John McGlashan College pupil Ed Davies (17) brushes up on biology before his Cambridge International Exams. About 80 pupils in Dunedin are sitting courses alternative to NCEA. Photo by Tim Miller
While thousands of pupils across Dunedin are starting to swot
and sweat about the end-of-year NCEA exams, a small group are
also focusing on alternative exams.
About 80 pupils in Dunedin will sit Cambridge International
Examinations or International Baccalaureate Exams (IB)
instead of NCEA.
Three schools in Dunedin offer the alternatives: Columba
College, King's High School and John McGlashan College.
Pupils from other schools can also apply to sit the Cambridge
exams individually, not through their school.
John McGlashan offers both the International Baccalaureate
and Diploma and the Cambridge Examinations.
Deputy principal David Boardman said the school offered year
12 and 13 pupils the choice of taking the International
Baccalaureate (IB) exams but the majority favoured NCEA.
''When NCEA was first introduced, it was diminished because
it was very different from School Certificate, but I think
people have come around to accept its positives,'' he said.
While the pupils who sat the IB diploma were usually at the
top of their class, it was not just offered to pupils who
excelled academically, Mr Boardman said.
IB offered a broad type of assessment which focused not only
on academic achievement but also on sporting, creative and
''It is up to the student what course he takes and we have
many bright students who choose to stick to NCEA and then
others who want something different,'' he said.
Last year about 450 pupils completed the IB diploma in New
Zealand and about 40 pupils from John McGlashan were taking
the course this year.
For the first time, King's High School has started offering
the Cambridge International exams to its top pupils in Year
10, before they go on to NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3.
Rector Dan Reddiex said the school offered the course to
about 20 pupils. It was designed to push them outside of
their comfort zone.
''It's really about extending the students academically and
the Cambridge exams offer a very good coverage of all
NCEA exams start on November 11 and International
Baccalaureate and Cambridge International Exams will be held