Rotorua school principals are positive about proposed changes to NCEA that will halve the number of credits required and change how they are achieved.
A discussion document on reforming the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) proposes Level 1 requirements should be halved from 80 credits to 40, and have just internally assessed tests.
For NCEA Levels 2 and 3, 20 out of the 80 credits required for each year will be earned from a trades course, a research project or community action project.
Rotorua Girls' High School principal Ally Gibbons was supportive of the proposed changes but said consultation was important.
"I am pleased that the 'high stakes assessment' is being reduced, as students should take educational risks to learn," she said.
"The tightening up of literacy and numeracy is positive, but the journey does not begin at Year 11 — it is from Years 9 to 11."
The school already delivered pathway skills courses but she expressed concerns about the introduction of credits from them.
"Does our community have the infrastructure, resources and capacity to meet this requirement for all of our students?"
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said he was pleased the review would address the pressure placed on assessments.
"I think the focus on literacy and numeracy is appropriate at Level 1 because we are seeing declining standards in both, and they are critical," Walsh said.
"The project is exciting. In the past we focused on academic skills but there are a whole bunch of soft skills employers say students are missing out on."
But Walsh said he was also worried about how the changes would be funded.
"It would require a high level of collaboration so we'd need a high level of professional development."
"This is one of the most substantial and important reviews the Government has initiated. It's going to have a long-lasting effect."
Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter urged the development of better literacy and numeracy.
"Reducing assessment is a positive but at the same time, for our boys, NCEA and how it operates at Level 1 is not all bad."
Grinter said he wasn't convinced reducing the number of credits at Level 1 was necessary.
"It is important that Level 1 does not start to look very much the same as Year 10. Our boys like the chunking [type of learning strategy] that NCEA encourages and the opportunity to monitor progress throughout the year."
Education Minister Chris Hipkins will take the proposals to Cabinet in February. The Government is encouraging people to give feedback on the proposals at a series of workshops around the country.
The Rotorua workshop is on June 27, 6pm to 8.30pm at John Paul College. To attend visit conversation.education.govt.nz/events.
1. Reduce NCEA Level 1 to 40 internally-assessed credits with literacy and numeracy, and a project "driven by learners' passions".
2. Tighten literacy and numeracy requirements, look at broadening the definition of "literacy" to include "digital, financial or civic literacy".
3. Require at least 20 out of the 80 credits needed for both Levels 2 and 3 to come from "pathways".
4. Reduce the huge number of small chunks of learning to a smaller number of larger chunks.
5. Redesign the NZQA's record of each student's achievement to include extracurricular activities, in a format like a curriculum vitae.
6. Scrap NCEA and scholarship fees and extend special assessment conditions to reduce barriers to passing NCEA.