NCALNE (Voc) – TESOL option: Questions & Answers


The other day I mentioned that we’re investigating an NCALNE (Voc) option for trained and experienced TESOL teachers. We’re now ready to trial this.

Here are a few Q & A that I’ve tried to anticipate:

I’m already TESOL trained. Why do I have to have the NCALNE (Voc) qualification?

  • It depends on the funding that your organisation receives. In NZ, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is the government agency that funds most tertiary training. Different funds have different conditions attached. Some TEC funding contracts require teachers to have the National Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (Vocational). Most courses at level 2 and below require tutors to have the NCALNE (Voc) as a minimum qualification. There is more information here.

I feel frustrated that the TEC does not recognise my TESOL qualifications and experience. I don’t want to get another qualification. Why should I bother?

  • Graeme Smith from ALEC was an ESOL teacher before he started ALEC to deliver the NCALNE (Voc). He taught here and overseas for 10 years before switching to literacy and numeracy. Graeme’s aware of the issues. And this process is optional. We’ve tried to design a solution that works for TESOL teachers, the TEC, and NZQA.

Can I just send you a copy of my CV and qualifications? Can’t you just have a look at these and sign off the NCALNE?

  • Sorry, no. We need to make sure we follow a robust process for this. To meet NZQA criteria, we need you to supply evidence for each qualification outcome. This is to prove that you know and do the things specified in the outcomes. But we can help you interpret these outcomes from an ESOL perspective. And you’ll need to send us your brief CV and qualifications as part of your portfolio of evidence anyway.

How much does it cost to get the NCALNE (Voc)?

  • The TEC subsidises the cost of the NCALNE (Voc). But they don’t cover 100%. In 2015, ALEC is charging a per-candidate fee of $750 + GST. We don’t discount this. And this pricing will most likely increase in 2016. But we are offering the following: Because this is new for us, you can try the process out for free up until the point that we tell you we’re ready to request your credential from the NZQA. This means we will assess your evidence portfolio and work with you at no initial cost. If you’re not happy, you walk away at any stage. We’ll bill your organisation at the end of the process provided everyone is happy.

What’s the process for this?

  • Our process has two parts. One is a portfolio of evidence and attestation from you that meets the outcome requirements. To complete this you’ll need to have a manager or supervisor verify the evidence that you compile and submit.  We want you to supply ESOL specific evidence from your normal teaching practice wherever possible.

    The other thing is that you’ll need to complete two of our regular assessments. These are available on The portfolio evidence relates to outcomes 3 to 7 from the NCALNE (Voc). And the regular NCALNE assessments relate to outcomes 1 and 2. You can do these in any order, but we recommend that you complete assessments 1 and 2 first.

What are the seven NCALNE (Voc) outcomes?

  1. NZ context (Pathways Awarua NCALNE Assessment 1)
  2. Maori context (Pathways Awarua NCALNE Assessment 2)
  3. Knowing the demands (Portfolio)
  4. Knowing the learner (Portfolio)
  5. Knowing what to do (Portfolio)
  6. Assessing progress (Portfolio)
  7. Evaluating (Portfolio)

I don’t want to compile a portfolio of evidence. Can I just do the course the regular way

How do I access the NCALNE (Voc) content for assessments 1 and 2?

  • It’s online here: First, you need to register as an educator on the website. Contact us for our ALEC join code. Second, you need to complete the ENROL module. We’ll send you more info once you’re enrolled.

How do I put together my portfolio for outcomes 3 to 7

  • We have instructions and a template that we’ll send you. We’re committed to keeping this paperwork minimal. We’ve designed the shortest template for this we can. It’s four pages long. This one document combines your portfolio checklist, your candidate attestation, and your verifier sign-off. Your evidence is on top of that, of course.

What kind of evidence can I submit?

  • You are free to choose the kind of evidence that you submit as well as the format that you submit it in. This applies to each of outcomes 3 to 7. We’ve listed some possible sources of evidence in the checklist. We want you to choose evidence that relates to your ESOL context. We’re happy to discuss this with you as you need to.

What if I can’t supply the right kind of evidence? I’m worried there might be gaps?

  • We think that ESOL teachers routinely do many, if not all of the things required by Outcomes 3 to 7. If we think there is a gap in your portfolio evidence we’ll get in touch with you and talk about it. We might ask you to send additional material. or we might ask you to complete a particular task to generate the evidence we need. We’re on your side here and we want this process to work.

Where should I add comments or notes?

  • You can use any format you like for this. For example, you can email us or create a separate word document for any notes or commentary that you want to add. The main thing is that you label everything clearly so we can connect these to the correct outcomes. Also, please send supporting notes or commentary electronically to  

My supervisor or manager wants to add comments. How do they do this?

  • As above, any format is fine as long as it is clearly marked with the name of the supervisor or manager, as well as the outcome that it relates to. We would like to encourage you to seek this feedback from your managers and include them in the process as much as possible.

    Try and anticipate our questions. If a piece of evidence might seem unclear to us, comments from your manager may help us make the connection to the outcome more easily. This will speed up the process for all of us.

Author: Graeme Smith

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

4 thoughts

  1. I agree completely with the need for NCALNE there is no way you should be tutoring anyone without this additional certification. I learnt way more from that then I did from TESOL, if you’re asking then you’re in the wrong job……………………

    1. Thanks, Bernadette…! Hopefully, this option provides a middle path for experienced and trained TESOL tutors. I’m also hoping that this process also helps us move the conversation forward between TESOL people and the TEC. Cheers, G

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