NCEA - National Certificate of Educational Achievement

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is New Zealand's main qualification for secondary school students. NCEA sits on the National Qualification Framework (NQF) alongside more than 800 other national qualifications and is recognised by employers and used for selection by universities and polytechnics in NZ and overseas.

Most students will complete a level of the NCEA qualification as they move through the senior school; 

  • Year 11 – Level 1
  • Year 12 – Level 2
  • Year 13 – Level 3

However, there is flexibility for some students to take courses at more than one level in a year in order to better meet their academic needs.

Literacy and numeracy

Students are required to achieve 10 literacy credits  and 10 numeracy credits at level 1 to gain the NCEA level 1,2 and 3 qualification

NCEA Level 1

  • 80 credits which include;
  • 10 literacy credits
  • 10 numeracy credits
  • Maths and English compulsory

NCEA Level 2

  • 80 credits in total
  • 60 credits from level 2 or higher
  • Level 1 literacy & numeracy
  • English is compulsory 

NCEA Level 3

•80 credits in total
•60 credits from level 3 or higher
•Level 1 literacy & numeracy 


New Zealand Scholarship Examination is available for most subjects and this expects a performance beyond Level 3