NCEA results showing better achievement levels for Pacific and Maori students are accurate, Education Minister Hekia Parata says.
"We're not massaging those numbers. These young people are sitting assessments, both internal and external," she said on TVNZ's Q + A this morning.
Ms Parata made the comment in response to suggestions the improved results were partly due to a preference for many Pacific and Maori students to take vocational subjects, rather than core ones.
"The provisional results for 2013 at NCEA [level] 2, show that not only have we had a two-and-a-half per cent increase overall, but we've also had a 7 per cent lift by Pasifika students and a 4 per cent lift by Maori students," she said.
"The fact is that we've got more young people staying at school longer and doing more credits.
"We have got rid of unit standards and we now have mainly achievement standards."
Ms Parata also confirmed the National Government was not considering changing the current school zoning system.
"We haven't been looking at that. We've been looking at growing the quality of teaching and leadership within schools," she said.
Problem students who had been barred from attending their local schools, and were enrolled with the Correspondence School - Te Kura, were also going to have access to four new learning hubs around the country, she announced.
The initiative, designed by Te Kura, would receive $2.7 million in funding over the next four years.
"We want those young people who either won't go or aren't allowed to go to their local school to get a better opportunity," she said.
Selected students, who were in their first three years of high school would have access to four sites "to give them much more, both digitally based and real time, face time, with teachers," Ms Parata said on Q + A.
The four physical learning hubs would be based in South Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Christchurch and New Plymouth, she said.
Information from Ms Parata's office showed up to 80 students would be involved in the programme initially.