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 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 or the co-requisite's

NCEA Level 1

  • 60 credits at Level 1 or higher;
  • 10 literacy credits
  • 10 numeracy credits

NCEA Level 2

  • 60 credits from level 2 or higher
  • Level 1 literacy & numeracy

NCEA Level 3

  • 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