Government makes NCEA, university entrance changes amid COVID-19 disruptions

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti has announced changes to NCEA and university entrance (UE), saying the Government recognises the disruptions COVID-19 has caused high school students.

Tinetti confirmed last month the Government was looking at options to help schools dealing with interruptions as winter illnesses wreak havoc - causing student and staff absences. 

The NCEA changes announced on Wednesday included only 46 merit or excellence credits being required to receive an endorsement as opposed to 50. For UE, 12 credits from two university-approved subjects and 14 from another approved subject would be required - instead of the usual 14 credits across three subjects.

"Learning recognition credits" would also be awarded to students to recognise the disruption caused by COVID-19. Students would be eligible for one extra credit for every five regular credits they earned - up to a maximum of 10 additional credits at NCEA level 1 and eight credits at levels two and three.

"We have heard from schools how significant absences of students and teachers as a result of COVID-19 have had a substantial impact on teaching, learning and assessment in the first two terms," Tinetti said.

"These changes are designed to recognise the disruption and provide relief for students, while preserving the integrity of NCEA and the learning it represents."

Tinetti said in a statement the changes were "carefully developed" by the Ministry of Education and qualifications authority NZQA. 

Last month, the Government was written to by regional principals' associations from across the country, RNZ reported. Those associations were pleading for the Beehive to unveil how it planned to help students pass NCEA, given the ongoing disruptions.