Understanding NCEA
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University Entrance

There are four components to gain University Entrance from NCEA

  1. Numeracy - 10 credits @ Level 1 or higher
  2. Literacy - 10 Credits @ Level 2 or higher consisting of 5 Reading and 5 Writing Credits.
  3. Gain 14 Level 3 credits in three approved subjects.
  4. Achieve NCEA Level 3.


When students perform consistently above the 'Achieved' level, their result(s) can be 'endorsed' to reflect that high achievement.  This can occur at either the Certificate or Course level.

Certificate Endorsement 

For an NCEA certificate to be endorsed with Excellence a student must gain 50 credits at Excellence at the level of the certificate or above. So, if a student has 50 Level 1 credits at Excellence they may have their Level 1 certificate endorsed with Excellence. Likewise, if a student gains 50 credits at Merit (or Merit and Excellence) at Level 1 their NCEA  Level 1 certificate may be endorsed with Merit. Endorsement awards show on the Record of Achievement.

Course Endorsement

Course endorsement provides recognition for a student who has performed exceptionally well in an individual course. 

Students will gain an endorsement for a course if, in a single school year, they achieve:

  • 14 or more credits at Achieved or higher, and
  • at least 3 of these credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards. Note, this does not apply to Physical Education, Religious Studies and level 3 Visual Arts.