Changes to the list of standards that can contribute to University Entrance literacy requirements

NZQA regularly maintains and reviews of the list of assessment standards that contribute to University Entrance literacy requirements (the List).

The List ensures that students have a variety of opportunities to show that they can read between the lines, critically analyse what has been read, synthesise various opinions and present an opinion backed by acknowledged evidence from a reading(s).

Maintenance happens when new achievement standards are developed or existing standards are reviewed, often on a yearly basis.

Periodic reviews happen every four years and allow the whole list of standards to be considered against current evidence.

See below for information about the differences between the University Entrance and NCEA literacy requirements.

To find out more, click on the blue arrows below.

Yearly Maintenance

In 2018, new and reviewed Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko achievement standards were considered for inclusion on the List. One standard, Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko 3.9 (AS 91908), was considered to meet the definition of academic literacy.

The standards were considered against an agreed definition of academic literacy (see below for the agreed definition) by an expert panel. The panel consisted of two literacy experts, representing schools and universities, who previously contributed to the development of the List and its recent review. Advice on the review process and the expert panel’s recommendations was also provided by representatives from Universities New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.

Standard 91908 will be available on the list for use towards University Entrance literacy from 1 April 2019.

Periodic Review

The first periodic review of the University Entrance literacy list was carried out in 2017 and 2018. The next periodic review of the List is planned to start in 2022.

Outcome of the review

Following the review, 19 standards will be added to the List, 13 standards will be removed, and 21 standards currently on the List will change whether they count towards reading or writing. See the Changes to the List document for more information.

Consultation on the reviewed List took place between February and April 2018 and the panel considered all feedback provided. The feedback resulted in consideration of 23 additional standards and in amendments to some of the proposed changes. There were 188 responses from 31 organisations and 157 individuals.

Aside from comment on inclusion of subjects and standards, several other themes emerged from consultation:

  • Inclusion of foreign languages on the List
  • Suggestions for future reviews
  • Accessibility issues related to reading and writing and examinations.

Changes to the standards themselves or to the approved subjects list will be addressed separately.

See the documents below for more detail on the outcome of consultation:

Implementation timeframes for the reviewed list of standards

Stage

Date
Changes to List available for planning purposes From late 2018
Reviewed List applies From 1 January 2020
Transition to reviewed list complete 31 December 2021

Background on the review

The 2016–2017 review of the University Entrance requirements found that the current University Entrance Literacy requirements themselves are largely fit for purpose. However, it concluded that the List should be reviewed. This would ensure that all standards on the List provide appropriate evidence of the reading and writing skills required for university-level study.

Review process

An expert panel reviewed the List against a definition of academic literacy and made recommendations to NZQA for consideration. The panel consisted of three literacy experts, representing schools and universities, who previously contributed to the development of the List in 2012. Advice on the review process and the expert panel’s recommendations was also provided by representatives from Universities New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.

Scope of the review

There were 162 assessment standards (160 achievement standards and two Level 4 English for Academic Purposes unit standards) in the original scope of the review. In addition, 46 standards suggested during the review were considered.

The review did not include the 35 Māori-medium standards on the current List, which were evaluated for suitability for the List in October 2016.

Also out of scope, were 18 standards evaluated as part of normal maintenance of the List and added in December 2017.

The review of the List was separate from the review of NCEA, which is being carried out by the Ministry of Education. That review specifically excludes University Entrance requirements.

Difference between NCEA literacy and University Entrance literacy requirements

The University Entrance literacy requirement is 10 credits from standards on the University Entrance literacy list (5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing), while the NCEA literacy requirement is a minimum of 10 credits from either the NCEA literacy list or a package of three literacy unit standards (26622, 26624 and 26625).

While there is some overlap, the literacy lists for University Entrance and NCEA are separately maintained. All of the standards on the University Entrance list can also be found on the NCEA list, but not all the standards on the NCEA list meet the definition of academic literacy that is used to evaluate whether standards go on the University Entrance list.

Definition of academic literacy for University Entrance

The definition of academic literacy was developed by NZQA in consultation with Universities New Zealand’s University Entrance sub-committee in 2012 and confirmed again in 2017. Standards that can contribute to literacy requirements for University Entrance must show that they meet the following definition of literacy for entrance into university-level study:

Secondary school students must exhibit a certain level of reading and writing ability to be sufficiently prepared to enter university-level courses. The reading and writing skills required to gain University Entrance are generic, as once a student has commenced university study the level of literacy required will be more advanced and discipline specific. Students should be able to exhibit the following generic reading and writing skills:

  • read with understanding – ‘reading between the lines’ in order to grasp the nuances of the type of text*
  • critically analyse what has been read
  • synthesise various opinions/insights/points of view
  • present an opinion/insight/point of view backed by acknowledged evidence from a reading(s)
  • write an opinion/insight/point of view coherently and cohesively

*At a level suitable for entry into university students should be reading texts intended for a non-academic audience (e.g. articles from Listener/ North & South/ Time magazines; textbooks or texts uses in learning areas in senior secondary school; ac/edu/org websites).

Contact

For more information, please email UEchanges@nzqa.govt.nz.

 
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