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Changes make NCEA even better: College principal

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

By Dean Taylor

Te Awamutu College principal Barbara Cavanagh is a huge fan of NCEA, and says proposed changes will make it even better for our youth. She says parents, tertiary bosses and employers can rest assured the system will provide even better information to help them and young people make good choices about future directions.

Ms Cavanagh says Te Awamutu College has embraced the concept of NCEA and taken it further with its own programmes to help and encourage students to do their very best.

From this year the main change at each level is that the certificate will indicate overall achievement at Credit, Merit and Excellence levels.

Ms Cavanagh says one of the Ministry of Education rationales for the change is that it will motivate students to do better, and if that is the case it is worthwhile.

Te Awamutu College already has its own schemes to help students succeed. The school has embraced, and had nationally recognised success, the Te Kotahitanga concept, implemented its own 15+ and Attend+Complete=Achieve programmes and has an annual Excellence Evening to recognise top achievers.

Ms Cavanagh says now the official certificate will also recognise and record a level of achievement and we hope this will encourage students to try for merit or excellence in each task.

From next year the certificate will recognise Credit, Merit and Excellence achievement for each subject, a move Ms Cavanagh says will provide even more motivation for students and more information for prospective tertiary institutions and employers.

One of the criticisms is that students will try less hard when they have reached a minimum requirement. Ms Cavanagh agrees that happens, but says it is not necessarily a negative. She says at least it shows students understand the system and what is required, and for some young people it might be right for them at that time to put more effort elsewhere. But she says Te Awamutu College is committed to motivating students to do their best, so they will always be encouraging them to do better. And she believes that overall, students have been better off with the NCEA system, which she describes as fair and encouraging.

“It recognises what a young person can do, rather that what they can’t do,” she says. “Every kid deserves to be recognised for their talents.”