NCEA Information

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) is the main national qualification for secondary school students in New Zealand.

NCEA is recognised by employers, and used for selection by universities and polytechnics, both in New Zealand and overseas.

How It Works

  • Each year, students study a number of courses or subjects.
  • In each subject, skills and knowledge are assessed against a number of standards.
  • For example, a Mathematics standard could be: Apply numeric reasoning in solving problems.
  • Schools use a range of internal and external assessments to measure how well students meet these standards.
  • When a student achieves a standard, they gain a number of credits. Students must achieve a certain number of credits to gain an NCEA certificate.
  • There are three levels of NCEA certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards achieved. In general, students work through levels 1 to 3 in years 11 to 13 at school.
  • Students are recognised for high achievement at each level by gaining NCEA with Merit or NCEA with Excellence. High achievement in a course is also recognised. For more information, read about Endorsements.

New Zealand Scholarship

What is it?

New Zealand Scholarship provides recognition and monetary reward to top students in their final year(s) of schooling. New Zealand Scholarship assessments enable candidates to be assessed against challenging standards, and are premier level assessments for the most able candidates in each subject. Assessment is by either a written/spoken examination or through the submission of a portfolio or report of work produced throughout the year.

Who is it for?

“Scholarship candidates are expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.” – from NZQA

It is useful to think about a student’s Year 12 NCEA results, when considering scholarship. Students who gained 60 M/E Level 2 credits overall should strongly consider sitting a scholarship or scholarships in their top subject(s).

Similarly, any student who has joined HGHS from a Cambridge programme who gained A or A* subject grades should consider scholarship for these subjects. Capable Year 12s should also strongly consider scholarship. 

These are not compulsory pre-requisites. However, they are a useful gauge.

There is monetary reward for gaining a scholarship that can be put towards one’s study. Plus, in an increasingly competitive world, attaining a scholarship can open doors for young people. Further information regarding scholarships can be found HERE and HERE.

To sign up for NZ Scholarship HGHS students should use this ENTRY FORM.

The deadline for entry is Friday, 9 July.


Please contact the Principal’s Nominee, Martin Mitchell for further information.  [email protected]