7 November 2017

Principal Ms Roz Mexted: “St Cuthbert’s students are preparing for their exams. Some will sit NCEA exams and some will sit the globally developed International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma examinations.

NCEA is also internationally recognised by universities. However, it is 15 years since it was introduced at Level 1 and it is timely to review it.

Education is changing dramatically so we must have a robust yet flexible qualification for 21st century competencies underpinned by the appropriate assessment which will equip students for challenges and opportunities beyond secondary school.

As leaders of learning, we are frequently reviewing our curriculum, our delivery and our assessment methods to ensure students have the skills, acumen and passion for life-long learning in a dynamic world.

The Government is reviewing aspects of our education system, including the structure of the NCEA. Our experiences support their review as we believe too much assessment is causing stress amongst students both in the independent and state sector.

It is not surprising then that an increasing number of schools are considering removing NCEA Level 1 exams. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the OECD whose students sit national exams three years in a row resulting in unnecessary pressure for staff and students for what appears to be little gain. We believe that having a two-year NCEA pathway would be beneficial for developing depth of knowledge and for greater student engagement and enjoyment.

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association’s NCEA background paper on the NCEA review claims that students are assessed each year for twice as many credits as they need to pass.

Labour’s education manifesto promised a ‘review of the current NCEA-related assessment load on students and teachers with a view to bringing the focus back to delivering on the vision of our internationally renowned curriculum’. We would wholeheartedly support that intention.

At Cuthbert’s, we offer innovative academic programmes and we employ the best teachers. Personalised learning approaches for individual students are developed based on their needs, talents and growth. We also offer the choice of NCEA or the IB in Years 12 and 13.

The IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people with world views and respect for other cultures and societies. The curriculum is broad and contains six subjects designed to nurture critical thinkers, communicators, reflective learners and risk takers. St Cuthbert’s girls question, challenge, change and evolve and we expect them to make an impact on their world.”