NCEA results

First listen to November 12th 2012 and January 17th 2010 to hear about NCEA.

More than 163,000 students received their NCEA results today. The results were available online and each student had their own password to see their own results.

There are three levels of NCEA: level 1 (16 year olds), level 2 (17 year olds) and level 3 (18 year olds). At each level, there are three grades: achieved, merit, excellence.

Under NCEA, there are standards for each subject. For example, English Level 1, students have to read and understand texts at that level. If they answer most questions well, they achieve the standard. If they write good answers, they receive a grade of merit and if they write very good answers, they receive excellence.

It is quite hard for students and parents to understand how NCEA works at first. In most subjects, answers are not multi-choice; they are written answers. The final result is not a percentage mark for correct answers.

Many years ago, we had a different system of exam results. Students received a percentage mark and only 50% passed. The other 50% failed. People thought this was not fair. We didn’t want a system where so many students failed. We wanted students to show what they knew and what they could do.


• ‘Each student had their own password’ – usually ‘each’ requires a singular pronoun but it’s too awkward to use ‘his or her’ (this used to be acceptable English) so we now use ‘their’.

• ‘16 year olds’ not ‘16 years old’. Level 1 is for 16 year olds (n); most of these students are 16 years old (adj). This is a very difficult construction and is probably best learnt as an idiom.


• text – a piece of writing eg. a poem, story, essay
• multi-choice – students choose from 3 or 4 answers
• system – a way of doing things based on ideas or principles


• What kind of assessment system do you have in your country?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of multi-choice answers?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of written answers?

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