National Qualifications

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement

Students can work towards gaining credits in Achievement Standards and Unit Standards for NCEA certificates. Each subject assesses against standards and each subject usually offers between 18 and 24 credits.

There are three NCEA qualifications students work to gain at school: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. These are the first three levels of the National Qualifications Framework’s (NQF) 10 levels. 

NCEA LEVEL 1 Requirements:

80 credits*. Ten of these credits must be in literacy standards and ten credits in numeracy standards. 

NCEA LEVEL 2 Requirements:

60 credits* at Level 2 or above; plus 20 credits* at any Level, even if gained for any other National Qualification.

NCEA LEVEL 3 Requirements:

60 credits* at Level 3 or above; plus 20 credits* at Level 2 or above, even if gained for any other National Qualification.


  • Credits can come from both Achievement Standards and Unit Standards. Each subject Information Booklet details which Standards are assessed, together with their credit value.
  • In addition to gaining the credits towards the NCEA, each Achievement Standard can be gained at three levels of success: Achieved, Merit or Excellence.
  • NCEA certificates can be gained with Merit or Excellence endorsements.

University Entrance

  • The literacy and numeracy requirement only has to be achieved once.
  • For entrance to university you will need to have 42 credits at Level 3 or above.
  • At least 28 of these credits must come from an file type icon approved subject list.
  • As well as these Level 3 credits, you need some Level 2 credits that show you have reading and writing skills, and Level 1 (or better) credits showing numeracy skills.

Additional information can be obtained from the NZQA website: