NCEA levels, credits and certificates


The other day I wrote about what I thought was the path of least resistance to gain NCEA Level 3 which you need in order to gain entrance to university. There are other ways but the NCEA pathway is the main one for most kids.

Today I looked up a summary of the information about the credits required at different levels for the different certificates. You can see this for yourself here on the NZQA website.

But, I’m going to reproduce it below just because I know some people won’t click the link. Keep in mind this is for “passing” the entire certificate at each level, which is different to what I’m advocating in my minimal effort approach. Here’s the summary:

NCEA level Requirements

  • To gain NCEA level 1: 80 credits are required at any level (level 1, 2 or 3) including literacy and numeracy.
  • To gain NCEA 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.
  • To gain NCEA 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.

The only one that really matters for entrance to university is completing the 60 + 20 credits for level 3.

Whichever way you read this it still requires the 10 + 10 credits for literacy and numeracy at level 1. So… at least 100 credits.

For more information:

Also, remember that the literacy and numeracy unit standards are different to the literacy and numeracy achievement standards and are designed to be embedded into other content.

This makes them more useful (and better) in my opinion as you can wrap them around other more interesting content that your learners actually want to study (which may or may not need to be other NCEA subjects).


Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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