Qualifications and standards

Development and Review of ECE Unit Standards – Level 2, 3, 4

Current developments

Consultation on the reviewed Consent and Moderation requirements document for Early Childhood Education unit standards (CMR135) is open until 14 December 2016.

Information regarding the consultation can be found on the ECE CMR consultation page.

Recent developments

Consultation closed 19 September 2016 - standards submitted for quality assurance November 2016

NZQA National Qualifications Services invited you to provide feedback on a suite of proposed unit standards developed for use as assessment tools for New Zealand early childhood qualifications at Levels 2 – 4; and proposed replacement relationship impacts on current ECE unit standards. 

The consultation closed on 19 September 2016, and we thank all who responded to the call for feedback on the standards.  A summary response to the consultation feedback is now available (DOCX, 69KB).  Further information regarding the consultation can be found on the development and review of ECE unit standards consultation page. This includes links to the consultation documents, including the proposed new standards (by qualification level) as at August 2016. 

The feedback was used to further refine the ECE unit standards to ensure that they met the needs of the sector before being submitted for quality assurance mid November 2016.  A landscape document (DOCX, 46KB) reflects the standards title and credits by level, and includes some optional standards. Copies of the draft standards are available on request to ece.review@nzqa.govt.nz.

Review of current standards

In the development of new unit standards for these New Zealand qualifications, duplication of content was identified with some existing unit standards.  These unit standards were therefore reviewed and are proposed to be replaced by the new standards, or recommended for expiry without replacement.

All current ECE unit standards at Levels 2-4 have been reviewed. The unit standards in bold are proposed to expire on 31 December 2019.




Early Childhood Education and Care

Early Childhood: Educational Theory and Practice

9302, 10013, 10019, 10020-10024, 10026, 26707, 26708, 26709, 26711, 26712, 27145

Early Childhood: Family, Whānau, Community, and Society

20406, 20407, 27146

Early Childhood: Professional Practice

10032, 12736, 26715, 26716

Once the new standards have been approved and listed on the NZQF, replaced current standards will be designated as ‘expiring’. There will be a transition period to allow time for providers to adjust their programmes and resources to the new standards.

Further information will be made available from this site as the project progresses.


A suite of new Early Childhood Education (ECE) qualifications were approved for listing in February 2016 as a result of the mandatory review of ECE qualifications.  Information on the review of and the new qualifications are available from the links below, from the ECE qualifications review webpage or the qualification by reference number or title.

NZQA National Qualifications Services (NQS) has been undertaking a project to ensure there is a suite of unit standards suitable for those who wish to use standards for assessment in programmes towards the proposed new ECE qualifications:

The initial project focused on standards associated with the Level 2, 3 and 4 Early Childhood qualifications.  If demand warrants, follow-up projects for standards related to Pacific Island ECE and for the proposed Diploma level qualifications may be undertaken.

The project involved developing new standards and reviewing current ECE unit standards to align with the graduate profile outcomes of the new qualifications in content and credit value. It also involved considering (not reviewing) existing unit standards from other domains that may be suitable as assessment tools for use in programmes towards the new ECE qualifications, to avoid duplication.

The new ECE qualifications do not require the use of unit standards or any specific method of assessment.  Some parts of the sector, however, requested that unit standards be developed for the new qualifications.

Unit standards were drafted mid-2015 to mid-2016 by a working group, and were available for consultation until 19 September 2016.  The standards refer specifically to the qualifications, and so reflect both the content and the context of the qualifications.

The development of the qualifications was based on a comprehensive needs analysis and thorough involvement of stakeholders to determine the expertise required by people in New Zealand today and in the future.  The objective of the review was to develop cohesive New Zealand ECE qualifications which are strategically relevant to New Zealand’s people and communities and their aspirations.

The content of these new unit standards therefore is determined by the qualifications, and their rigorous development.  The unit standards reflect the requirements of the graduate profile outcomes and associated conditions.  The credits allocated to the unit standards need to correspond with the credits allocated to the sets of outcomes in the qualifications, and the credits for the unit standards need to reflect this flexibility across a programme.

Working group

A project working group was established in August 2015 to undertake the detail work of developing and reviewing ECE unit standards towards three of the new qualifications.

The working group members collectively have a wide range of perspectives to reflect the diversity of the sector. The working group provides technical expertise in developing a cohesive set of standards for the new qualifications, which are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the community, employers and learners.

The working group met in August 2015 to start developing a landscape of possible standards that could be used as assessment tools to meet the requirements of the new qualifications at Levels 2, 3, and 4.

Following feedback on the proposed landscape from the email support network, the working group met to refine the landscape and commence the development and review of standards.  They have met several times to continue the development of unit standards, and review current unit standards impacted by proposed new standards.

Opportunities to contribute feedback, opinions, and ideas have been provided through a supporting email network, as the development work from the working group progressed through each stage.

Contact for the review

If you would like to receive information and updates about the review, please send a message to the review mailbox ece.review@nzqa.govt.nz asking to be added to the consultation list.  We welcome questions, ideas and contributions to the review.  We are keen to obtain any further expressions of interest in being involved with the supporting email network or the wider consultation network for ECE unit standards development and review.

Completed reviews

For information on 2015 maintenance of ECE standards, see Completed reviews.

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