NCEA 2020-10-15T10:04:23+13:00

The Ponatahi Christian School Prospectus


The National Certificate of Educational Achievement is the flagship qualification for New Zealand secondary students. Across the country it can be shown that less than 4% of school leavers who passed NCEA level 2 are on long-term welfare. It is the pathway to a quality job and career, while NCEA level 3 is the pathway to university success. To pass NCEA credits are accumulated by the students passing standards.



To gain an NCEA Certificate at level 1 a student must earn 80 credits at level 1 or higher. To gain NCEA at level 2 a student must earn 60 credits at level 2 and 20 at any level (1 – 3). For NCEA level 3 a student must gain 60 credits at level 3 and 20 at level 2 or higher. High achievement is recognised through Endorsements.

A student who gains at least 50 credits at excellence level will have their certificate endorsed with Excellence. Anyone who gains 50 credits with a mixture of merit and excellence grades will have their certificate endorsed with Merit.

Subject Entry Requirements

Entry into NCEA level 1 subjects is automatic. Entry into NCEA level 2 or 3 subjects requires a minimum of 14 credits achieved at the relevant subject at the previous level. Students not reaching this minimum entry level will be required to achieve one or more internal standards over the summer break or at the start of the academic year if they want to advance in the desired subject.

NCEA Course Endorsement

High achievement in a school course is recognised by Course Endorsement. A minimum of 14 credits at Merit and/or Excellence in a single year will earn an endorsement as long as at least 3 credits come from each of an internal assessment and an external assessment.

Vocational Pathways

Six new Vocational Pathways are designed to improve the relevance of learning for students by indicating how their learning and achievement is valued by broad sectors of the workforce. Each has been colour coded for ease of recognition to help students and teachers planning study programmes.

The pathways are:

  • Manufacture and Technology (red)
  • Construction and Infrastructure (orange)
  • Creative industries (yellow)
  • Primary Industries (green)
  • Services Industries (blue)
  • Social & Community Services (purple)

Each pathway is being developed by a consortium of Industry Training Organisations and representatives of schools and tertiary providers, liaising with government agencies.

All students will automatically receive access to their personalised Vocational Profile via their student login to the NZQA website. This will show their progress to achieving a formal Vocational Pathways endorsement via a Vocational Award.

To achieve the Vocational Pathways Award, the learner must achieve NCEA level 2 which includes literacy (10 credits) and numeracy (10 credits) at level 1 or above, and achieve 60 level 2 credits from the Recommended Assessment Standards for a Vocational Pathways sector (e.g. Primary Industries), including 20 level 2 credits from Sector-Related Standards for that sector.

Both the 60 Recommended Assessment Standards and the 20 Sector-Related Standards must come from the same Vocational Pathway.

University Entrance

University Entrance (UE) is the minimum requirement to go to a New Zealand university. To qualify, you will need NCEA Level 3 and 14 credits in 3 approved level 3 subjects each and the following literacy and numeracy criteria:

  • 10 literacy credits at Level 2 or above, consisting of 5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing.
  • 10 numeracy credits at Level 1 or above, consisting of either specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects or all of the 3 numeracy unit standards.

Note that the criteria above are minimum requirements. Many university courses have additional requirements for specific courses.


Scholarship provides recognition and monetary reward to top students in their last year of schooling. Scholarship exams enable candidates to be assessed against challenging standards, and are demanding for the most able candidates in each subject. Scholarship candidates are expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations. For more information about scholarship, see the NZQA website.


The course you are enrolled in will be assessed against achievement or unit standards. For each course there are a number of standards and each standard is worth a certain number of credits. The number of credits varies according to the amount of work being assessed and the number of achievement standards varies from course to course and will be outlined in the course outline, given to you by your teacher. A normal full year course usually gives you the opportunity to gain at least 20 credits in each subject area. The credits are awarded to each individual who achieves the standard. Merit and Excellence can also be awarded for each achievement standard if work of sufficiently high standard is submitted.

For each course some of the achievement standards are assessed internally (i.e. by the school) spread over the year and some are assessed externally in November. For nearly all subjects the external assessments will take the form of a written examination. All Unit Standards are internally assessed. The grades for Unit Standards are either Not Achieved or Achieved.

The purpose of this handbook is to ensure that you understand the processes related to the assessments of standards. It is important that you read the booklet carefully and ask questions if you do not quite understand something.

Once you have read the booklet both you and your parent / caregiver must sign the form which is an authenticity declaration. Your results for internal assessment cannot be processed until this form is signed and returned.

Special Assessment Conditions

If you have a permanent or long-term medical, physical or sensory condition and/or specific learning disability that directly impacts on your ability, your parents may apply for entitlement to Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) so that you can be assessed fairly in assessments. Parents will need to apply, in writing, to the Principal’s Nominee as soon as possible.

Internal assessments


It is essential that work submitted for assessment is authentically your own work. This means that the sources you have used are all acknowledged and the evidence you submit to be assessed against the standards is a true reflection of your abilities and effort. Conditions of assessment may be different from one standard to another, so if you are thinking about asking for help from anyone else than your teacher, make sure you check with your teacher whether this is all right first. Proof reading for spelling and punctuation and suggestions of sources of information are generally considered legitimate assistance, except for standards where these skills are specifically being assessed. Direction as to what and how to write it is generally not allowed.

Breach of authenticity

If a breach of authenticity is suspected, the following steps will be followed:

  1. The teacher will firstly seek clarification from the student, showing the evidence. If the student confesses then the student is awarded a Not Achieved (N) and the student may not be eligible for another opportunity in that standard in that year, at the discretion of the teacher in charge. Parents will be informed about the decision. If the student denies wrongdoing and the teacher remains concerned then we continue to step 2.
  2. The teacher will bring the evidence to the Qualifications Advisory Committee (QAC), consisting of all college teachers, which may require an interview with the student by two members of the QAC. The student is entitled to bring a support person to the interview.
  3. If the QAC is convinced that that authenticity has been breached then it will issue a Not Achieved (N) grade and the student will not be eligible for another opportunity in that standard in that year. Parents will be informed about the decision.
  4. A parent may appeal a decision from the QAC, in writing within seven days, in which the appeal will be heard by the QAC with a Board of Trustees representative present. This decision will be final.

In each of these steps the principles of natural justice will apply assuming the student to be innocent until proven otherwise.

Missed Assessment / Extension

You can request not to have a standard assessed. This request needs to be made before the assessment materials have been presented to them. The teacher will, in consultation with the parents, make the final decision on whether the student will be assessed on that standard. Once the assessment materials have been presented to the students, they will be marked.


A student who is absent on the day of a summative assessment and has a legitimate reason will, if practicable, be given an assessment opportunity as soon as possible on his/her return to school. Teachers may be able to award a grade from existing standard specific evidence.


A due date for each assessment will be given well in advance. If a student is in danger of missing a deadline for legitimate reasons, an extension should be negotiated in advance. If adequate opportunity has been provided for you to complete a task the request is likely to be declined. A grade of Not Achieved will be given if you fail to hand in the work.

Legitimate reasons may include, but are not limited to, sports, cultural or academic involvement, illness or personal / family crisis. In all cases appropriate documentation must be provided. The Principal’s Nominee will be responsible for determining whether or not a reason is legitimate.


If a student believes that his/her performance in an assessed activity has been impaired because of illness, bereavement, trauma or other unforeseen circumstance then the student may apply for an extension or further assessment opportunity.

In all cases you must provide a note from a parent or doctor and complete a Missed Assessment application form for a further assessment opportunity or an extension. This form must be retrieved and submitted to the Principal’s Nominee.

Further Opportunities

We will offer a maximum of one further opportunity for assessment of a standard within a year. This will only be available if it is manageable in terms of practical issues, manageability, cost and if it does not compromise the integrity of the work being assessed.

If a further opportunity for assessment is offered to any student, it will be made available to all students entered for that standard. It is, however, your responsibility to apply for this opportunity.

If a further assessment opportunity is available, this will ordinarily be provided during your study leave in term 4. You must apply for a further assessment opportunity before the end of term 3 by submitting a completed Missed Assessment application form to the Principal’s Nominee.

Out of the two results of both assessments, the highest mark will be entered into the NZQA system.


An appeal regarding any assessment decision (including marks and assessment opportunities) must be made within seven days of taking knowledge of the decision. The following procedure will apply:

  1. Any student appealing an assessment decision must first go to the teacher/assessor concerned. The teacher is to either reconsider the decision or to explain the decision in relation to standards expected and assessment conditions.
  2. If agreement can still not be reached then the student may collect an appeal form from the Principal’s Nominee so that the student can use this form to put his/her appeal in writing.
  3. The appeal will then be heard by the QAC. The student has the right to make a written submission beyond the appeal form, but does not have the right to be present. The student and parent(s)/caregiver(s) will be informed in writing of the results of the appeal. The decision of the QAC is final.

External assessments

The external exams typically start in early November. The school provides its own exam centre in the Reformed Congregations’ church hall. For a detailed timetable see the NZQA website.

Students absent from any of the external exams need to provide a doctor’s certificate and get in contact with the Principal’s Nominee as soon as possible, to start the process to apply for a derived grade.


You will typically be provided with a printout of your personal results that are held on the NZQA system. This will happen three times a year:

  • week 9 of term 2, week 5 of term 3, and week 1 of term 4

This printout is to be signed and returned to the Principal’s Nominee as an acknowledgement that the data held is accurate.

NZQA website

You can also access your results on the NZQA website. You should register for learner login on the website. This gives you access to all courses you are enrolled in this year, as well as all standards you have been assessed on in the previous years. You can also access information on your awards and your vocational profile.