Primary school students' achievement has stalled and the gender gap at secondary school level has slightly worsened, new figures show.
The Government wants to have 85 per cent of students at or above the national standard in reading, writing and mathematics next year.
Education Minister Hekia Parata today released figures that show progress towards that target stalled in 2015.
In reading, 78 per cent of students were at or above the national standard (no change), 75.5 per cent in maths (up 0.3 per cent) and 71.4 per cent in writing (up 0.3 per cent).
There was also little progress for Maori students - who are likely to miss the 85 per cent target by a wide margin.
In reading, 68.8 per cent are at or above the standard (up 0.2 per cent). That compares to 65.4 per cent in maths (up 0.4 per cent) and 61.6 per cent in writing (up 0.4 per cent).
Progress was more promising at secondary school level, where the proportion of 18-year-olds achieving NCEA Level 2 edging up 2.1 per cent to 83.3 per cent.
The Government is now within reaching distance of its target to get 85 per cent achievement next year.
However, the long-standing gap in achievement between genders increased slightly, with 85.8 per cent of females getting NCEA Level 2 (up 2.4 per cent), compared to 81 per cent of males (up 2 per cent).
Parata said it was a significant achievement to have 51,299 18-year-olds reach the standard.
"That's around 38,000 more young people achieving the minimum qualification for success than if the achievement rate had remained at the level it was when we came into Government in 2008."
And the final results showed 71.1 per cent of Maori 18-year-olds achieved Level 2 (up 3.4 per cent), 77.6 per cent of Pasifika (up 2.6 per cent), 87.3 per cent of Pakeha (up 2.2 per cent) and 88.8 per cent of Asian students (a fall of 0.2 per cent).