Qualifications and standards

Development and Review of ECE Unit Standards – Level 2, 3, 4

Current developments

The suite of twenty-nine new and five reviewed Early Childhood unit standards developed for use as assessment tools for New Zealand Early Childhood qualifications at Levels 2-4 were published in April 2017. 

The new Early Childhood unit standards in subfield Early Childhood Education and Care are numbered from 29852 – 29881. The published standards can be accessed by searching for the unit standard reference number.

The landscape (DOCX, 48KB) of unit standards towards new NZ qualifications at Levels 2-4 provides details of the standards title and credits by level.  This information may help inform programme development.

All current ECE unit standards at Levels 2-4 have been reviewed. Seventeen reviewed current unit standards (in bold) were recommended for replacement by the new standards (Category C review) as they duplicate content in the new standards.

Replaced current standards have been designated as ‘expiring’ and the last date for assessment to take place is 31 December 2019. The transition period allows time for providers to adjust their programmes and resources to the new standards.




Early Childhood Education and Care

Early Childhood: Educational Theory and Practice

9302, 10013, 10019, 10020-10024, 10026, 26707, 26708, 26709, 26711, 26712, 27145

Early Childhood: Family, Whānau, Community, and Society

20406, 20407, 27146

Early Childhood: Professional Practice

10032, 12736, 26715, 26716

Details are available in the April 2017 Review Summary change report.

NZQA National Qualifications Services thanks all those that have been involved in the project, with special thanks to the working group members for their expert input. 

We welcome expressions of interest in being involved in the review of Pacific Island Early Childhood Education unit standards. 

Recent developments

ECE CMR published February 2017 following consultation December 2016

The reviewed Consent and Moderation requirements document for Early Childhood Education unit standards (CMR135 version 4) was published February 2017.

Consultation on the reviewed CMR135 document for ECE unit standards closed 14 December 2016, and we thank all who responded to the call for feedback on the CMR.


A suite of new Early Childhood Education (ECE) qualifications were approved for listing in February 2016 as a result of the mandatory review of ECE qualifications.  Information on the review of and the new qualifications are available from the links below, from the ECE qualifications review webpage or the qualification by reference number or title.

NZQA National Qualifications Services (NQS) has been undertaking a project to ensure there is a suite of unit standards suitable for those who wish to use standards for assessment in programmes towards the new ECE qualifications:

The initial project focused on standards associated with the Level 2, 3 and 4 Early Childhood qualifications.  If demand warrants, follow-up projects for standards related to Pacific Island ECE and for the proposed Diploma level qualifications may be undertaken.

The project involved developing new standards and reviewing current ECE unit standards to align with the graduate profile outcomes of the new qualifications in content and credit value. It also involved considering (not reviewing) existing unit standards from other domains that may be suitable as assessment tools for use in programmes towards the new ECE qualifications, to avoid duplication.

The new ECE qualifications do not require the use of unit standards or any specific method of assessment.  Some parts of the sector, however, requested that unit standards be developed for the new qualifications.

Unit standards were drafted mid-2015 to mid-2016 by a working group, and were available for consultation until 19 September 2016. A summary response to the consultation feedback is now available (DOCX, 69KB). Further information regarding the consultation can be found on the development and review of ECE unit standards consultation page.

The feedback was used to further refine the ECE unit standards to ensure that they met the needs of the sector before being submitted for quality assurance mid November 2016.  A landscape document (DOCX, 46KB) reflects the standards title and credits by level, and includes some optional standards. Copies of the draft standards are available on request to ece.review@nzqa.govt.nz. Opportunities to contribute feedback, opinions, and ideas have been provided through a supporting email network, as the development work from the working group progressed through each stage.

Contact and feedback

Although this review is now complete, we nevertheless encourage and value all contributions to the quality of the standards, and we are keen to obtain any further expressions of interest in being involved with the supporting email network or the wider consultation network for ECE unit standards.

Please send your comments, feedback or request to be included in the consultation network to the review mailbox ece.review@nzqa.govt.nz.

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