A young web designer and his former teacher have shot to the top of the class with an education app so popular it's gaining 1000 downloads a week.
NCEA Pal, designed by Wasim Talim of Victoria University and Marton teacher Jeff King, helps secondary students to track their achievements through the system and manage their progress.
It has pipped official apps - it's already at least five times more popular than the government's Occupation Outlook app launched last month - and has beaten the New Zealand Qualifications Authority app due this year.
NCEA Pal helps learners to monitor how many credits they have, how many they need to pass, and what their marks are.
"As soon as students use this, they can take control of their learning," said Mr Talim, 25.
"A lot of students don't understand how the system works, or find it overwhelming. And also, students are lazy. But this makes it easy to understand their NCEA."
An updated version due this month will add a diary and a timetable and also help to guide students towards suitable careers, after the developers linked with the Ministry of Education's Vocational Pathways scheme - a programme aimed at the 70 per cent of school-leavers who do not go on to university.
The pair hope it will help highly academic students and those who want to go into industry or trades.
"At the moment, there's a disconnection between what students need and what the ministry thinks they need in terms of career guidance," Mr Talim said.
"It's basically, go to university or figure it out yourself."
Jeff King, deputy principal at Rangitikei College and Mr Talim's former teacher, knows the app is useful because he's tested it on his own students.
"Because I work in the industry I can talk to students about the way they use it and get good feedback from them."
One of his students, Taami Wright, 15, said he liked the app because it worked much faster than waiting for the official NZQA website to update.
"It's simple enough to use but it's not simple in what it does," he says.
"It's good to know how many credits you have, then you know how many you need for exams or how many to get an endorsement."
The NCEA Pal app has about 30,000 downloads, and is increasing at a rate of 1000 a week.
Using NCEA Pal
• Download for Apple or Android devices
• Add your marks as you get them
• Keep track of your assessments
• Tally credits within subjects
• Check your overall progress and grades