Fact Sheet: Senior Secondary Student Achievement 2004-2007

Publication Details

The purpose of this fact sheet is to present some key statistics regarding the achievement of senior secondary students. The statistics presented here are sourced from the final 2007 data and compared with 2004, 2005 and 2006 data.

Author(s): Claire Harkess, Jill Corrin and Michael Parkin, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: May 2008

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Summary

Note that achievement can be measured in many ways and statistics presented here may differ from other sources. The data source used here is for those involved in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) study only. It therefore excludes any information on students who are involved in international examinations.

Key Findings

  • Students were more likely to gain a typical level or higher qualification in 2007 than in 2004.
  • 51% of students met the University Entrance requirements by the end of Year 13 in 2007.
  • The proportion of students to meet both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1 by the end of Year 11 has increased between 2004 and 2007. In 2007, 73% of students met both requirements by the end of Year 11, compared to 66% in 2004.

Qualifications

Students were more likely to gain a typical level or higher qualification in 2007 than in 2004.

Figure 1: Proportion of Year 11 – 13 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by level of qualification, 2004-2007

Image of Chart 1 Proportion of Year 11-13 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by level of qualification, 2004-2007.  

In 2007, 62% of Year 11 students gained a qualification, compared with 55% in 2004. The majority of these students gained a level 1 qualification.

A similar pattern is seen with Year 12 students – 74% gained a qualification in 2007, compared with 66% in 2004. The majority (65%) gained a typical level or higher qualification. Nearly 9% gained a level 1 qualification. The majority of these students would have started their level 1 qualification while in Year 11 and returned in Year 12 to complete it.

In Year 13 the proportion of students gaining any qualification has decreased slightly (by just under 1%) between 2004 and 2007. However, Year 13 students were more likely to gain a level 3 qualification in 2007 (53%) than they were in 2004 (48%).  

Qualifications in 2007

Year 11

As seen in chart 1, 62% of Year 11 students gained a qualification at any level in 2007. Female students were more likely to gain a qualification than males (see chart 2). The rates of qualification attainment differ by ten percentage points. This difference has been steady over the last four years. 

Figure 2: Proportion of Year 11 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by gender and ethnic group, 2007

Image of Chart 2 Proportion of Year 11 students to gain an NCEA qualification by gender and ethnic group 2007

Note:

  1. International fee paying and NZAID students are excluded from ethnic group data as are students with no reported ethnicity.

The bigger differences in rates of qualification attainment are seen between ethnic groups. Asian and European/Pākehā students are much more likely to gain a qualification in Year 11 than Māori and Pasifika students. All groups have shown increases in the proportions of students gaining qualifications since 2004 however the differences between ethnic groups have remained similar. 

Year 12

Overall, nearly three-quarters of Year 12 students gained a qualification in 2007. The difference in the rates of qualification attainment by males and females remains at 7 percentage points.

Figure 3: Proportion of Year 12 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by gender and ethnic group, 2007

Image of Chart 3 Proportion of Year 12 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by gender and ethnic group 2007.

Note:

  1. International fee paying and NZAID students are excluded from ethnic group data as are students with no reported ethnicity.

Differences between qualification attainment rates of ethnic groups are again seen (chart 3) but these differences are not as striking as in Year 11.  Sixty-four percent of Year 12 Pasifika gained a qualification, compared with 80% of Year 12 European/Pākehā students. This represents a 16 percentage point difference, for Year 11 students it is 30 percentage points. Māori and Pasifika are more likely to be completing a level 1 qualification in Year 12 than Asian and European/Pākehā students.

Year 13

In 2007, 65% of Year 13 students gained a qualification.

Figure 4: Proportion of Year 13 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by gender and ethnic group, 2007

Image of Chart 4 Proportion of Year 13 students to gain an NCEA qualification, by gender and ethnic grouop 2007.

Note:

  1. International fee paying and NZAID students are excluded from ethnic group data as are students with no reported ethnicity.

Year 13 female students remain more likely to gain a qualification than males.

Year 13 Asian and European/Pākehā students remain more likely to gain a qualification than their Māori and Pasifika counterparts. However the differences between ethnic groups continue to decrease. For example, the European/Pākehā rate is 11 percentage points higher than that of Pasifika students (compared with 30 points in Year 11 and 16 points in Year 12). Pasifika and Māori students are much more likely to gain a level 2 or level 1 qualification in Year 13. This is particularly noted for Pasifika where 27% gained a level 2 qualification and 27% gained a level 3 qualification.

Endorsement of Qualifications

Since the beginning of NCEA, students have been able to gain credits towards their certificate from achievement standards or from unit standards.
Unlike unit standards, achievement standards could be either; achieved, achieved with merit or achieved with excellence, reflecting the quality of the achievement.

From 2007, NCEA certificates are available with endorsements which reflect the quality of a student's achievement. To qualify for an endorsement with excellence, students require at least 50 credits at excellence at the level of the certificate (or higher). An endorsement with merit requires at least 50 credits at merit (or merit and excellence) at the level of the certificate (or higher).

Students were most likely to gain an endorsed certificate for certificates at the typical level of study for their year level. As table 1 shows, 17% of Year 11 students who gained a level 1 NCEA gained this certificate endorsed with merit. Likewise 4% of their peers gained their level 1 NCEA certificate endorsed with excellence.

Table 1: Endorsement of certificates gained by students in 2007
Year Level Certificate Not
Endorsed
Certificate Endorsed
with Merit
Certificate Endorsed
with Excellence
Total
No % No % No % %
Year 11 Students
who gained Level 1
25,106 40% 10,666 17% 2,546 4% 61%
Year 12 Students
who gained Level 2
25,932 49% 6,414 12% 1,512 3% 64%
Year 13 Students
who gained Level 3
15,360 40% 4,194 11% 872 2% 53%

University Entrance

University Entrance (UE) is gained by accumulating a selected set of credits. Amongst these required credits is a literacy and numeracy component. Students do not need to gain an NCEA qualification to meet the requirements for UE.

Figure 5: Proportion of students to meet University Entrance requirements by the end of Year 13, by gender and ethnic group, 2004-2007

Image of Chart 5 Proportion of students to meet University Entrance requirements by end of the Year 13, by gender and ethnic group 2004-2007.  

Note:

  1. International fee paying and NZAID students are excluded from ethnic group data as are students with no reported ethnicity.

In 2007, 51% of students met the requirements for University Entrance by the end of Year 13.

2007 results are slightly above those for 2006 for all groups except Asian students. Māori and Pasifika students show an increase of three and four percentage points respectively, compared to 2006 results. All groups are more likely to gain UE by the end of Year 13 in 2007 than they were in 2004.

Literacy and Numeracy

To gain a NCEA level 1, students need to accumulate at least 80 credits at level 1 or higher, including 8 specified literacy credits and 8 specified numeracy credits. NCEA level 1 is the typical level qualification that Year 11 students work towards. Some students start accumulating credits towards this qualification, particularly literacy and numeracy credits, prior to Year 11. These statistics include all literacy and numeracy credits gained by the end of Year 11.

Figure 6: Proportion of students to meet both literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1 by the end of Year 11, by gender and ethnic group, 2004 – 2007

Image of Chart 6 Proportion of students to meet both literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1 by the end of the Year 11, by gender and ethnic group 2004-2007.

Note:

  1. International fee paying and NZAID students are excluded from ethnic group data as are students with no reported ethnicity.

The proportion of students to meet both the literacy and numeracy requirements for NCEA level 1 by the end of Year 11 has increased between 2004 and 2007. In 2007, 73% of students met both requirements by the end of Year 11, compared to 66% in 2004.

Asian and European/Pākehā students remain more likely to meet both requirements in 2007. However Pasifika students demonstrate a 6 percentage point increase compared to 2006 final results, with 63% of students meeting both literacy and numeracy requirements.

The Statistics

All proportions are calculated with a denominator of student roll. Participation, or lack of it, is now built into the proportions. To enable a denominator of student roll, foreign-fee paying and NZAID students are excluded from ethnic group statistics.

The attainment of all national certificates by senior secondary students is reported here, previously only the National Certificate of Educational Achievement was focused on. By far the majority of senior secondary students gain the National Certificate of Educational Achievement. However a few students gain other certificates such as National Certificate in Business Administration and Computing. The highest level of certificate gained in the year by the student is reported upon.

Table 2: Proportion of students to gain other National Certificates
Year Year 11 Year 12 Year 13
2004 0.1% 0.2% 0.5%
2005 0.2% 0.1% 0.6%
2006 0.2% 0.2% 0.5%
2007 0.3% 0.3% 0.6%


Additionally from 2005, qualifications gained by students who have not paid their fees are specifically included. These were specifically excluded from previous papers, and are not able to be specified at all for 2004. At the national level this has minimal effect on time series.


A typical level qualification for Year 11 students is level one. For Year 12 students it is level two and for Year 13 students it is level three.

Footnotes

  1. Typical level for Year 11 students is level one, for Year 12 students it is level two and for Year 13 students it is level 3.
  2. Typical level for Year 11 students is level one, for Year 12 students it is level two and for Year 13 students it is level 3.
  3. Footnotes 3-6:  Includes national certificates (for example, National Certificate of Educational Achievement and other certificates), excludes international qualifications (for example, Cambridge International examinations.

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