NCEA Information


There are three NCEA qualifications: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Most subjects will offer courses which can generate approximately 20 credits during the year. Some standards are Unit Standards (N-A) and some standards are Achievement Standards (N-A-M-E). Each standard will be worth a number of credits. Some standards will be assessed internally during the year, whilst other standards will be assessed in an examination at the end of the year. Each course outline identifies the standards offered, the credits generated, and whether the standard is assessed internally or externally. Unit Standards are mastery assessments and link through to vocational pathways. Achievement Standards note the level at which students achieve and are required at Level 3 for University Entrance.


For a student to be awarded NCEA Level 1 they must achieve:

·       80 credits at Level 1 or above

·       Level 1 Literacy - 10 specific literacy credits must be achieved

·       Level 1 Numeracy – 10 specific numeracy


For a student to be awarded NCEA Level 2 they must achieve:

·       60 credits at Level 2 or above; plus

·       20 credits at any level

·       Level 1 literacy and numeracy


For a student to be awarded NCEA Level 3, they must achieve:

·       60 credits are Level 3 or above; plus

·       20 credits at Level 2 or above

·       Level 1 literacy and numeracy



Students are able to gain NCEA certificates endorsed with Merit or Excellence. A student who has gained 50 credits at Merit and/or Excellence level will qualify for the respective endorsement.


A course endorsement provides recognition for a student who has performed exceptionally well in an individual course. The key objective of a course endorsement is to motivate students to achieve their potential in one or more courses.


Students will gain an endorsement for a course if, in a single school year, they achieve :

·       14 or more credits at Merit and/or Excellence

·       at least 3 of these credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards (with the exception of some subjects such as Visual Arts, Religious Studies or Physical Education, which are only internally assessed)



If you have a physical or learning disability, and require the assistance of a reader, writer and/or extra time to be able to attempt your Achievement/Unit Standards, you need to discuss this with the Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) for special assessment conditions. NZQA and the College have strict rules for the application of Special Assessment conditions.


New Zealand residents do not have to pay a fee for NZQA Assessments.


In January, New Zealand Qualifications Authority results are available on-line. Students will be able to see their grades subject and standard.


On request, NZQA will also provide students with a ‘Record of Learning’. This will not be issued until April/May, after all reviews and reconsiderations have been completed.


University Entrance (UE) requirement. Students will need ALL of the following to be awarded UE:

·       Attain NCEA Level 3 (60 L3 credits + 20 from any other Level)

·       Achieve 14 credits at Level Three in each of three subjects from the list of approved subjects. The list of approved subjects will consist of subjects derived from the New Zealand Curriculum with achievement standards at Level 3

·       Achieve UE numeracy - 10 credits at Level 1 and above from specific achievement standards, or three specific numeracy unit standards or three specific numeracy unit standards

·       Achieve UE literacy - 10 credits (five in reading and five in writing) at Level 2 and above from specific standards.

NCEA Level 3: Students will need to attain NCEA Level 3. Three of their subjects must be on the list of approved subjects, in each of which they need to achieve at least 14 credits. Any remaining credits from Level 3 or higher that they need in order to gain their Level 3 NCEA can come from any field, subfield or domain. This means that credits from unit standard-based subjects can contribute to UE through this requirement.


The UE numeracy is the same as the NCEA Level 1 numeracy requirement.


Students in Year 12 may meet their UE literacy requirement through a range of Level 2 or Level 3 standards. These standards are clearly identified in the course information later.

You MUST gain 5 credits in ‘Reading’ AND 5 credits in ‘Writing’. Some standards are Reading, some are Writing, and some are both. If the standard is designated as both Reading and Writing, then the credits for that standard can be split, but NOT used twice.

Subjects at Level 2 where UEL credits can be gained are – English, Classical Studies, Drama, Economics, Geography, History, Nutrition & Health, Mathematics and Statistics.

Subjects at Level 3 where UEL credits can be gained are – Accounting, Agriculture and Horticultural Science, Biology, Classical Studies, Drama, Earth and Space Science, Economics, English, Geography, Health, History, Health, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics, Sport Science.

In addition to the minimum requirement, many universities have introduced an entry restriction for their courses. This was based on the quality of grades gained at Level 3 in ‘approved’ university subjects. Taking a student’s best 80 credits in any approved subject, they generate point totals with - 4 for Excellence / 3 for Merit / 2 for Achieved. (The maximum total a student could gain therefore was 320 points – 80 credits, all at Excellence)

Students therefore need to select their Level 3 subjects with care, giving themselves the best possible chance of scoring well in this ‘ranking’ process.

Subjects from the university APPROVED list offered by Bethlehem College:

·       Accounting

·       Agriculture and Horticultural Science

·       Biology

·       Chemistry

·       Christian Studies

·       Classical Studies

·       Computing

·       Design and Visual Communications

·       Drama

·       Economics

·       English

·       French

·       Geography

·       Health

·       History

·       Materials Technology

·       Mathematics with Calculus

·       Mathematics with Statistics

·       Music Studies

·       Physics

·       Earth Space Science

·       Sports Science/Outdoor Ed

·       Statistics and Probability

·       Textile Technology

·       Te Reo Maori

·       Visual Art – Art Design

·       Visual Art – Painting

·       Visual Art – Photography

Subjects from the NZQA DOMAIN lists offered by Bethlehem College

·       Early Childhood Education

·       Sound Production

·       Tourism

·       Hospitality

·       Gateway

All credits gained in these subjects DO count towards a Level 3 certificate and the initial university entrance requirement, but do NOT count towards the point totals process outlined above. It is important to check the entry requirements carefully for every tertiary course.

Some providers have further specific entry requirements and you must meet these requirements for the particular course of your choice. Check your chosen tertiary provider’s prospectus or go online to see their entry requirements. See transition staff for general/specific entry criteria.

All universities and polytechnics have similar sites e.g. university name., e.g. or

NZQA Webpage For further NCEA information, please look at the NZQA website:

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