Academic grading in New Zealand

Various methods of academic grading in New Zealand are shown below.

Secondary schools


The National Certificate of Educational Achievement, the current national secondary school qualifications, uses standard-based assessment. Assessment for Achievement Standards uses a four-grade system, the lowest being a failing grade, while Unit Standards use a simple achieved/not achieved (pass/fail) grade system.

Official Name Common Name Abbreviation Definition
Achievement with Excellence Excellence E The candidate has demonstrated comprehensive understanding of the material tested
Achievement with Merit Merit M The candidate has met the criteria of the standard which demonstrates in-depth understanding of the material tested
Achievement Achieved A The candidate met the criteria of the standard to a level which demonstrates understanding of the material tested
Not Achieved Not Achieved N / NA The candidate has not met the criteria required of the standard in order to pass
Standard Not Attempted Not Attempted SNA / V The candidate has been entered for the standard but has not attempted/sat it.

Several schools in New Zealand, predominantly in Auckland, also offer the CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) Program and IB (International Baccalaureate) in addition to NCEA.

School Certificate

Until 2002 the predecessor to NCEA Level 1, School Certificate used a norm-based five-grade system.

Grade Percentage
A 80% - 100%
B 65% - 79%
C 50% - 64%
D 30% - 49%
E 0% - 29%


New Zealand universities generally award letter grades (i.e. A to D) to students, with +/- variations. These letter grades correspond to percentage mark bands, though these vary between universities (common cut-offs for A+ include 90% and 85%, and even within a university, an A+ from one department may vary from an A+ from another, with the actual cut-off subject to discretion). D grade is a failing grade, corresponding to work receiving less than 50%. However, for Honours degrees, the letter grades also correspond to degree classes, with A+/A/A- grades corresponding to a first, B+/high B corresponding to 2:1, etc.

See also

External links

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