Fact Sheet: Foreign Fee-Paying Senior Secondary Students’ Achievement 2004-2006

Publication Details

This fact sheet presents key statistics on foreign fee-paying (FFP) senior secondary students’ achievement in NCEA over the time period of 2004 to 2006.

Author(s): Haobo Wang and Claire Harkess, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: January 2008

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FFP students make up a relatively small proportion of students in senior secondary study.  FFP students come to New Zealand with a range of goals; some are seeking a high quality education while some are seeking a year's experience of a different life style and culture. Consequently the length of time these students spend in New Zealand varies. Most come from a non-English speaking background and are not at an advanced level of proficiency in the English language while undertaking senior secondary study. With students coming from different education systems it may at times be difficult to place them in the appropriate year level.  FFP students may choose different study pathways than most of their non-FFP peers, for example, working towards a certificate of English proficiency rather than a NCEA qualification or they could be working towards international examinations. Therefore, although the analysis here includes non-FFP students, any comparisons between FFP and non-FFP outcomes must incorporate an awareness of the different characteristics of the two groups.

Table 1: Top 10 countries of origin of Foreign Fee Paying Students, by year level as at July 2006
Year 11 Year 12 Year 13
Country No of
Country No of
Country No of
South Korea 557 South Korea 513 South Korea 436
Japan 352 Japan 459 China 415
China 159 China 308 Japan 334
Thailand 152 Thailand 201 Germany 232
Taiwan 64 Germany 181 Hong Kong 87
Hong Kong 39 Hong Kong 79 Thailand 74
Germany 26 Taiwan 75 Taiwan 63
Vietnam 22 Brazil 52 Vietnam 58
Fiji 13 Vietnam 46 Fiji 39
Russia 9 Fiji 27 Brazil 39

Students' achievement can be assessed in many ways and statistics presented here may differ from other sources. Note also that the calculation basis for the statistics in this paper differs from that used previously (see The Statistics section at the end for more information).

Key Findings

  • FFP students were more likely to gain an NCEA qualification at a typical level or higher in 2006 than they were in 2004.
  • The proportion of FFP students to meet the UE requirements by the end of Year 13 has varied in the last three years (31% to 39%) with the peak in 2005.
  • FFP students were much more likely to meet the numeracy requirements than the literacy requirements for NCEA level 1 by the end of Year 11.
  • Participation and achievement in Mathematics by FFP candidates is relatively high across all year levels.


  1. FFP students are one category of international students.
  2. Here, NCEA refers to all national certificates for senior secondary students (for example, National Certificate of Educational Achievement and other certificates on the National Qualifications Framework), but excluding international qualifications (for example, Cambridge International Examinations).
  3. Colleen Ward & Anne-Marie Masgoret, The Experiences of International Students in New Zealand. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

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