Pasifika achievement: High level analysis

Publication Details

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of achievement by Pasifika candidates in New Zealand secondary schools. This paper focuses on 2004 data with some reference to 2002 and 2003 data.

Author(s): Claire Harkess, Siobhan Murray, Michael Parkin and Jacinta Dalgety, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: June 2005

Summary

The paper begins with key findings, some background information and a description of the population used in the analysis. The topics covered in the analysis include: attainment of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications; the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA level 1; and achievement by quantity and level of credits.

This paper forms part of a wider analysis project looking at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) data. The main themes of the analysis project are achievement in Māori-medium education, Pasifika achievement and achievement in mathematics. This is the second paper to be published from the analysis project. The first paper, a report titled "Māori achievement and achievement in Māori immersion and bilingual schools", is publicly available.

Key Findings

Individual Pasifika ethnic groups

  • Fijian candidates were generally more successful at gaining NCEA qualifications than other Pasifika groups.
  • Year 11 Fijian candidates were most successful at meeting both the literacy and numeracy requirements for an NCEA level 1. About half of all other Pasifika ethnic groups met both requirements.
  • The number of candidates within all but one Pasifika ethnic group has increased since 2002. The growth in these groups has been much larger than actual roll growth, indicating increased participation in gaining credits on the NQF.
  • Tongan Year 12 candidates' achievement improved noticeably between 2003 and 2004.

Pasifika and non-Pasifika

  • As a group, Pasifika candidates performed poorly compared to non-Pasifika candidates. They were less likely to gain an NCEA qualification, they were less likely to achieve the literacy and numeracy requirements for an NCEA level 1, and they tended to gain fewer credits than non-Pasifika candidates.

Background

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) defines which standards-based qualifications can be awarded by New Zealand educational institutions. The main qualification on the NQF available to secondary school students is the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). NCEA level 1 was first available in 2002. Similarly, NCEA level 2 was first available in 2003, and NCEA level 3 is widely available from 2004 onwards. Please refer to for more information on the NQF and NCEA qualifications and terminology.

Population

This paper reports on results for candidates. A candidate is a student who has achieved at least one credit on the NQF.

Results for Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 candidates are analysed in this paper. These years of schooling are the typical years at which students first participate in gaining NCEA level 1, level 2 and level 3 respectively.

Pasifika candidates are the focus of this paper. Candidates whose ethnicity is unknown are excluded from analysis on an ethnicity basis. This means that Pasifka and non-Pasifika candidates do not add to the total number of candidates. Ethnicity is determined by the current Ministry of Education coding system, which is detailed in Appendix 2.

The achievement of individual Pasifika groups has been compared in each section of this paper. However, the numbers of candidates in individual Pasifika groups is low. This limits the analysis possible. Tokelauan candidates have been excluded from breakdowns of individual Pasifika ethnicities due to the very low number of Tokelauan candidates.

For more information on population and the issues mentioned above please refer to .

Qualifications attained

Gaining qualifications is an important step at senior secondary school. School qualifications provide students with pathways to higher qualifications and to employment opportunities in adult life. Pasifika candidates overall were less successful in gaining NCEA qualifications than non-Pasifika candidates, as illustrated in Table 1.

At all years of schooling Pasifika candidates are less likely than non-Pasifika candidates to gain a qualification.

Table 1: Proportion of Pasifika and non-Pasifika candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2004
Note:
  1. Due to rounding, percentages in the table may not add to the total.
  2. Quals = Qualifications
Year Ethnic Group No of Candidates Candidates Achieving
Level 3 (%) Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) Non-NCEA Quals2 (%) Any NCEA Quals2 (%)
Year 11 Pasifika 4,006

33
33
Non-Pasifika 48,891
1 63
64
Year 12 Pasifika 3,154
37 19
56
Non-Pasifika 40,225 1 65 9
76
Year 13 Pasifika 2,299 21 28 10 2 58
Non-Pasifika 29,425 54 13 4 3 71


While a higher proportion of Year 11 candidates gained an NCEA in 2003 than in 2002, the 2004 and 2003 results are very similar for Year 11 candidates (2003 results are detailed in ).

Of the Year 12 candidates gaining qualifications, Pasifika were more likely to gain the lower qualification of NCEA level 1 than their non-Pasifika counterparts. Just under a fifth of Pasifika Year 12 candidates in 2004 gained an NCEA level 1. In comparison, a tenth of the non-Pasifika who gained a qualification were in this category.

The proportion of Year 12 candidates, both Pasifika and non-Pasifika, to gain an NCEA level 2 increased from 2003 to 2004. A similar increase was seen between 2002 and 2003 for Year 11 candidates gaining NCEA level 1. This may indicate that teachers and students have become more familiar with NCEA qualifications the year after they are first introduced.

Pasifika Year 13 candidates were much less likely to gain an NCEA level 3 than their non-Pasifika counterparts. Around a fifth of Pasifika Year 13 candidates gained an NCEA level 3, compared with over half of non-Pasifika Year 13 candidates.

A relatively high proportion of Pasifika Year 13 candidates gained an NCEA level 2 in 2004. Although this is a lower qualification than an NCEA level 3, in the current buoyant labour market it still provides candidates with choices once they leave school.

Variation between the Pasifika ethnicities is evident when the Pasifika group is divided into individual Pasifika ethnic groups (illustrated in Tables 2, 3 and 4). Overall, Fijian candidates were more successful at gaining NCEA qualifications in 2004 than other Pasifika groups. 2003 results were similar.

Table 2: Proportion of Pasifika Year 11 candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2004, by individual Pasifika ethnic groups
Note:
  1. Due to rounding, percentages in the table may not add to the total.
Ethnic Group Number
of
Candidates
Candidates who Achieved
Level 3 (%) Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) Any NCEA
Quals (%)
Samoan 1,925

36 36
Tongan 756

28 28
Cook Island Māori 642

27 27
Fijian 175 1 1 48 49
Niuean 218
1 30 31


For Year 11 candidates, NCEA level 1 is the typical qualification. The proportion of Year 11 candidates gaining NCEA were similar in 2003 and in 2004 for all Pasifika ethnicities. Fijian Year 11 candidates were most successful of all Pasifika groups at gaining NCEA level 1. Samoan candidates were also relatively successful (36% gained a qualification), while all other groups were around the 30% mark.

Interestingly, the number of Fijian Year 11 and Year 12 candidates has decreased, while the number of candidates from all other Pasifika ethnic groups has increased since 2003. The most striking increase is in the number of Niuean Year 11 candidates, from 64 candidates in 2002 to 218 in 2004.

The decrease in Fijian candidates reflects a similar decrease in rolls between 2002 and 2004. For the other Pasifika ethnicities, however, the increase in candidates is far larger than roll growth over this period. This shows that Pasifika have a higher participation rate in the NQF than previously.

Table 3: Proportion of Pasifika Year 12 candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2004, by individual Pasifika ethnic groups
Ethnic Group Number
of
Candidates
Candidates who Achieved
Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) Any NCEA
Quals (%)
Samoan 1,573 37 20 57
Tongan 565 32 21 53
Cook Island Māori 417 32 19 51
Fijian 192 51 9 60
Niuean 183 34 10 54


Over half of all Pasifika Year 12 candidates gained an NCEA in 2004. However, many of these candidates gained the lower qualification of NCEA level 1.

Fijian and Samoan Year 12 candidates had the highest rate of qualification achievement in 2004. Unlike candidates from other Pasifika groups, just over half of all Fijian Year 12 candidates gained an NCEA level 2.

The performance of Tongan Year 12 candidates is better in 2004 than in 2003, when just under half (48%) gained an NCEA. There was a marked increase in the number of Tongan candidates between 2003 and 2004. This increase was larger than the increase in Tongan rolls. So not only has the proportion gaining a qualification increased, participation has grown and the number of Tongan Year 12 candidates gaining a qualification is higher.

Table 4: Proportion of Pasifika Year 13 Candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2004, by individual Pasifika ethnic groups
Note:
  1. Due to rounding, percentages in the table may not add to the total.
  2. Quals = Qualifications
Year Ethnic Group Number
of
Candidates
Candidates Achieving
Level 3 (%) Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) Non NCEA
Quals (%)
Any NCEA
Quals (%)
Samoan Pasifika 1,196 18 29 10 3 57
Tongan Non-Pasifika 375 16 32 14 3 61
Cook Island Māori Pasifika 257 19 24 11 2 54
Fijian Non-Pasifika 197 37 17 6 4 59
Niuean Pasifika 100 28 30 12
70


In 2004, NCEA level 3 replaced Bursary as the typical qualification for students in Year 13.

Overall, Niuean Year 13 candidates had the highest rate of qualification achievement at any level. However, Fijian Year 13 candidates had the highest rate of achieving an NCEA level 3.

For other Pasifika groups, NCEA level 2 was the most common qualification for Year 13 candidates. Just under a third of Tongan, Niuean and Samoan Year 13 candidates gained an NCEA level 2.

Gaining University Entrance

University Entrance (UE) is a qualification that is gained in conjunction with NCEA and non-NCEA qualifications. Although most candidates gaining UE also gain an NCEA level 3, some do not. Candidates can accumulate credits towards UE over a number of years.

University Entrance requires a minimum of 42 credits at level 3 or higher. At least 28 of these credits must come from two subjects on an approved subjects list. In addition to this, candidates must gain 14 numeracy credits at level 1 or above, and 8 literacy credits at level 2 or above.

The overall proportion of Pasifika Year 13 candidates gaining UE appears poor in comparison to the proportion for non-Pasifika. Under a fifth of all Pasifika Year 13 candidates gained UE, compared to over half of all non-Pasifika Year 13 candidates.

Table 5: Pasifika and non-Pasifika Year 13 candidates who gained UE in 2004
Ethnic Group Number
of
Candidates
Attained UE &
NCEA Level 3
Attained UE but
not NCEA Level 3
Total
Proportion
Gained UE
No % No %
Pasifika 2,299 376 16 70 3 19
Non-Pasifika 29,425 13,893 47 1,244 4 51


When looking at individual Pasifika groups a somewhat different picture emerges. While most Pasifika groups hover around 17% of Year 13 gaining UE, just over a third of Fijian Year 13 candidates gained UE. This is still well below the figure for non-Pasifika.

Table 6: Pasifika Year 13 candidates who gained UE in 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Attained UE & NCEA Level 3
No %
Samoan 1,196 207 17
Tongan 375 56 15
Cook Island Māori 257 43 17
Fijian 197 71 36
Niuean 100 19 19

Meeting literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1

A candidate gains an NCEA qualification by achieving a certain number of credits at specified levels. For NCEA level 1 there is also a literacy and numeracy equirement to the qualification. This section explores patterns of achievement for literacy and numeracy requirements for Year 11 candidates.

The literacy requirement for NCEA level 1 involves achieving 8 credits from specified literacy standards. Similarly, the numeracy requirement involves gaining 8 credits from specified numeracy standards. Achieving the literacy and numeracy requirements are important prerequisites in achieving an NCEA level 1 qualification.

Table 7: Year 11 candidates who met both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1, 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Met both the literacy and numeracy requirements
No %
Pasifika 4,006 2,121 53
Non-Pasifika 48,891 36,440 75


When compared to non-Pasifika, a disproportionate number of Pasifika Year 11 candidates did not meet the literacy and numeracy requirements for an NCEA level 1 (shown in Table 7). Just over half of Pasifika Year 11 candidates met both the literacy and numeracy requirements in 2004. This compares to three-quarters of non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates who met the requirements.

Table 8: Year 11 Pasifika candidates who met both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1, 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Met both the literacy and numeracy requirements
No %
Samoan 1,925 1,064 55
Tongan 756 364 48
Cook Island Māori 642 299 47
Fiji 175 113 65
Niuean 218 113 52


Within Pasifika groups there was variation in the proportion of candidates gaining both literacy and numeracy (illustrated in Table 8). Fijian Year 11 candidates were the most successful at meeting the literacy and numeracy requirements, followed by Samaon candidates.

In addition to the candidates who met both the literacy and numeracy requirements, there were some candidates who met one of the requirements but not the other.

All ethnic groups had greater success meeting the numeracy than the literacy requirements in 2004.

Figure 1: Proportion of Pasifika and non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates by whether they met the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1 in 2004

Figure 1 details the proportion of candidates who met both requirements, met one of the requirements, or neither the literacy nor numeracy requirement.

Around a fifth of Tongan and Cook Islands Māori Year 11 candidates gained neither the literacy nor the numeracy requirements, which is more than double the proportion of Year 11 non-Pasifika (9%) who met neither requirement.

The literacy and numeracy requirements are not by themselves a major barrier to attaining NCEA level 1. Most Year 11 candidates who did not gain an NCEA level 1 had greater difficulty attaining enough credits for the qualification, regardless of whether they met the literacy and numeracy requirements. Just over a quarter of Pasifika and non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates who did not gain an NCEA level 1 met both the literacy and numeracy requirements, but did not have sufficient credits for the qualification. Furthermore, only a very small proportion had sufficient credits for an NCEA level 1, but failed due to not meeting both the literacy and numeracy requirements. Lack of credits is therefore a bigger issue at this stage than not meeting the literacy and numeracy requirements.

Number and level of credits attained

Year 11

To gain an NCEA level 1 qualification candidates need to achieve 80 or more credits at level 1 or above, including the literacy and numeracy requirements. Examination of quantities of credits gained can give insight into the progress candidates are making towards a qualification.<

Table 9: Pasifika & non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates by achievement in credits (at all levels), 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who Attained (at All Levels)
120+ Credits 80-119 Credits 40-79 Credits 1-39 Credits
No % No % No % No %
Pasifika 4,006 342 9 1,142 29 1,566 39 956 24
Non-Pasifika 48,891 15,268 31 17,367 36 10,419 21 5,837 12


Overall 38% of Year 11 Pasifika candidates gained 80 credits or more in 2004, as shown in Table 9.

As mentioned in the section above, lack of credits is more of a barrier to gaining NCEA level 1 than the literacy and numeracy requirements. Pasifika Year 11 candidates were significantly more likely than non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates to have low numbers of credits. 70% of the Year 11 Pasifika candidates who did not gain an NCEA level 1 in 2004 had a low number of credits. This was larger than the proportion of non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates in the same category.

Table 10: Pasifika Year 11 candidates by achievement in credits (at all levels), 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained (at All Levels)
120+ Credits 80-119 Credits 40-79 Credits 1-39 Credits
No % No % No % No %
Samoan 1,925 183 10 577 30 758 39 407 21
Tongan 756 40 5 191 25 304 40 186 29
Cook Island Māori 642 41 6 159 25 256 40 186 29
Fijian 175 34 19 55 31 55 31 31 18
Niuean 218 13 6 65 30 95 44 45 21


Within the individual groups the range of candidates to gain 80 credits or more spreads from 30% of Tongan candidates to 50% of Fijian candidates.

Those gaining 80 credits or more are split into two categories in Table 10. From Table 10 we see that Fijian candidates were the group most likely to gain high numbers (120+) of credits. At least a quarter of each Pasifika group gained 80-119 credits in 2004, which is an improvement on the Year 11 2003 results for most Pasifika groups. The proportion of Niuean Year 11 candidates gaining 80-119 credits has jumped from 20% in 2003 to 30% in 2004.

With the exception of Fijian Year 11 candidates, those gaining 40-79 credits made up the highest proportion of each Pasifika group. Between 49% and 69% of Pasifika, depending upon the Pasifika group they identify with, do not gain enough credits in one year to attain a qualification.

Year 12

To gain an NCEA level 2 qualification, candidates need to achieve 60 or more credits at level 2 or above.

Table 11: Pasifika & non-Pasifika Year 12 candidates by achievement in credits (level 2 or higher), 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained  (at Level 2+)
90+
Credits
60-89
Credits
30-59
Credits
1-29
Credits
No % No % No % No %
Pasifika 3,154 363 12 747 24 1,027 33 937 30
Non-Pasifika 40,225 15,239 38 10,455 26 7,810 19 6,033 15


In 2004, 36% of Pasifika candidates gained 60 credits or more at level 2 or above, as illustrated in Table 11. This is slightly higher than in 2003 when 33% of Pasifika candidates gained 60 or more credits at level 2 or above.

Table 12: Pasifika Year 12 candidates by achievement in credits (level 2 or higher), 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained (at Level 2+)
90+ Credits 50-89 Credits 30-59 Credits 1-29 Credits
No % No % No % No %
Samoan 1,573 171 11 384 24 546 35 444 28
Tongan 565 55 10 115 20 174 31 200 35
Cook Island Māori 417 35 8 93 22 124 30 148 36
Fijian 192 35 18 60 31 53 28 38 20
Niuean 183 25 14 37 20 67 37 52 28


Within the individual Pasifika groups (shown in Table 12), candidates attaining 60 credits or more range from 30% of Tongan and Cook Islands Māori Year 12 candidates to just under 50% of Fijian Year 12 candidates.

Overall, the proportion of Fijian candidates gaining 60 or more credits at level 2 or above in 2004 was very similar to the 2003 proportion. However, the proportion of Fijian Year 12 candidates gaining 90 or more credits in 2004 was well below the 2003 proportion of 27%. This is unlikely to be of concern. The variation is likely to be due to a combination of the small numbers.

Year 13

To gain an NCEA level 3 qualification, candidates need to achieve 60 or more credits at level 3 or above.

Table 13: Pasifika & non-Pasifika Year 13 candidates by achievement in credits (level 2 or higher), 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained  (at Level 2+)
90+
Credits
60-89 Credits 30-59
Credits
1-29
Credits
No % No % No % No %
Pasifika 2,299 135 6 318 14 533 23 931 41
Non-Pasifika 29,425 7,523 26 8,034 27 5,685 19 5,321 18


A fifth of Pasifika Year 13 candidates gained sufficient credits for an NCEA level 3, compared to over half of all non-Pasifika Year 13 candidates.

Table 14: Pasifika Year 13 candidates by achievement in credits (level 3 or higher), 2004
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained ( at Level 2+)
90+ Credits 60-89 Credits 30-59 Credits 1-29 Credits
No % No % No % No %
Samoan 1,196 54 5 160 13 279 23 487 41
Tongan 375 15 4 41 11 104 28 151 40
Cook Island Māori 257 13 5 28 11 47 18 128 50
Fijian 197 28 14 41 21 42 21 64 33
Niuean 100 7 7 18 18 20 20 41 41


Among individual Pasifika groups, Fijian Year 13 candidates stand out because of the relatively high proportions gaining 60 or more credits at level 3 or above.

The majority of Pasifika candidates are gaining between 1 and 29 credits at level 3 or above. This suggests that a high proportion of Pasifika Year 13 candidates are participating at a lower level than the typical and are likely to be aiming for lower qualifications than NCEA level 3.

Excellence in achievement

Excellence can be measured in many ways under the qualification framework. One possible measure of excellence is performing above the level typical for a candidate's year of schooling. This is touched on earlier in the report. Candidates can also gain achievement standards with 'excellence'.

Another measure of excellence (illustrated in Table 15) is to count those who gained a qualification and who also gained at least a quarter of their credits at the level of the qualification with 'excellence'. Using this measure, the proportion of Pasifika with 'excellence' is very small.

Table 15: Candidates who achieved an NCEA qualification typical for their year of schooling and received a with 'excellence' result for at least 25% of their credits at the level of their NCEA qualification, 2004
Year Ethnic Group Candidates who gained a typical-level NCEA with
25%+ of their credits with 'excellence'
Number Percentage
Year 11 Pasifika 45 1
Non-Pasifika 3,974 8
Year 12 Pasifika 40 1
Non-Pasifika 3,179 8
Year 13 Pasifika 32 1
Non-Pasifika 2,426 8


Interestingly, the proportions gaining qualifications with 'excellence' was the same for Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 in 2004.

Future work

Further analysis on Pasifika achievement is planned as part of the NQF analysis project. A number of topics are being investigated:

  • Pathways of Year 11 candidates who did not attain an NCEA in 2002. This analysis will look into what progress this group made in 2004. Are candidates returning and completing qualifications, are they returning and gaining more credits, or are they not returning?
  • The standards in which Pasifika candidates gain 'excellence'. Do Pasifika perform better in particular learning areas? Do they differ from non-Pasifika in the learning areas where they gain 'excellence'?
  • The proportion of credits gained through unit standards. Also of interest are the implications of gaining most credits through unit standards.
  • Achievement tends to vary by gender. Is the gender effect greater or smaller for Pasifika than non-Pasifika?
  • Achievement of non-NCEA qualifications.

Appendix 1: NCEA and NQF Definitions

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The NQF defines all standards-based qualifications that can be awarded in New Zealand. It is designed to provide nationally recognised, consistent standards and qualifications. NQF qualifications are quality assured and administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Achievement standards

Achievement standards were introduced with NCEA level 1 in 2002. They were developed to cover subjects previously offered as part of School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate and University Bursary. Achievement standards can be assessed internally within a school, or externally through an examination. Achievement standards can be awarded with an 'achieved', 'merit' and 'excellence' grade. The number of credits awarded for a particular standard is fixed and is not affected by the grade awarded.

Level 1 achievement standards were first available in 2002. Similarly, level 2 standards were first available in 2003, and level 3 achievement standards were not available until 2004.

Unit standards

Unit standards were first introduced in 1992 (but only at schools since circa 1996). They cover virtually every area of sub-degree education and training. They are available at many tertiary providers as well as at secondary schools. Unit standards are developed in conjunction with industry groups and relevant tertiary providers. There are some unit standards that were developed for school curriculum subjects, but these may differ from equivalent achievement standards because they reflect industry and tertiary providers' expectations as well as the curriculum.

Unit Standards, unlike achievement standards, only have an 'achieved' grade associated with them. Unit standards are awarded at levels 1-6, whereas achievement standards are awarded at levels 1-3. Both unit and achievement standards count towards NCEA qualifications.

Credits

NCEA qualifications are awarded according to the number of credits students have. Each unit and achievement standard is worth a certain number of credits. The number of credits attached to a standard may vary according to which aspect of the curriculum it relates to.

Requirements for NCEA qualifications

NCEA qualifications are standards-based and are on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

NCEA level 1 is awarded to people who are credited with a minimum of 80 credits at level 1 or above and who have met the literacy and numeracy requirements. A minimum of 8 credits in the specified literacy subfields and a minimum of 8 credits in the specified numeracy subfields are required to meet the literacy and numeracy requirements.

NCEA level 2 requires a minimum of 80 credits. Between 0-20 credits from an NCEA level 1 can be cross-credited towards an NCEA level 2 qualification. 60 or more of the credits must be at level 2 or above. There is no literacy or numeracy requirement for NCEA level 2.

NCEA level 3 also requires a minimum of 80 credits. Between 0-20 credits from an NCEA level 2 can be cross-credited towards an NCEA level 3 qualification. 60 or more of the credits must be at level 3 or above. There is no literacy or numeracy requirement.

University Entrance

University Entrance may be completed as part of an NCEA level 3, though it is possible to gain UE without gaining an NCEA level 3. Credits for UE can be accumulated over more than one year.

UE requires a minimum of 42 credits at level 3 or higher. Within these credits there must be at least 14 credits at level 3 or higher in two separate subjects from a list of 'approved subjects'.

There are also literacy and numeracy requirements. A student must gain at least 14 numeracy credits at level 1 or higher. Eight literacy credits at level 2 or higher, four in reading and four in writing, are also necessary for UE.

Non-NCEA qualifications available to secondary students

A broad range of National Certificates on the NQF are available to secondary students. Schools can choose which unit standards to offer and may have partnerships with tertiary providers who offer certain unit standards, so the types of National Certificates available to individual students varies from school to school.

New Zealand-based qualifications appear either on the NQF or the Register of Quality Assured Qualifications (the Register). Standards-based qualifications fall under the umbrella of the NQF, all other qualifications awarded in New Zealand, such as university degrees, are on the Register. The main qualification on the Register for secondary students is level 4 Scholarship, which is exam-based and was introduced in 2004.

Appendix 2: Population

Why the measure of candidate is used

This paper reports on results for candidates. A candidate is a student who has achieved at least one credit on the NQF. The number of candidates is therefore smaller than the cohort of secondary students who could take part in gaining credits.

The measure of candidates is used because not all schools appear to have reported students who attempted but did not achieve internally assessed credits. Including these students would therefore make the analysis outcomes unreliable. Candidates is the standard measure used in Ministry of Education analysis of New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) senior secondary school data.

How ethnicity is assigned

In this report we refer to candidates whose ethnicity is Pasifika, according to the current Ministry of Education ethnicity coding. The Ministry of Education reports on a single ethnicity for each candidate. The single ethnicity is assigned on an hierarchical basis. As New Zealand Māori is first in the hierarchy, candidates who nominate Māori as one of their ethnicities are identified as Māori. Pasifika ethnicities are assigned after New Zealand Māori according to the size of their populations within New Zealand, from smallest to largest.

The consequence of assigning ethnicity on an hierarchical basis is that candidates with mixed ethnicities are identified under one group only. For example, candidates who are Samoan and Māori are counted under Māori, not under Pasifika. Thus a small group of candidates who identify with Pasifika are excluded from Pasifika analysis.

The Ministry of Education uses the following order of priority so that students are reported in one ethnic group only:

Māori
Tokelauan
Fijian
Niuean
Tongan
Cook Islands Māori
Samoan
Other Pacific Islands
South-East Asian
Indian
Chinese
Other Asian
Other
Other European
NZ European/Pakeha

Tokelauan and Other Pasifika candidates have been excluded from the breakdowns of individual Pasifika ethnicities due to small numbers.

Limitations of small populations

In this paper achievement for candidates identifying with particular Pasifika groups is reported upon. Pasifika groups are usually reported at a higher level (aggregated into a single group called Pasifika) due to small numbers at the lower level. This aggregation can hide different patterns of achievement by particular groups.

We attempt to show the differing patterns in this report. However, the small numbers in each group remains a problem. Small numbers can limit the amount of analysis that can be carried out. For example, only a limited number of breakdowns are possible as numbers in each category quickly become too small to be useful.

Additionally comparison between groups is usually done on a 'proportion of' basis to enable comparison between groups of different size. This means that results for smaller sized groups can be much more variable as only one or two candidates need to change categories for an effect to be seen on proportions. Similarly one or two high- or low- performing candidates can skew results in small populations. Therefore findings drawing on small groups should be treated with caution.

Year of schooling

In this report, and other Ministry of Education reports, candidates are categorised according to year of schooling - as Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 candidates. NZQA talks about candidates in terms of years at secondary. This means that a Year 11 candidate in an MOE report appears as a Year 3 candidate in an NZQA report. Similarly, NZQA refers to Year 12 candidates as Year 4, and Year 13 candidates as Year 5.

Appendix 3: Other MoE information on Pasifika school achievement

A number of other Ministry of Education publications report on achievement of Pasifika school students. These publications report at the aggregate level of ethnicity and do not contain breakdowns of individual Pasifika ethnic groups. In general terms, these reports confirm the sort of findings detailed in this paper.

The highest qualification of Pasifika school leavers is reported on every year by the Ministry of Education in the publications Education Statistics of New Zealand and the School Sector Report. Within the School Sector Report is a summary of school examination and qualification results for different ethnic groups, including Pasifika.

Another source of information on Pasifika achievement is the National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP). NEMP is a large-scale, ongoing project that assesses curriculum areas and skills of Year 4 (ages 8-9) and Year 8 (ages 12-13) students. NEMP publishes reports each year. Most of these reports cover Pasifika achievement.

A report on Pasifika reading, mathematical and scientific literacy as assessed by the Programme for International Student Assessment 2000 (PISA 2000) has been published by the Ministry of Education's Research Division. The report, titled Focus on Pasifika achievement in reading literacy: Results from PISA 2000, provides general results for Pasifika 15-year-olds and then focuses on reading literacy and the factors associated with high achievement for Pasifika.

Two other Ministry of Education reports may also be of interest. Literature review on Pacific education issues covers published and unpublished research since 1990 on Pasifika education issues in each of the education sectors. Bilingual/Immersion Education: Indicators of good practice explores effective approaches for bilingual education. While the focus is on Māori-medium education, the indicators are highly relevant to Pasifika bilingual education practice.

Appendix 4: 2003 tables

Table 16: Proportion of Pasifika and non-Pasifika candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2003
Year Ethnic Group Number of Candidates Candidates Achieving
Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) an NCEA (%)
Year 11 Pasifika 3,397
34 34
Non-Pasifika 44,105 1 63 64
Year 12 Pasifika 2,641 34 23 57
Non-Pasifika 34,595 61 11 72
Table 17: Proportion of Pasifika Year 11 candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2003, by individual Pasifika ethnic groups
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates Achieving
Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) an NCEA (%)
Samoan 1,711
35 35
Tongan 564
30 30
Cook Island Māori 493
28 28
Fijian 199 1 52 52
Niuean 176
28 28
Table 18: Proportion of Pasifika Year 12 candidates who gained an NCEA qualification in 2003, by individual Pasifika ethnic groups
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates Achieving
Level 2 (%) Level 1 (%) an NCEA (%)
Samoan 1,349 34 24 58
Tongan 427 25 23 48
Cook Island Māori 342 30 24 54
Fijian 206 52 16 67
Niuean 109 39 21 61
Table 19: Candidates who met both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1, 2003
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Met both the literacy and numeracy requirements
Number Percentage
Pasifika 3,397 1,820 54
Non-Pasifika 44,105 32,653 74
Table 20: Pasifika candidates who met both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1, 2003
Ethnic Group Number of Candidates Met both the literacy and numeracy requirements
Number Percentage
Samoan 1,711 947 55
Tongan 564 276 49
Cook Island Māori 493 237 48
Fiji 199 128 64
Niuean 176 85 48
Table 21: Pasifika & non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates by achievement in credits (at all levels), 2003
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who Attained (at All Levels)
120+
Credits
80-119
Credits
40-79
Credits
1-39
Credits
No % No % No % No %
Pasifika 3,397 277 8 934 28 1,397 41 789 23
Non-Pasifika 44,105 13,332 30 15,829 36 10,100 23 4,844 11
Table 22: Pasifika Year 11 candidates by achievement in credits (at all levels), 2003
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained 120+ credits (all levels)
120+
Credits
80-119
Credits 
40-79
Credits 
1-39
Credits 
No % No % No % No %
Samoan 1,711 131 8 502 29 728 43 350 21
Tongan 564 37 7 134 24 227 40 166 29
Cook Island Māori 493 33 7 115 23 200 41 145 29
Fijian 199 37 19 67 34 62 31 33 17
Niuean 176 15 9 35 20 82 47 44 25
Table 23: Pasifika & non-Pasifika Year 12 candidates by achievement in credits (level 2 or higher), 2003
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained (at Level 2+)
90+
Credits 
60-89
Credits 
30-59
Credits 
1-29
Credits 
No % No % No % No %
Pasifika 2,641 309 12 557 21 877 33 804 30
Non-Pasifika 34,594 11,502 33 8,670 25 7,256 21 6357 18
Table 24: Pasifika Year 12 candidates by achievement in credits (level 2 or higher), 2003
Ethnic Group Number of
Candidates
Candidates who attained (at Level 2+)
90+
Credits 
60-89
Credits 
30-59
Credits 
1-29
Credits 
No % No % No % No %
Samoan 1,349 137 10 304 23 467 35 396 29
Tongan 427 36 8 72 17 135 32 161 38
Cook Island Māori 342 32 9 61 18 129 38 103 30
Fijian 206 56 27 48 23 55 27 45 29
Niuean 109 15 14 25 23 31 28 35 32
Table 25: Candidates who achieved an NCEA qualification and received a with 'excellence' result for at least 25% of their credits, 2003
Year Ethnic Group Number Percentage
Year 11 Pasifika 46 1.4
Non-Pasifika 3,831 8.7
Year 12 Pasifika 30 1.1
Non-Pasifika 2,662 7.7

Footnotes

  1. Fijian-Indian candidates make up a small proportion of the Fijian group. Both Fijian-Indian and other Fijian candidates are more successful at gaining qualifications than other Pasifika groups.
  2. 5% of the Pasifika Year 11 candidates and 8% of non-Pasifika Year 11 candidates who did not gain an NCEA level 1 had more than 80 credits, but had not gained both the literacy and numeracy requirements.
  3. 64 credits or less is considered a low number of credits in this context. Candidates need to gain at least 64 credits on top to the 16 credits gained through literacy and numeracy requirements.
  4. Fijian-Indian candidates make up a small proportion of the Fijian group. Both Fijian-Indian and other Fijian candidates are more successful at gaining higher quantities of credits than other Pasifika groups.
  5. This statement is based on gaining 80 credits for a level 1 qualification and ignores the literacy and numeracy requirements, which are covered in another section.
  6. Credits counted are those gained at level 2 or higher. Therefore any level 1 credits gained by Year 12 candidates are not included in this Table.
  7. Only achievement standards can be awarded with an excellence grade, but both achievement and unit standards count towards an NCEA qualification. The 25% is measured against the total number of credits regardless of whether they are from unit or achievement standards.
  8. The information in this appendix was sourced from the NZQA website and from NZQA staff.
  9. The list of approved subjects and the lists of literacy and numeracy standards for UE are available on the NZQA website

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