
+ 20 credits from any level

The Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements must also be met.

Level 3

60 credits at level 3 or above
+ 20 credits from level 2 or above

From 2014 the Level 1 literacy and numeracy requirements must also be met.

Credits gained at one level can be used for (or count towards) more than one certificate. They may also be used towards other qualifications. For example, unit standards in the domain 'generic computing' might be used towards a Level 2 NCEA certificate, as well as towards a National Certificate in Computing (Level 2); or 20 credits gained at Level 1 can also count towards a Level 2 NCEA certificate.

Multi-level study

Many schools allow students to study a mix of standards at different levels, depending on their ability. For example, in year 12, a student may study most subjects at level 2, but add a new subject at level 1 and another advanced subject at level 3. In addition, students may study multi-level courses with standards assessed at more than one level, e.g. an English course at year 11 may contain both level 1 and level 2 standards.

Recognising high achievement

Certificates can be 'endorsed' to reflect high achievement in a significant number of standards. From 2011, course endorsements will show that students have performed well in an individual course.

For more information, please refer to NCEA endorsements.

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