NCEA exams underway, teachers say it’s the toughest year | New Zealand Chinese Herald Network

Compiled by Sophie, New Zealand Chinese Herald Network Morrinsville High School Year 12 student Lydia Dodunski gave a hesitant thumbs up to Monday’s NCEA Level 2 physics exam, the first time in three years that there were no COVID-19 restrictions in the exam room, Newshub reported.

Between November 7 and December 2, 142,000 secondary school students will sit for the NCEA and scholarship exams.

“The exam was challenging at times and some of the questions were easy, so the review I did was helpful,” Dodunski said.

Many teachers say this has been the toughest year yet, despite the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and mask requirements.

“Our students are tired,” said Morrinsville High School principal John Inger, who is retiring. “The last three years have been particularly exhausting for Year 13 students.”

“In many ways, this year’s disruption is worse than in previous years, when students were in school, or out of school entirely, to learn online,” said Melanie Webber, president of the Secondary Teachers’ Association (PPTA).

Deputy Education Minister Jan Tinetti said the government had taken steps to help offset the disruption caused by Covid-19, reintroducing the Learning Recognition Credit (LRC) and making adjustments to credential endorsements and university admissions.

“These measures are designed to provide students with a fair chance to achieve NCEA results and further study or work.”

Students can apply for one LRC credit for every 5 credits earned through internal and external assessment, up to 10 LRC credits for NCEA Level 1 learners and up to 8 LRC credits for Level 2 and 3 students.

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School curricula and NCEA reforms to go hand in hand

New Zealand is undergoing a major review of the school curriculum, while the NCEA is set to overhaul in 2024.

“Course review and NCEA reform are happening at the same time, and there are challenges on both. It’s a big burden on staff.”

The new literacy and numeracy standards are part of wider changes to the NCEA in response to concerns about a lack of basic reading and writing skills among secondary school students.

A recent Ministry of Education study revealed that only a third of New Zealand students who took part in the pilot project passed the new writing standards.

The new NCEA literacy and numeracy standards will be piloted nationwide for a year until 2024 when they become compulsory subjects at NCEA.

The PPTA said students and teachers needed more time to adapt to the new standards, which would be implemented from Level 1 in 2024 and advanced to Level 3 in 2026.

“The Department of Education hasn’t given teachers the support they need, we don’t have a teacher-only day next year for teachers to think about this, and I’m really concerned about the impact on students,” Webber said.

Scott Jenkins, incoming principal at Morrinsville High School, said: “A lot of good people have done a lot of good work, but teachers would be more comfortable if they had more time and more support to think things through.”

Webber said the series of changes was “completely upside-down.”

“Our curriculum is changing, and that change comes after the achievement standard was set, but it’s against that standard to assess what students have already learned.”

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The Department of Education encouraged schools to look at next year as a “transition year to continue supporting students and helping them prepare for the changes in 2024”.

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