National Qualifications Framework

The qualification framework has eight levels. Level 1 is entry-level education & training, broadly equivalent to Year 11 studies. Level 8 offers the most advanced learning (post graduate degrees and diplomas). Unit standards and Achievement Standards earned can be credited to all National Certificates on the National Qualifications Framework.

St Bede’s has been accredited by the NZQA, as a provider of all the conventional subjects registered on the Qualifications Framework as well as a range of others which, we believe, will meet the requirements of students at the College.

These subjects may be studied at school in normal classes or studied off-site as either school-organised activities or activities organised by off-site providers. There is a great deal of flexibility allowed in the system but each student will have to carefully consider where his best options lie – it will not be wise to spend too much time off-site if he is going to be a serious candidate for national exams.

Record of Achievement

Credits for all registered standards will be recorded on a Record of Learning.  Students must register (once only) on the framework and pay an annual fee for any credits to be awarded. It will list the student’s successful completion of all unit standards and achievement standard credits, National Certificates and other NQF qualifications. It will be issued by the NZQA (who keep a national database) and will enable education and training acquired over a number of years from a variety of sources to be recorded in a single document.

Students will be certificated when they successfully complete the units required which make up a specific registered qualification e.g. NCEA Level 1, National Certificate in Sport Level 2, etc.

NCEA  – National Certificate in Educational Achievement

The NCEA is the main qualification for NZ secondary school students, and complements external exams with internal assessment using Achievement Standards and some Unit Standards.

NCEA has been introduced to provide a more comprehensive record of what students achieve while they are at school. To complete the NCEA students must earn credits. They gain credits by meeting standards in their chosen subject areas. Each standard will set out clearly and comprehensively what students need to know and do to be credited with meeting the standard.

Achievement standards have been developed for school curriculum subject areas and cover years 11 to 13 and curriculum levels 6 – 8, (not to be confused with the framework levels of NCEA level 1, 2 or 3).

Unit standards have been developed for mainly industry based subjects, however there is a unit standard pathway for Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy standards.


NCEA reports how well a student does in each of the separate skills and knowledge areas in a course. Students are able to gain their NCEA endorsed at a Merit or Excellence level, providing they gain at least 50 credits at that level. From 2011 course endorsements will also be recognized (subject).

Course Endorsement Requirements (introduced in 2011)
• Gain at least 14 credits with merit/excellence in one year.
• Gain at least 3 internally assessed credits
• Gain at least 3 externally assessed credits, (exceptions are Physical Education, Religious Education and Visual Arts).
They are designed so that satisfactory work, good work and excellent work can be recognised with “Achieved”, “Achieved with Merit” and “Achieved with Excellence”.

For more information, see the New Zealand Qualifications Authority NCEA pages.

Other National Certificates

Senior School students will have access to units of learning from Level 1 to Level 4.  All credits gained are transportable, meaning they can qualify for more than one national certificate.

The following is a list of some of the National Certificates that students could gain credits towards as well as NCEA.

  • National Certificate in Employment Skills – a course revolving around Transition, numeracy and basic communication skills. This could be completed in 1 – 2 years.
  • National Certificate in Electronics Technology – a course on technology and electronics that will be incorporated into Physics and Design Technology. Students will get partial credit towards this certificate while at school and complete it in tertiary education.
  • National Certificate in Leadership in the Outdoors – a special Year 13 programme incorporated into the schools programme. Units credited at school can be accumulated over time to lead to final certification.
  • National Certificate in Computing – a course incorporated into the Year 12 and 13 Information & Communication programme.
  • National Certificate in Agriculture  – a Year 12 course.
  • National Certificate in Tourism & Travel – a Year 12/13 introductory course to the travel industry.
  • National Certificate in Sport – a Year 12/13 introductory course.

New University Entrance requirement from 2014

From 2014 there will be a new university entrance (UE) requirement. Students will use this new UE to enter degree-level programmes from 2015. The new UE requirement will continue to be the minimum requirement for entry to university.
From 2014, students will need all of the following to be awarded UE:

  • Attain NCEA Level 3
  • Achieve 14 credits at level three in each of three subjects from the list of approved subjects. The list of approved subjects will consist of subjects derived from the New Zealand Curriculum with achievement standards at Level 3
  • Achieve UE numeracy – 10 credits at Level 1 and above from specific achievement standards, or three specific numeracy unit standards
  • achieve UE literacy – 10 credits (five in reading and five in writing) at Level 2 and above from specific standards.

Download more information on UE Requirements 2014

Information about discretionary and provisional entrance is available on the website of the New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ Committee,

Students need to be aware that recent changes to University funding means that qualifying for entrance may not guarantee a student entrance to a specific course. Students are advised to aim for Merit or Excellence endorsement if they intend to pursue university study.


Students in a secondary school have the opportunity to win a Scholarship in individual subjects.
Scholarship is a monetary award to recognize top students. It does not attract credits nor contribute towards a qualification but the fact that a student has gained a Scholarship will appear on the Record of Achievement.
Scholarship will enable students to be assessed against challenging standards, and will be demanding for the most able students in each subject. Scholarship students will be expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalization, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.
The best students in each of the 27 Scholarship subjects will be awarded Scholarships. The number of awards in each subject will be around 2-3 percent of those students studying the subject at NCEA level 3.


• Scholarship candidates need to be enrolled full-time in a secondary school or wharekura.
• In order to receive a monetary award, a student must be
➢ either a New Zealand citizen or
➢ a permanent resident, and
➢ enrolled in tertiary study in New Zealand in the years they receive monetary awards, ($500 per scholarship), $2000 for scholarship in 3 subjects for 3 years, $2000 top subject scholar for 3 years, $10,000 for scholarship at Outstanding level in 3 subjects.