High school students disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic are being given a lifeline ahead of their NCEA exams.
Students will now be able to earn additional credits to help them reach their annual requirements, as well as the requirements for different qualifications being reduced.
"For each five credits a student attains towards their NCEA, they will be entitled to an additional one Learning Recognition credit, up to a maximum of 10 additional credits for students undertaking NCEA Level 1, or up to a maximum of eight additional credits for students at NCEA Levels 2 or 3," Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today.
The requirements for university entrance will also be tweaked, now only requiring 12 credits in each of three approved subjects, rather than the usual 14.
Mr Hipkins says they'll still need to achieve NCEA Level 3 and meet the standard literacy and numeracy requirements to qualify for university entrance.
"This reduction of two credits per approved subject recognises that students may not have had the same opportunity to achieve as in other years, while continuing to ensure students are ready to undertake university study."
Meanwhile, for Merit or Excellence endorsements, students now only require 46 credits at that level rather than 50, with course endorsements requiring 12 instead of 14 credits.
It comes after the external exams were pushed back and portfolio due dates delayed due to the challenges from the Covid-19 disruption.
The Easter holiday was brought forward due to the Alert Level 4 lockdown, with the vast majority of students then required to learn remotely until Level 2.
Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand president Deidre Shea says she's impressed with the changes to NCEA.
"It's a superb package which will provide acknowledgment and incentive for students around the country," she told 1 NEWS.
Ms Shea thinks students will be happy with extra credits on offer, as well as lowered university entrance and NCEA endorsement requirements.
"It's appropriate for the length of time that everybody has been disrupted," she says.
"Because students are back at school now… it's spot on."
Ms Shea says she thinks the recognition credits would be a motivating factor for students as they are only on offer when credits are gained.
"I think it will be a real boost."