School Certificate (New Zealand)

The New Zealand School Certificate or School Certificate was a New Zealand secondary school qualification for high school students in Year 11 (Form 5).

Qualification details

To gain School Certificate proper, students had to achieve an average score of at least 50 percent and a "C" grade (50–64%) or better in at least four subjects (including English and mathematics) – although students could progress to the sixth form (year 12) if they narrowly missed these criteria.

Some subjects were a mixture of internal and external assessments. Internal assessment increased in later years. Subjects such as art, music and design technology were internally assessed by the school and nationally moderated. Internal exams were adjusted and scaled to make them consistent with results from other schools nationwide.

External examinations were not only scaled to ensure consistency from year to year, but more controversially, also so that only 50% of the nationwide examinees in each subject were passed.

An "A" School Certificate was awarded to candidates achieving scores between 80–100 percent and "B" School Certificates were awarded for scores between 65–79 percent. Students attaining five or more A grades received a special certificate acknowledging their achievement.


School Certificate was awarded by the Ministry of Education until 1991, and then by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority until 2002 when it was replaced by the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Level 1.

See also


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