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How Does A Student Gain Level 3 NCEA Qualification?

A student must gain 80 credits, 60 of these must be from Level 3. The other 20 credits can come from Level 2, even if they were used to gain a Level 2 qualification. A student can obtain NCEA Level 3 with Merit or Excellence endorsements. A Merit endorsement requires 50 Level 3 credits at Merit or Excellence. An Excellence endorsement requires 50 Level 3 credits at Excellence.

Students can gain Course Endorsement in individual courses.  Excellence Endorsement for a course requires 14 credits at Excellence Level in a particular course.  Students who gain 14 credits at Merit Level (or Merit and Excellence) will gain a Merit Course Endorsement.  The total 14 credits in either Endorsement must include at least 3 internal and 3 external credits (except for Physical Education courses which are only assessed internally). Course Endorsement must be obtained within an academic year.

Both Level 3 Achievement Standards and Unit Standards offer credits that count towards a student’s NCEA Level 3 qualification.  Only Achievement Standards are able to count towards endorsement as they offer Merit and Excellence grades.

General information about assessment procedures will be available near the start of the year in the Assessment Booklet. Specific details of assessments in each course will be given to students by their teachers.


University Entrance and Scholarships

The University Entrance is gained by:

-   Attaining NCEA Level 3.

-   Achieving 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three subjects from the list of approved subjects.

-    Achieving UE numeracy – 10 credits at Level 1 and above from specific Achievement standards, or three specific numeracy unit standards.

-    Achieving UE literacy – 10 credits (5 in reading and 5 in writing) at Level 2 and above from specific standards.

 - Students should check the additional requirements for the degree courses they intend to enrol in, as entry requirements can often be beyond University Entrance, especially for limited entry courses.

 -  International students need to check additional University Entry requirements.



In general, the content assessed for Scholarship will be similar as that covered for Level 3 Achievement Standards. It is expected that Scholarship candidates will have obtained NCEA Level 2 Excellence endorsement, Level 2 Excellence Course Endorsement in the scholarship subject area and be completing a full year of Level 3 studies at school. All assessments will be external.  There are no NCEA credits related to Scholarship.  For further details, refer to the Scholarship section of the NZQA website.


University Study

Students who have gained exceptional results in Level 2 NCEA may study a range of courses at the University of Canterbury while remaining at Lincoln High School, and may be funded through the STAR programme at the school’s discretion.  It is recommended that students study towards Scholarship ahead of studying a University course.

Students must have met the University Entrance Literacy and Numeracy requirements and are expected to have gained Level 2 Excellence Endorsement. Some courses require special entry permission. For further information, see Mrs Bamford (HOD Careers & Pathways).

 For more generic NCEA Level 3 details please click here


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