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Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the changes would support senior secondary school pupils whose teaching and learning had been disrupted by the Covid-19 restrictions.
‘‘The Government is moving to ensure students will not be penalised, while preserving the integrity of our national qualification.’’
Mr Hipkins recently announced end-of-year NCEA examinations and portfolio dates would be set back 10 days, to give pupils and teachers more time to prepare.
However, yesterday he confirmed further measures which would allow pupils to earn additional credits through their learning and assessment programme.
‘‘For each five credits a student attains towards their NCEA, they will be entitled to an additional Learning Recognition credit, up to a maximum of 10 additional credits for students undertaking NCEA Level 1, or up to a maximum of eight additional credits for students at NCEA Levels 2 or 3.’’
He said pupils would be awarded a certificate endorsement if they achieved 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, rather than the usual 50.
Similarly, pupils achieving 12 credits at Merit or Excellence level in a course — rather than 14 — would be awarded a course endorsement.
‘‘As further recognition of Covid-19’s impact, this year university entrance will be awarded to students who achieve 12 credits in each of three university entrance-approved subjects.
‘‘They will still need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet the literacy and numeracy requirements to be awarded UE.’’
He said the approach would maintain the credibility and reputation of the NCEA by basing additional credits on assessed learning.
‘‘Students can be confident that an NCEA attained this year will continue to open doors to tertiary study, vocational education or employment.’’
Mr Hipkins said he had also asked the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the ministry to consider how schools might identify and collect evidence that could be used to accredit the learning and skills gained by pupils outside their formal school programme of learning.
Otago Secondary Principals’ Association president Linda Miller said it was a sensible response, given the level of disruption pupils had experienced.
‘‘It will take some of the stress away and make achievement of the various qualifications and endorsements more attainable for many students, and reduce the impact of teachers having to drop standards due to time constraints.
‘‘Students will still need to ensure that they remain engaged and on track to achieve their goals.’’