Students have the opportunity to achieve their NCEA qualification up to Level 3. Students in Years 11, 12 and 13 study NCEA at the level suited to their progress. The opportunity to sit Scholarship is offered to suitable candidates in Year 13. Some Year 10 students are also given the opportunity to begin their NCEA studies. Students are encouraged to achieve to Excellence level in their studies. The school hopes that these Excellence grades will assist students when applying for tertiary courses and scholarships as the entry level required by tertiary organisations continues to rise. This is true also of the levels students must reach before they can apply for many scholarships for tertiary study.

The following diagram summarises the credits that are required to award the 3 NCEA qualifications that are followed by students at St John’s College:

Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy Requirements 

Literacy  Minimum of 10 credits through either:
• Achievement Standards. Specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects
• Unit Standards. A package of three literacy unit standards (total of 10 credits – all three required)

Numeracy Minimum of 10 credits through either:
• Achievement Standards. Specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects
• Unit Standards. A package of three numeracy unit standards (a total of 10 credits – all three required)

The NCEA Level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirement must be met in order to award NCEA Level 2 and 3 qualifications. A full list of standards across all subjects which carry literacy and numeracy can be found online.

Recognising high achievement with 'endorsements'

When students perform consistently above the 'Achieved' level, their result(s) can be 'endorsed' to reflect that high achievement.  This can occur at either the Certificate or individual subject level.

Certificate endorsement - If a student gains 50 credits at Excellence, their NCEA qualification will be endorsed with Excellence. Likewise, if a student gains 50 credits at Merit (or Merit and Excellence), their NCEA qualification will be endorsed with Merit. The Record of Achievement shows endorsement awards. Credits earned can count towards an endorsement over more than one year and more than one level. However, they must be gained at the level of the certificate or above. For example, Level 2 credits will count towards endorsement of a Level 1 NCEA, but Level 1 credits will not count towards endorsement of a Level 2 NCEA.

Course endorsement - Course endorsement provides recognition for a student who has performed exceptionally well in an individual course. A course endorsement is not a qualification. Students will gain an endorsement for a course if, in a single school year, they achieve:

  • 14 or more credits at Merit or Excellence, and
  • at least 3 of these credits from externally assessed standards and 3 credits from internally assessed standards. Note, this does not apply to Physical Education, Religious Studies and level 3 Visual Arts.

University Entrance (Year 13/NCEA Level 3)

The minimum requirement for acceptance into degree-level study at any New Zealand university or polytechnic is University Entrance.

So, to gain UE you need to pass NCEA Level 3, gained at least 14 credits in 3 University Approved Subjects and have UE Literacy (Reading/Writing - 5 credits in each).

After 31 December 2021, thirteen standards will be removed from the list and fifteen standards, already on the list, will no longer count for one of either reading or writing. The list of these changes is available on the NZQA website.

New on the list from 2021

From January 2020, nineteen standards were added to the list and seven standards, currently on the list, changed to encompass a new aspect of reading or writing to generate literacy credits. The registered numbers of all assessment standards that currently contribute to UE literacy requirements are listed on the NZQA website.

Many universities and other tertiary course providers in New Zealand have specific course requirements. Merit and Excellence grades may give you a greater chance of getting into your chosen course. These requirements include specific subjects that need to be taken, portfolios of work, or an interview process.

Some courses and universities have further prerequisites that are required to gain entrance.  The University of Auckland has a higher entry requirement – in addition to University Entrance they have introduced an Academic English Language Requirement. Students must have gained the University Entrance Literacy Standard and a minimum of 17 credits in English at Level 2 and/or 3.

Some universities, such as the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, set a rank score that students must achieve in order to gain direct entry into a course.  A Ranked Score is gained from your best 80 credits in UE approved subjects at Level 3 or higher and weighted by the level of achievement. If you achieve more than 80 credits the credits achieved with the highest level of achievement will be used.

  • You can count both Achievement and Unit Standards
  • All level 3 or higher approved subjects can be counted
  • A maximum of 24 credits can be counted in a subject

Points are allocated: 4 points per Excellence, 3 points per Merit, 2 points per Achieved

New Zealand Scholarship

New Zealand Scholarship is externally assessed but it is not a qualification. It is designed to extend the very best students and to provide monetary awards to help with tertiary study. Scholarship candidates are expected to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations. The exams or portfolios cover the same knowledge, skills and concepts as Level 3 Achievement Standards, but the standard of performance is much higher. Scholarship results are released in mid February each year – due to the timing of results, Scholarship has no influence on University applications for that year.

In 2016, 3241 scholarship grades were awarded. Students receive payments ranging from $500 (for a single subject scholarship) to $30,000, paid over three years for a Premier Award (10 were awarded in 2016)

If you think you have the ability to sit Scholarship you should discuss the requirements with your Dean and teachers early in 2019. 

Course Costs

When students enrol in senior courses, they are expected to attempt to gain qualifications related to them. In some subjects, there are costs relating to materials used and/or field trips (such fees will be stated on the relevant course outlines).

Financial Assistance

There is considerable financial assistance available to parents/caregivers who:

  • Receive a Work and Income or Study Link benefit
  • Have TWO or more children undertaking these qualifications in the same year (at Years 11, 12 or 13)

·         Have a Community Services Card

·         Fulfill income-based criteria – this includes those that have a joint family income that would entitle the applicant to receive a Community Services Card, but do not already have one.

International fee paying students are not eligible for financial assistance. If you think you may be eligible to receive assistance, you should contact the college office.