NCEA Information

What is NCEA 

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the main national qualification for secondary school students in New Zealand. NCEAs are recognised by employers and used for selection by universities and polytechnics, both in New Zealand and overseas.


How does it work?

  • Each year, students study a number of courses or subjects.
  • In each subject, skills and knowledge are assessed against a number of standards. For example, a Mathematics standard could be: Apply numeric reasoning in solving problems.
  • Schools use a range of internal and external assessments to measure how well students meet these standards.
  • When a student achieves a standard, they gain a number of credits. Students must achieve a certain number of credits to gain an NCEA certificate.
  • There are three levels of NCEA Certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. In general, students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school.
  • Students are recognised for high achievement at each level by gaining NCEA with Merit or NCEA with Excellence. High achievement in a course is also recognised.

NZQA has a formal quality assurance process. This is to ensure that each standard is assessed fairly across all students, regardless of the school they attend. This includes internal moderation, external moderation and MNA system checks. MNA reports for specific schools can be found here.


Check your results

All students can keep track of their own results using their student login to The Catlins Area School's portal:

 Portal Login


Senior students can access their official NCEA results using their NZQA Login.


University Entrance

University Entrance (UE) is the minimum requirement to go to a New Zealand university. To qualify you will need:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • Three subjects - at Level 3, made up of:
  • Literacy - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:
    • 5 credits in reading
    • 5 credits in writing
  • Numeracy - 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:
    • achievement standards – specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects, or
    • unit standards - package of three numeracy unit standards (26623, 26626, 26627- all three required).

Once you have met the requirements for University Entrance it will appear on your Record of Achievement.


More Information

Secondary School & NCEA:

A Guide To NCEA For Secondary School Students And Parents

He Whakamārama mō te NCEA - Te reo Māori

O le Ta'iala mo le NCEA - Samoan

NCEA Online:

NCEA Online Digital Transformation

Te tautoko i ngā mahi aromatawai matihiko i roto i ngā kura - Te reo Māori

NCEA i luga o auala fa’atekenolosi - Samoan