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NCEA Student Handbook
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Rangiora High School

Senior Assessment Policies and Procedures

Student Handbook

Rangiora High School offers these Qualifications from New Zealand’s National Qualifications Framework (NZQF):

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

Table of Contents

The National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA)

Certificate Endorsement

Subject Endorsement        

Achievement Standards        

Unit Standards        

Literacy and Numeracy        

University Entrance        


Other National Certificate Qualifications        

National Certificate in Primary Industries Level 1        

Vocational Pathways Award        

Learning and Assessment in the Senior School        

Learning in Class        

Classwork and Homework        


Subject Handbooks        

Special Assessment Conditions        

Internal Assessments        


Due Dates for Internal Assessments        

Missed Internal Assessments        

Returning Marked Work        

Further Assessment Opportunities


Misconduct – Breaches of the Rules        


Keeping Track of NCEA Results        


Preparing for External Assessments (Examinations)        

End of Year Examinations        

Missed External Assessments (Exams) - Applying for a Derived Grade        

The National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA)

NCEA is New Zealand’s national qualification for students from Year 11 onwards. It is a cumulative qualification and has three levels:

Students achieve their NCEA Level 1 when they have earned a total of 80 credits at Level 1 or above in their Year 11 or selected Year 12 courses.

Students must include at least 10 credits showing they have literacy skills and a further 10 credits showing they have numeracy skills – from specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects, or from a package of three literacy and/or numeracy unit standards.

Students can be assessed using English or Te Reo Maori as their language of use.

Students build on NCEA Level 1 to achieve their NCEA Level 2. This requires a minimum of 60 credits at Level 2 or above and 20 credits they already have from Level 1 or above.

Students achieve their NCEA Level 3 when they have 60 or more credits at Level 3 and 20 they already have at Level 2 or above.

Certificate Endorsement

When students achieve 50 or more credits at Excellence their NCEA certificate will be endorsed with Excellence’.

When students achieve 50 or more credits at Merit or above their NCEA certificate will be endorsed with Merit’.

Subject Endorsement

Students can gain a subject endorsement when they achieve both of the following criteria in a course in the one school year.

Achievement Standards

Some school subjects are assessed by measuring against standards, called Achievement Standards. Some will be assessed internally eg. an assignment or test within the class, and others will be assessed externally eg. an examination at the end of the year.

Students earn credits when they achieve the standard. There are three levels of achievement:

A         Achieved the standard

M         Achieved the standard with Merit

E         Achieved the standard with Excellence, or

N         Did not achieve the standard

Unit Standards

Some subjects will have work assessed to Unit Standards, where students can earn credits towards a New Zealand Certificate in an industry- based field, as well as towards their NCEA.

Students earn credits when they achieve the standard. Generally there is one level of achievement. Some can be up to three levels of achievement depending on the Unit Standard:

A         Achieved the standard,

M         Achieved the standard with Merit

E         Achieved the standard with Excellence, or

N         Did not achieve the standard

Literacy and Numeracy

To be awarded NCEA Level 1, students must achieve at least 10 credits showing literacy and 10 credits showing numeracy.

To be awarded University Entrance (UE) from Year 13, students must also achieve literacy and numeracy (Level 1) standards (see section University Entrance).

The Literacy and Numeracy Coordinators will monitor students’ progress to ensure everyone has every opportunity of meeting these requirements.

University Entrance

Year 13 students intending to do a degree course at University or Polytechnic must gain University Entrance (UE) by achieving:

NCEA Level 3 with a minimum of 14 credits at Level 3 or higher in each of three subjects from an approved subject list.

A minimum of 10 credits at Level 2 or higher in English, Te Reo Maori or a selected number of other subjects; at least 5 credits must be in Reading and at least 5 credits must be in Writing, selected from a schedule of approved standards.

A minimum of 10 credits at Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau on the NQF, or a selected number of other subjects, or a set of three Unit Standards designed to show numeracy.


Scholarship is a highly competitive, stand-alone award designed to extend very high achieving Level 3 students. It is not part of NCEA Level 3. Students should have been thinking of entering this back in Year 12, as Year 12 and Year 13 curriculum make up the Scholarship programme.

The Scholarship assessment covers the same content as NCEA Level 3, but at higher-level thinking skills. There is a single ‘scholarship standard’ for each subject, assessed by an end-of-year exam or submission of student work for external assessment.

Students should discuss the possibility of entering Scholarship with their teacher early in Term 1, and the students will then work with Ms Tiffen, Deputy Principal - Curriculum and Ms Lane, Principal’s Nominee. A Scholarship seminar will explain the process, and they will need to do extra work to prepare for the exam.

There will be three levels of reporting:

Scholarship with outstanding performance, Scholarship, Scholarship not attained.

Monetary Rewards include:

More details can be found here.

Other National Certificate Qualifications

New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industries Level 1

Students taking Agriculture and/or Rural Skills classes in Years 11 to 13 can achieve this National Certificate, or, if they leave school to work in the industry before completing the Level 2 Certificate at school, it can be finished while at work, in conjunction with the Primary Industry Training Organisation (ITO).

Vocational Pathways Award

At Level 2 a Vocational Pathways Award rewards students who achieve 60 Level 2 credits from the recommended assessment standards in one or more Vocational Pathway sectors. A Vocational Pathways Award must include at least 20 credits from the sector-related standards in a Pathway.

A Vocational Pathways Award highlights how a learners’ NCEA achievements align with pathways to further study and work in six broad industries. This helps employers to easily see how a potential employees’ skills and knowledge match with their industry.

The six Vocational Pathways are:

Learning and Assessment in the Senior School

Learning in Class

In each NCEA course, the work students study in class (the curriculum) is generally divided into a number of topics, or themes:

 students will be given a clear understanding of what they need to do in order to achieve

● through ongoing feedback and feed-forward from the class teacher, students will be able to work towards specific goals

● students will gain credits for work assessed during the year in the classroom, as well as in the end-of-year examination

● students, their parents and, in the future, potential employers should have a comprehensive picture of each student’s skills and understanding

Classwork and Homework

Students are expected to attempt and complete all classwork, homework and assessment tasks that are set as part of the course.

It is important that students do their homework, for it consolidates their learning while allowing them to work at their own pace: if they realise they don’t understand some aspect of their work, they should talk to their teacher about it at the next opportunity.

Homework also allows students to develop skills in self-management and time management. Students should use a diary to help plan their workload, remember checkpoint and assessment dates, and prepare for assessment tasks.

It is recommended that students have a wall planner at home so due dates are always visible.


●  Academic Counseling Days  will be held in Terms 1 and 3.

● Every fortnight parents will receive an academic and engagement report about their child’s performance via email.  For year 11-13 students this report will show how many credits available to your child and as assessments are completed, what grade they have received.

Subject Handbooks

At the beginning of each year the teacher of each subject students take in the senior school will provide course information which will contain:

● the goals for the course

● course information

● course outline eg what topics will be covered during the year

● assessment information eg number of achievement standards, whether each standard is internally or externally assessed

● whether course endorsement is available

● year planner for teaching topics and assessments dates/weeks

● which standard, if any, will have a Further Assessment Opportunity

● student record sheet for students to record their assessment results and track their own progress

Each subject course information is important. Students must keep them digitally in their Drive and/or a paper copy in their folder, or as part of their workbook, as they will need to have regular access to them.

Special Assessment Conditions

If students have a disability or learning difficulty that may affect their performance in assessments, the school will apply to NZQA for special assessment conditions e.g. a reader/writer for the visually impaired.

● Students must have been assessed by the Head of Priority Learning, Mr T Heidmann, as needing assistance and must have had that assistance available in previous years.

● The Head of Learning Support will apply for special assessment conditions for both internal and external assessments (exams in November), if appropriate, in Term 1.

Internal Assessments

Students will be assessed by a variety of methods e.g. common test, in-class assignments, research assignments, portfolios, oral presentation, practical demonstration, end-of-year exam. Each assessment will measure the student’s achievement of either an Achievement or Unit Standard and results will be published for each standard the student achieves.


Authenticity means the work a student presents for assessment must be their own work. It must not be copied from information sources such as books, other students, or from information downloaded from the Internet. It is quite acceptable for students to discuss all aspects of their assignments with friends, parents etc, and to access any information source such as the Web, books or other resources, as long as when it comes to actually writing their assignment, it is all their own work.

If a quote from another person’s work is used, it must be acknowledged in the correct manner. The class teacher will show students how to do this. To not do this is plagiarism.

If collecting data or newspaper clippings etc is a part of the assignment, these must also be the student’s own work i.e. they cannot be shared, photocopied between friends etc.

The student will be required to sign an Assessment Authenticity Statement in their Wānanga class which covers all internal assessment.

Due Dates for Internal Assessments

The due date for an assessment to be handed in will be advised when the assessment is given out and must be written on it. Students must ensure:

● they understand the assessment programme and policies

● they understand the requirements of each assessment before they start work on it

 the class teacher receives the work. The teacher will explain how and when to submit their work. The assessment must be clearly named and secured.

work is handed in on time, even if it is incomplete, so feedback can be given, and a further assessment opportunity given by the teacher if appropriate.

Work that is handed in late will receive N Not Achieved, unless an alternative has been negotiated with the class teacher. If there are extenuating circumstances, students may appeal (see section Appeals).

Any changes to assessment due dates during the year must be given to students (and parents) in writing at least two weeks in advance of the change, unless there are extenuating circumstances. The dates of assessment activities may have to be changed to allow for unplanned interruptions.

Missed Internal Assessments

In order to learn the work and develop skills in the classroom, students should attend every class, unless prevented by sickness, injury or bereavement, or pre-arranged and approved school functions.

The Process:

Note: A letter from home does not make an unacceptable absence legitimate if an assessment has been missed.

The consequences of missing an internal assessment depends on the nature of the assessment:

● Class-time assessments or assignments prepared over time (e.g. essays, reports, collection of data) If a student thinks they will miss the due deadline, they must notify the class teacher as early as possible to ask for an extension of time. It is not acceptable to be absent the day before, then come to school on the day to claim an extension, nor to be absent on the day and expect an extension the next day.

Assignments dependent on particular events e.g. field trips or practicals that cannot be repeated. In these cases the student will only be eligible for a further assessment opportunity if there is one for that standard. In some assessments, students are expected to do some research for Part A and have it ready by a certain date, when they will do Part B in the classroom.

● If the student hasn’t completed Part A by the due date, they will receive a ‘Not Achieved’ grade.

● A student will not be allowed to continue Part B of the assessment task if they have not completed Part A.

● If the student is absent on the day the class does Part B, but has completed Part A by the due date, they will be eligible for an extension of time or other remedy as described above, if the absence is verified.

Students have the right of appeal (see section Appeals)

When the absence from an assessment is legitimate, once the student returns to school, the subject teacher will arrange:

● an extension of time. This must be in writing and signed by both parties and is to be attached to the assessment when it is handed in, or

rescheduling the assessment at an agreed time, if practicable, or

● a further assessment opportunity, if one is available for that standard (see section Further Assessment Opportunities), or

● a grade based on accumulated standard-specific evidence

Note: a holiday in term time is NOT a legitimate absence and NO extension will be given. Students taking holidays in term time must organise to submit any internal assessments before they leave for holiday.

If a student can demonstrate sufficient evidence of having achieved a particular standard from other valid work related to the same skill or content area eg class tests, their work will be assessed against the standard and the student may be awarded an ‘Achieve’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Excellence’ grade. If a student cannot demonstrate such evidence, then no credit can be awarded.

Returning Marked Work

Test papers and other assessment activities will normally be marked, internally-moderated and returned as quickly as possible.

● Information recorded on the cover sheet by the marker will allow students to see how well they have completed the aims of the assessment.

● The teacher will explain the marking process with the class when returning the marked assessments and remind students about the appeals process at this time.

● Students will be required to carefully check the accuracy of the marking of their assessment

● Discuss concerns and problems with their teacher and/or the Leader of Learning (See website for names of the Leaders of Learning) before appealing their result if appropriate. If a student wishes to appeal they should not sign for the grade awarded and instead instigate appeal procedures (see section Appeals)

●  Sign the cover sheet to verify the assessment decision.

● Students should also keep their own record of the grades they achieve throughout the year in their subject handbook. Teachers will ensure this is part of the process of handing back scripts.

● Students should check their yearly progress on the School Portal.

● Students should check the NZQA website to ensure the accuracy of the results reported to and recorded by NZQA, once it has gone live for the year in April. Any errors or omissions should be reported to the class teacher in the first instance, or the student can appeal their result (see section Appeals).

● Assessments will be taken back for safe-keeping until they are no longer required for appeals or moderation - after 31 March the following year.

● Parents/caregivers can make an appointment to view the student’s assessment after it has been marked.

In subjects where there is more than one class at the same level, teachers will ensure there is consistency in their marking of assessments across all classes.

Strategies to ensure consistency include:

Further Assessment Opportunities

If a student does not achieve the standard when their work is assessed, it may be possible to be reassessed at a later date.

Teachers may give another opportunity to achieve the standard if the student has a realistic chance of achieving it. Students must indicate that they have learned more than they knew when they did the first assessment i.e. students cannot be reassessed just because they did not achieve credit the first time – there must be evidence that more learning has taken place. Students who meet the standard can achieve ‘Achieved’, ‘Achieved with Merit’ or ‘Achieved with Excellence’ grades when they are reassessed.

In many cases, a further assessment opportunity will not be practicable, e.g. collecting data on a fieldtrip. In practice, this means students will have to come to school that day, even if they are poorly, in order to do the fieldwork.

Students may take advantage of a further assessment opportunity, if they have already achieved the achievement standard, in an attempt to improve their grade.

Students who do not hand in their assessment when it is due, in the expectation that they would do it better when reassessed later, will be denied a further assessment opportunity and their result will be N ‘Not Achieved’.


Misconduct – Breaches of the Rules

If a student’s internally assessed work leads the assessor to suspect that there has been a breach of the rules in regard to:

● authenticity, eg. copying another student’s work, colluding with another student to produce the same answers, or plagiarism

● other assessment rules eg disrupting others during an assessment, misuse of electronic devices

The class teacher will refer the case to the Curriculum Leader for review. The consequences will be:

● If the case is proven, the student will receive N, Not Achieved.

● If the work has been copied from another student, both students will receive N, Not Achieved.

● A formal letter will be sent to the student’s parents/caregivers by the Principal’s Nominee

Students have the right of appeal. (see section Appeals)

Breaches of rules in the external examinations are dealt with by the Exam Centre Manager and NZQA. The process is outlined here.


Students may appeal any assessment-related decision:

● Relating to authenticity

● Breaches of the rules

● Awarding a N ‘Not Achieved’ grade for a late submission or a non-approved absence eg ‘wilful’ absence

 if they think their assessment was incorrectly or unfairly marked

 if they think their assessment was incorrectly recorded in the teacher’s mark book or on the NZQA website

In the first instance, students should discuss any assessment issue as soon as possible with their class teacher, and certainly within one week of having received their marked work back and checking the marking process in class.

If the issue is not resolved, a student may appeal the teacher’s decision to the Curriculum Leader who will review the issue/s under dispute and make a decision as to the outcome. The student can download a copy of the NCEA Assessment Appeal Form or collect one from any of the following:

● their class teacher

● the Curriculum Leader or Leader of Learning

● the NZQA Principal’s Nominee, Ms C Lane. 

Students complete the form and return it to Ms Lane, Principal’s Nominee, or their class teacher or the Curriculum Leader. The decision made by the Curriculum Leader is subject to an appeal to the Appeals Committee, consisting of the NZQA Principal’s Nominee and the Deputy Principal responsible for Assessment. This committee will make a final and binding decision.

The final step in the Appeals process is for students to make a complaint to the school. Details of the procedure can be obtained from the school office.

Keeping Track of NCEA Results

Subject teachers have Checkpoint dates to look at progress (standards completed, credits achieved) in Week 6 and the last week of each term. Concerns will be forwarded to the Leader of Learning and/or Dean for action where necessary.

Students can keep track of their assessments throughout the year using the School Portal.

NZQA will send students their National Student Number (NSN) and instructions for accessing their entries on the NZQA website by the end of June so they can use the internet to review their entry information on their Entries and Results page and access their results throughout the year to check their progress. Students log on to the NZQA website with their NSN and Date of Birth to register, then they create a password to logon. A powerpoint showing the steps can be found here.

Their page details:

Once appeals have been completed and results are finalised, students can order their certificates and their Record of Achievement online, or from January when results are released, if their results are accurate.


Information about an individual student’s results should be made available only to that student, their parents/caregivers and staff who need that information, as set out in the Privacy Act, 1993. Such information must not be shared with other students.

Students will be asked for permission to use their work as exemplars.

Preparing for External Assessments (Examinations)

Examination practice for end-of-year external assessments is essential. Students need to learn how to organise their time when preparing for external exams and to sit for up to 3 hours writing under exam conditions.

● Senior students will learn study skills and be able to practice them throughout the year in their classes

● Formal school examinations will be held in week 8 of Term 3: September (4 - 8 September, 2023).

● Students are encouraged to prepare for their end-of-year exams by starting their revision programme before the October school holidays. Teachers will help students draft their plan and practice revision skills.

● Many Faculties run lunchtime study sessions throughout the year.

● In Term 4, after-school study facilities will be provided in the school Library.

End of Year Examinations

External assessments are held in November each year. A copy of the exam timetable is available here.

● In the week before students go on exam leave, an NCEA assembly is held where students are given their Exam Admission Slip. They are also reminded of the exam rules and regulations (outlined in a handout from NZQA) and what to do if they are suddenly affected by illness, injury or bereavement.

● Students have the full exam time of three hours for each exam, whether the student is doing one or all of the external achievement standards in that subject. Each standard takes about one hour to complete.

External assessments are either written or a digital exam. Except for Level 1 & 2 Art and Technology in Year 11, where students’ portfolios are sent away for marking. Some have an aural component eg Music or listening eg Languages

● Students who have two exams scheduled for the same time are able to sit both on the same day. The Principal’s Nominee will give students a letter to explain at which time each exam will be sat.

Missed External Assessments (Exams) - Applying for a Derived Grade

Students can apply for a Derived Grade if they miss an end of year examination or other external assessment for an approved reason:

They need to collect the forms from the NZQA Principal’s Nominee, Ms C Lane or their Dean, or the school office, as soon as possible. The form is to be completed by a medical professional and must be included. A medical certificate on its own is unacceptable.

Whenever possible, students are encouraged to sit their exam and also apply for a Derived Grade on the grounds that their performance was impaired.

The forms must be returned as soon as possible after the first missed examination.

If a student misses an examination as a result of getting the date wrong, the only recourse is to sit the examination in November the following year.