Where to start? Entering the NCEA system can be very daunting for both students and parents. There are lots of new words that are important to know about and understand, new information to manage, assessments that generate grades for life, and success needs to be tracked to make sure everyone stays on target.

The following information is designed to guide students and parents through their introduction to this new chapter of their lives.

1. How NCEA Works

NCEA is the system used to manage records of academic achievement. It is split into 3 levels which roughly align to Year 11 (Level One), Year 12 (Level Two) and Year 13 (Level Three). Each NCEA Level is a step up from the previous one in terms of curriculum level, but access to credits at any level is not restricted by age or school year.

Students gain credits as reward for achieving a set standard. Credit values vary from standard to standard, but usually reflect the amount of work required to meet the standard.

Students gain a Level Certificate when they satisfy the credit requirements at that level. This is the most basic qualification and is usually the student’s first priority. If students satisfy higher achievement, they can qualify for a Level Certificate with Merit or Excellence. Students who do well in a particular subject can also be awarded a Course Endorsement in either Merit or Excellence for that subject.

The requirements for the awards are:

Level One

  • 80 Level One (or higher) credits which MUST include:
  • 10 Numeracy credits
  • 10 Literacy credits

Level Two

Level One Certificate plus:

  • 60 Level Two (or higher) credits

Level Three

  • Level Two Certificate plus:
  • 60 Level Three (or higher) credits

Higher Certificates:

Merit Certificate:

  • At least 50 credits are Merit or Excellence

Excellence Certificate

  • At least 50 credits are Excellence

Course Endorsement:

    • Merit - at least 14 credits at Merit or Excellence in a course
    • Excellence - at least 14 Excellence credits in a course

An example of a student’s record after completing Level One may be: Level One Certificate (with Merit Endorsement) with an Excellence Course Endorsement in Mathematics. This tells a future interested party that this student has generally achieved well but has a particular strength in Mathematics.

Credits are generated when students pass standards (pieces of work) in their chosen subjects. Each standard generates a certain number of credits.

Standards are either Unit Standards or Achievements Standards. Unit Standards are primarily aligned with vocational pathways (industry specific) while Achievement Standards relate to more traditional school subjects. Credits from either have the same value, but most Unit Standards do not allow for Merit or Excellence (Achieved only). All Achievement Standards allow Achieved, Merit or Excellence results.

Achievement Standards are assessed either Internally or Externally. External assessments are prepared by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and are in the form of exams at the end of the school year. Internally assessed standards are administered by Menzies College and are offered throughout the year. Some subjects (e.g. Art) do not have exams for their externally assessed standards. These can require students to submit a portfolio or have a visiting assessor.

Unit Standards are all Internally Assessed.

Schools inform NZQA of standards that have been gained, and the associated grade. Students are able to look up this information on the NZQA website, the Student Portal of Edge and the Edge App.

2. Choosing Subjects at Menzies College

Subject choices are made through the Student Portal of Edge. Each student in Year 11 next year will choose 6 subjects to study. Of these:

  • One will be English
  • One will be Mathematics

This leaves 4 options subjects to choose from. Students are expected to read relevant information about subjects in this booklet and carefully consider their choices. It is important to note that these choices feed into the timetable structure. This means that these choices need to be as accurate as possible so that the school can cater for student needs in the best possible way.

The aim of this website is to provide information on the courses available. For each available course there is a table of information, an aim of the course, an indication of what will be studied in each course and an indication of associated costs. See below for an explanation of these tables.

Students wishing to study a subject that is not offered in this booklet should talk to their Dean – Menzies College will always endeavour to meet the learning needs of our students. Available options in these cases include distance learning and correspondence.