Threshold set for Learning Recognition Credits and other NCEA/UE changes

2 Sep 2021

In addition to the adjustments to NCEA and NZ Scholarship assessment dates made on 25 August, the Government has announced that if schools and kura are disrupted by Alert Levels 3 or 4 for a total of 20 or more school days in 2021, these additional changes would apply:

  • Learning Recognition Credits and other adjustments to NCEA would be available at the same rates and levels as were announced nationally in June in 2020
  • This includes applying the same adjusted threshold as in 2020 for students to be awarded University Entrance (UE).

As with the changes to NCEA and UE last year, these changes aim to make sure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned both in and outside of class. 

They are also designed to ensure an NCEA qualification received this year will open doors to study and work in the same way as an NCEA earned in any other year – and part of this is ensuring Learning Recognition Credits are earned in proportion to the standards students achieve through internal and external assessments.

Schools in Auckland, including those which had to close as a direct result of COVID earlier this year, will meet the threshold at different times from schools in other parts of New Zealand. NZQA will monitor the situation of individual schools with respect to applying the Learning Recognition Credits and other measures.

Learning Recognition Credits

If schools and kura are disrupted by Alert Levels 3 or 4 for a total of 20 or more school days, Learning Recognition Credits will become available at the same rates and levels as originally announced in 2020.

  • For every 5 credits a student earns towards their NCEA through assessment, they would be entitled to one extra Learning Recognition Credit to acknowledge the disruption to their learning.
  • Students undertaking NCEA Level 1 would be eligible for up to a maximum of 10 additional credits, while those at Levels 2 or 3 would be eligible for up to a maximum of 8 additional credits.

Certificate and Course Endorsements

If the Alert Level threshold is met, the Government has also decided to apply the same adjusted thresholds as originally announced in 2020 for students to be awarded Certificate and Course Endorsements, and University Entrance.

  • For Certificate Endorsements, this would mean achieving 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, instead of the usual 50.
  • Course Endorsements would require 12 credits at Achieved or Merit or Excellence level in a course, rather than 14 – though students would still need to achieve at least 3 credits from external assessment and 3 from internal assessment (where these requirements usually apply).

University Entrance

  • To be awarded University Entrance, students would need to achieve 12 - rather than 14 - credits in each of 3 University Entrance Approved Subjects. Students would still need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet literacy and numeracy requirements.

2021 threshold for LRCs and associated measures 

The threshold of 20 school days (which is slightly lower than in 2020) has been used as we know Term 3 is a very busy period for schools and kura, with students completing internal assessments and preparing for external assessments. 

Disruption at this time of the year is likely to have a different impact from disruption earlier in the year; there is less time in 2021 for students to “catch up”. 

The 20 school day threshold also reflects the challenges of dealing with the Delta variant – including the suddenness of the recent lockdown, and the possibility that transitions between Levels 4/3 and 2 may be more complex than last year.

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