Academic grading in New Zealand

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Various methods of academic grading in New Zealand are shown below.

Secondary schools[edit]


The National Certificate of Educational Achievement, the current national secondary school qualifications, uses standard-based assessment. Assessment for Achievement Standards uses a four-grade system, the lowest being a failing grade, while Unit Standards use a simple achieved/not achieved (pass/fail) grade system.

Official Name Common Name Abbreviation Definition
Achievement with Excellence Excellence E The candidate has demonstrated comprehensive understanding of the material tested
Achievement with Merit Merit M The candidate has met the criteria of the standard which demonstrates in-depth understanding of the material tested
Achievement Achieved A The candidate met the criteria of the standard to a level which demonstrates understanding of the material tested
Not Achieved Not Achieved N / NA The candidate has not met the criteria required of the standard in order to pass
Standard Not Attempted Not Attempted SNA / V The candidate has been entered for the standard but has not attempted/sat it.

Several schools in New Zealand, predominantly in Auckland, also offer the CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) Program and IB (International Baccalaureate) in addition to NCEA.

School Certificate[edit]

Until 2002, School Certificate, the predecessor to NCEA Level 1, used a norm-based five-grade system.

Grade Percentage
A 80% - 100%
B 65% - 79%
C 50% - 64%
D 30% - 49%
E 0% - 29%


New Zealand universities generally award letter grades (i.e. A to D) to students, with +/- variations. These letter grades correspond to percentage mark bands, though these vary between universities (common cut-offs for A+ include 90% and 85%, and even within a university, an A+ from one department may vary from an A+ from another, with the actual cut-off subject to discretion). D grade is a failing grade, corresponding to work receiving less than 50%. However, for Honours degrees, the letter grades also correspond to degree classes, with A+/A/A- grades corresponding to a first, B+/high B corresponding to 2:1, etc.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]