Review of the 2007 NCEA enhancements

The report of the independent review on the effectiveness of NZQA's implementation of the 2007 NCEA enhancements is now available. The report is positive.

The review found there was a high level of confidence in NCEA as a credible qualification and that the 2007 enhancements were supported in principle and in the way they had been implemented by NZQA. It was clear that people are more confident in the qualification, more trusting about the moderation processes, and appreciative of the increase in transparency.

The review commended NZQA for its implementation of the 2007 enhancements and for taking a dynamic approach to the ongoing implementation of the NCEA.

The review makes recommendations in the following areas:

  • lifting the general understanding and awareness of NCEA;
  • strengthening professional support for the sector;
  • improving NZQA's scheduling/planning of changes;
  • refining the endorsement process;
  • the respective work programmes of education agencies be better coordinated;
  • the NZQA Future State work move at a pace that meets expectations and assures sound and safe implementation;
  • and Special Assessment Conditions processes ensure equity.

You can download the full report here (PDF, 921KB).

NZQA acknowledges and thanks the independent panel who carried out the review, and all who took the time to meet with the panel or to make a submission.


NZQA's role in the education sector is to ensure that quality assured New Zealand qualifications are regarded as credible and robust, nationally and internationally, in order to help learners succeed in their chosen endeavours and to contribute to New Zealand society. NZQA is responsible for administering the secondary school assessment systems for qualifications in New Zealand.

NCEA was introduced in 2002 with its first cycle in 2004. The Ministry of Education is the developer and maintainer of NCEA and achievement standards. NZQA implements the senior secondary assessment system for NCEA. In 2007, enhancements to NCEA were initiated to ensure the qualification remains relevant and meaningful for students. The enhancements were aimed at increasing student motivation, moderation of internal assessment, the consistency of results, and transparency.

In late 2014, NZQA undertook an independent review of the effectiveness of NZQA's implementation of the 2007 NCEA enhancements for which it has direct responsibility. An independent panel of respected academics and practitioners carried out the review.

A report to the NZQA Board from the independent panel was the expected outcome. The report would provide an assessment of the effectiveness (value-add) of the 2007 enhancements and to make recommendations that would further enhance the quality and credibility of NCEA. NZQA anticipated that the panel may also suggest refinements for NZQA (and the Ministry of Education) to consider.


In August 2014, NZQA advised the public that it was carrying out an independent review.

The terms of reference was made available and included a set of questions based on the three focus areas of the 2007 NCEA enhancements (improving student motivation, supporting teachers' assessment practices, and information). The biographies of the five independent review panel members were also made available.

To inform the panel's review, NZQA provided the panel with background reading material and an NZQA self-commentary on the effectiveness of its implementation of the 2007 NCEA enhancements.

From 19 September to 15 October 2014, NZQA also invited feedback from the public to inform the review, either by completing an online web form or by written submission to a dedicated email address. The web form posed the questions in the terms of reference as statements and asked respondents to signal their agreement or disagreement with the statement, and to make comment (if they wished). A summary of the submissions received from the public was provided to the panel.

The panel came together in Wellington from 20-24 October 2014. The panel met with representatives from NZQA and the Ministry of Education; representatives from the secondary and tertiary education sector and the business sector; and academics and researchers of the NCEA. The panel also visited a secondary school. The process included independent external review of the draft report, following which the panel provided NZQA with its final report at the end of December 2014.

The NZQA Board received the report of the panel (22 December 2014) An independent review of the effectiveness of NZQA's implementation of the 2007 NCEA enhancements at its meeting on 26 February 2015.

Next steps

The report is positive. Some of the panel's recommendations are already in hand.

The review has also identified further refinements of the 2007 NCEA enhancements for NZQA (and the Ministry of Education) to consider.

NZQA and the Ministry of Education are committed to:

  • work together to implement the report's recommendations; and
  • continue to work with the sector on any future developments designed to build community knowledge of NCEA further and enhance confidence in the qualification.

NZQA is particularly interested to involve students, whānau and parents, employers, teachers, principals, and tertiary education providers in any upcoming developments.

Please direct any queries to:

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