Rescuing NCEA: Some Possible Ways Forward

  • Warwick Elley
  • Cedric Hall
  • Reg Marsh


This article examines the issue of “variability” that resulted in widespread media criticisms of the 2004 Scholarship examinations in New Zealand. The authors argue that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and the Ministry of Education have taken an ideological position on the use of standards-based assessment, ignoring the evidence both from the literature and from international experience that recognises the immense difficulties in implementing a “pure” form of standards-based assessment. The article questions the capacity of NZQA to administer the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), given the outcomes of the 2002-2004 period of implementation. It concludes by recommending 13 key changes or developments that are needed to redress the problems currently plaguing NCEA and Scholarship.


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Author Biographies

Warwick Elley
Cedric Hall
Reg Marsh
How to Cite
ELLEY, Warwick; HALL, Cedric; MARSH, Reg. Rescuing NCEA: Some Possible Ways Forward. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 14, july 2004. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 28 oct. 2020. doi:


Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability