Qualifications and standards

Review of English Language unit standards

Call for feedback on reviewed/newly developed unit standards in the English Language domain

NZQA National Qualifications Services (NQS) is seeking your feedback on the proposed changes to, and development of, English Language (EL) standards to ensure that the standards meet the diverse needs of the sector, and align to reviewed NZ Certificates in English Language (NZCEL) in content and credit value.

Proposed changes to standards

Main changes:

  • Expiry of current standards at Levels 1, 2 and 4, to be replaced by a new suite of standards to align to the new Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels.
  • An increased number of standards. Currently there are 48 English Language standards listed on the framework. In this review, a further 23 standards have been proposed, to meet the outcomes of three new NZCEL qualifications.
  • Context specific standards to accommodate the academic and workplace contexts in Level 3 (Applied) and Level 4 qualifications.
  • Larger credit value standards to include a range of skill sets at Level 4, to accommodate tertiary needs for a more flexible assessment approach. This might include naturally occurring evidence or a portfolio of work.
  • Introduction of standards to encourage wide reading at Levels 1 and 2.
  • Adjustment to the text length, text complexity and the range of evidence requirements to align to the new CEFR levels, where relevant.

More information and the feedback form (DOCX, 46KB) is available on the consultation page.


In March 2017 NQS commenced the review of English Language Level 1 Foundation - Level 4 unit standards to ensure that:

A review panel was established. It comprises of people who have:

  • expertise in English Language
  • understanding of the needs of English Language learners
  • commitment to the use of unit standards as assessment tools in programmes
  • commitment to open communication, collaborative problem solving, and team work.

The panel collectively has experience/expertise in/with:

  • assessment, design and moderation of English Language unit standards
  • New Zealand Certificates in English Language
  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
  • graded unit standards
  • English for Academic Purposes unit standards
  • English Language related projects, reviews and programme implementation
  • Secondary, tertiary and community sector.

Contact for the review

We welcome questions, ideas and contributions to the review. If you would like to receive information and updates about the review, please send a message the review mailbox asking to be added to the email network, at: englishlanguage.review@nzqa.govt.nz.


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