College set to consult with community on NCEA Level 1

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Ashburton College will consult with the wider community next term on the relevance of NCEA Level 1 in the school curriculum.

Once feedback has been collated a decision will be made on whether to continue with Level 1 or to scrap it.

The NCEA assessment system has been around for over 20 years, but with some sweeping changes planned to the secondary school qualification, Level 1 has been in the spotlight and part of discussions in the education sector over the last three years.

Ashburton College principal Ross Preece said there would be no outcomes decided until the community had been consulted and offered its feedback.

A big restructure of NCEA was being proposed in 2024 and a number of schools were considering whether to do away with Level 1, and some had already done so.

“Our school leaders have been discussing it and staff are currently offering their feedback on whether NCEA Level 1 should stay or go,” he said.

“The next natural step is to ask parents, the wider community and businesses what they think.”

Mr Preece said Ashburton College had changed its curriculum model for Year 9 and 10 students in recent years.

The “innovation” model aimed to better prepare students for the future and was focused on creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and the ability to be effective oral communicators.

There was a global recognition that a different set of skills was necessary, although students still needed to be literate, numerate and have core knowledge.

Of the current 11 Year 9 classes, seven offered innovation and four the traditional model of learning.

From next year all students would learn through innovation, he said.

Mr Preece said attention had now turned to the relevance of NCEA Level 1, which was the primary driver of Year 11.

“If we do decide to drop Level 1 it will create time and space for deeper learning and allow students to study up for a more meaningful pathway in Level 2 and beyond.”

Level 1 did not provide entry into tertiary study or training, whereas NCEA levels 2 and 3 did and were therefore more important.

Currently 87 per cent of students passed Level 1, Mr Preece said.

He said there were arguments for and against keeping it and they needed to be carefully considered.

A decision on whether to scrap Level 1 is expected to be made in Term 3 ahead of two teacher-only accord days in Term 4.

More details of the Ashburton College consultation will be revealed in the coming weeks.

-By Mick Jensen