NCEA feedback, mixed so far

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Ashburton College principle Ross Preece is leading community consultations.

Ashburton College has received mixed feedback so far on whether to retain NCEA Level 1 from 2024, or not.

The college has been consulting with the community and despite low turnout to meetings last week at the college and at Hakatere Marae had received plenty of feedback for and against.

Some see the level as preparation for those sitting NCEA Level 2 at Year 12, and others as unnecessarily setting students up for burnout by the time they reach NCEA Level 3 at Year 13.

Ashburton College principal Ross Preece said NCEA Level 1 – usually sat by Year 11 students – had been around since 2003 when it replaced school certificate. Its continuation had been in the spotlight as part of discussions around NCEA over the past three years.

Upcoming changes, which take place from 2024, will see NCEA Level 1 optional for schools.

“It’s a quite dramatic change,” Mr Preece said, of the future around NCEA.

He said New Zealand was one of few countries to have three years of high stakes assessments at high school level.

New innovation teaching models focused on creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and the ability to be effective oral communicators but different sets of skills were necessary.

Although students still needed to be literate, numerate and have core knowledge, he said.

The upcoming changes meant a number of schools were now considering whether to do away with Level 1, and some had already done so including Lincoln High School (three years ago) Ellesmere College (two years ago) and Christ College (this year).

The changes were to strengthen the qualification, make NCEA more accessible, strengthen literacy and numeracy requirements, enhance the place of Maori knowledge, have fewer, larger standards with half being externally assessed and simplify NCEA’s structure.

And show clearer pathways to further education and employment, Mr Preece said.

If NECA Level 1 was dropped it would create time for deeper learning and allow students to study up for a more meaningful pathway in Level 2 and beyond.

Year 11 would still be assessed but not necessary for NCEA credits. There would be a national foundation studies certificate.

The consultation has included people from within the school community, former alumni and the business community.

A confidential survey was due to be emailed out to the school community for further feedback.