Assessment Matters


New Zealand Certificate qualifications
A2016/026 - 01 Dec 2016


Principal's Nominee
All teachers

New Zealand Certificate qualifications

To ensure consistency of qualifications nationwide, National Certificates are being progressively replaced by New Zealand Certificates. New Zealand Certificates are qualifications that are approved by NZQA for Levels 1 to 6 of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

Why has the New Zealand Certificate qualification been developed?

A review in 2008-09 found that the qualifications system was difficult for learners, employers and industry to understand because it:

  • was not relevant to some employers and industry
  • was not user-friendly, and the status of qualifications was unclear
  • contained a large number of similar qualifications which made distinguishing between qualifications and identifying education/career pathways difficult.

The following principles are used to develop New Zealand Certificate qualifications. They must be:

  • focused on graduate, education and employment pathways
  • flexible, so they can be achieved in different settings including the workplace and provider-based education
  • developed collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders including education providers and employers.

How are New Zealand Certificate qualifications awarded?

To be awarded a New Zealand Certificate, qualification graduates must have demonstrated that they have met the graduate outcomes specified in the qualification.

In order for this to happen, programmes are developed that take a student through their learning journey to reach those graduate outcomes. Graduate outcomes include the knowledge, skills and key competencies necessary to meet the requirements of the qualification.

To deliver the qualification all educational providers including schools need the relevant programme approved and/or accredited by NZQA (see A2016/025 - Programme Approval and Accreditation for New Zealand Certificate courses in Secondary Schools)

A list of NZQA approved New Zealand Certificate qualifications is on the NZQA website under Qualifications.


Please refer any enquiries relating to this circular to your School Relationship Manager.

School Relationship Manager
School Quality Assurance and Liaison
Telephone: 04 463 3000
Fax: 04 463 3115

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