About NCEA Online

New Zealand schools are increasingly using digitally enabled teaching and learning, and NCEA assessments need to reflect this. NZQA has worked with schools and students since 2014 to co-design external digital assessment.

In 2019 NZQA offered 35 digital exam sessions across 14 subjects. In 2020 we’ll offer 58 exam sessions across 21 subjects and three levels (except where indicated) as follows:

Agricultural & Horticultural Science

Art History

Business Studies


Classical Studies

Education for Sustainability (L2 only)






Home Economics


Latin (L1 & 2 only)

Media Studies



Social Studies


Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Rangatira

Evaluation report summaries are available for 2018 and earlier years.  Evaluation of NCEA Online in 2019 is underway.

Participation in NCEA Online is growing as the number of digital exam sessions increases.  Schools and students can opt in when they are ready. Ready means the students are doing some of their schoolwork online using a familiar digital device. In 2020 students completing NCEA Online will continue to be provided with a personalised exam paper as a backup if they revert to paper.

NCEA Online does not create an extra load on the school infrastructure compared to normal daily use. In 2020 Network for Learning will continue to provide support for schools to prepare for and offer digital exams.    

NZQA will be supporting schools and students to prepare for NCEA Online through:

Practice activities – showing students and teachers the features of NCEA Online

Digital device check – students can check their device and its software are compatible with the NCEA Online software

Digitised exam papers from 2019 - for the subjects available in 2020   

School readiness – working with school leaders to help them assess their readiness to offer their students the option of NCEA Online

Technical readiness – working through Network for Learning to help school leaders and their IT support people to assess their readiness     
Training – providing Exam Centre Managers and Supervisors with the knowledge and skills to administer digital exam sessions.  

Schools considering participation in the 2020 digital exams can visit this page for more information.

NZQA will keep working with schools and students to ensure technology delivers a good user experience for a subject before it is offered as a digital assessment that counts towards NCEA. We are currently focussing on offering the subjects that are predominantly text-based and continuing to investigate options where formulas or special characters are required, such as mathematics, science and music. 

The Digital Assessment Vision  provides more information about the direction of NCEA Online.  


Page last updated 31 January 2020

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us newzealand.govt.nz