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Ten years on NCEA still confuses

Published: 6:12PM Sunday May 29, 2011 Source: ONE News

Auckland University has released a book to explain the NCEA education system nearly a decade since we first began using it.

Although the NCEA is nearly ten years through since its inception, confusion still reigns and people are still struggling to understand the system.

Liz McKinley an associate professor of Auckland University says the book is aimed at parents because they find it the hardest to understand the different grading systems within NCEA.

"It's really important that parents come to grips with NCEA, because it's really important for parents to talk to their children about their subject courses," she told ONE News.

She said that right from the outset, parents have not been well equipped to understand the complicated system.

"We've done a lot of research that suggests parents, students and even teachers could actually understand NCEA a little better.

"I think it is a bit of a problem that we haven't given enough information to parents."

McKinley said the reason many parents do struggle is because the NCEA system is different to anything they have experienced in their own education.

"It's a lot different to what parents experience themselves, in particular the array of choices&while it is flexible, it is very complex," she said.

Angela Bruce, mother of a Year 11 student, admits she has struggled with the whole NCEA concept.

"It's just so hard to understand, with all the credits and different marks, I really struggle to figure it all out," she told ONE News.

Bruce is not the first to plead confusion and it is not surprising why. Between achievement standards, unit standards, levels within each standard, the system has certainly had its opposers.

Patrick Walsh of the Secondary Principals Association admits NCEA is complicated and blames the qualifications authority.

"From the school sector I think that we're doing as much as we can. One thing that we probably would like to see is NZQA taking a lead role in explaining this to employers and parents. And perhaps putting more money into a marketing budget.

However NZQA are quick to back their system and said there is enough NCEA education out there.

"We produce a huge amount of hard copy material&we have DVDs, we have our website. So there's a lot going on," said Bali Haque of NZQA.

Parents ONE News have spoken to admit the NCEA system provides more choices for their children, but as Bruce points out it would be great to get some education on New Zealand's nearly decade old system.

Do you understand NCEA? Have your say on the messageboard below.

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