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 course level.

Certificate endorsement

For an NCEA certificate to be endorsed with Excellence a student must gain 50 credits at Excellence at the level of the certificate or above. So, if a student has 50 Level 1 credits at Excellence they may have their Level 1 certificate endorsed with Excellence. Likewise, if a student gains 50 credits at Merit (or Merit and Excellence) at Level 1 their NCEA  Level 1 certificate may be endorsed with Merit. Endorsement awards show on the Record of Achievement.

Certificate endorsement is calculated in January each year on the release of external results. Only the highest level certificate awarded can be endorsed unless students:

  • achieve more than one level NCEA certificate in a single year e.g. a Year 11 student doing multi-level study may achieve both a Level 1 and a Level 2 certificate in the one year and have them endorsed
  • in addition to meeting the requirements of a higher level certificate endorsement they have achieved sufficient credits from a lower level to be able to endorse the lower level certificate e.g. a student may be working at both Levels 2 and 3 and achieve enough Level 2 Excellence credits to upgrade their Level 2 Merit endorsement to Excellence. The student will need to contact NZQA to have the lower level certificate upgraded.

For detail, please refer to Section 8.1 Award of Certificates.

Course endorsement

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Course endorsements

Course endorsement provides recognition for a student who has performed exceptionally well in an individual course. 

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.

A course endorsement is not a qualification.

A course endorsement can be awarded even if a qualification for that level is not achieved. For example, a student may achieve a Merit endorsement for their Level 2 Mathematics course regardless of whether they achieve NCEA Level 2. Scenarios may assist with further understanding.

For more information how course endorsement works, see the Course Endorsement Guide.

For the Rules on course endorsement, see Section 8.1 Rules and Procedures.