Curriculum and assessment changes

It is critical our education system continues to evolve and remains focussed on delivering equitable and excellent outcomes.  

A five-year programme to refresh The New Zealand Curriculum and redesign Te Marautanga o Aotearoa is underway, aimed at ensuring all ākonga experience rich and responsive learning.

At the same time, changes are also taking place - or have been proposed - for early learning and NCEA.

An integral part of the Government’s agreed response to the independent review of Tomorrow’s Schools(external link), and implementation of the Early Learning Action Plan, we are engaging, partnering and consulting with the education sector, whānau, communities, and ākonga in doing this work.

All of these changes will honour our past, and our obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Supporting quality, equity and choice in Early Learning

Curriculum and assessment actions are included in the He taonga te tamaiti – Every child a taonga: Early learning action plan 2019-2029 [PDF, 3.2 MB](external link).

  • Develop a sustained and planned approach to professional learning and development with a focus on local curriculum and pedagogical leadership.
  • Gazette the curriculum framework, Te Whāriki – to support engagement with the principles, strands, goals and outcomes when designing local curricula. Public consultation on gazetting the full framework of Te Whāriki, including a te ao Māori interpretation of the framework has been completed and highlighted overall sector support. We intend to gazette the full framework of Te Whāriki in early 2023 and complete implementation in early 2024.
  • Co-construct a range of valid, reliable, culturally and linguistically appropriate tools to support formative assessment and teaching proactive. Kōwhiti Whakapae is being developed as an evidence-based resource to help kaiako notice, recognise and respond to children’s progress over-time within the framework of Te Whāriki. It will focus on three specific areas of learning - social-emotional learning, oral language and literacy, and maths.

Refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum

We’re refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum over the next four years so that it honours our obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, is inclusive, clear about the learning that matters for our ākonga, and is easy to use from year 1 to year 13.

Central to the refresh of The New Zealand Curriculum will be a Te Tiriti-Honouring and Inclusive Curriculum Framework, and an Understand, Know, Do Progressions Model. The refresh of The New Zealand Curriculum is designed so that schools, kura, whānau and communities are better supported to do what they do best: create rich and responsive learning that helps every ākonga realise their goals and aspirations.

The new Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories content(external link) needs to be taught from the beginning of 2023, but schools will have until the beginning of 2026 to work towards implementation of the rest of the refreshed curriculum.

Curriculum Refresh – Ministry of Education(external link)

Redesign of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

We are redesigning Te Marautanga o Aotearoa based on the conceptual framework Te Tamaiti Hei Raukura, to reflect a more indigenous curriculum that is consistent with the philosophy and principles of kaupapa Māori education and Māori medium education, the aspirations of whānau, hapū and iwi, and the central position of Māori language and culture.

The redesigned curriculum will shift the current curriculum structure toward a more holistic and ākonga centred pedagogy and prepare ākonga for their future by developing the skills and capabilities they need to thrive in their ever-changing world.

The new Te Takanga o Te Wā(external link) content needs to be taught from the beginning of 2023. The redesigned Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will be available for kura to use from 2025, for full implementation in 2026.

As well as the redesign of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, we:

Te Whakahou i Te Marautanga o Aotearoa | Kauwhata Reo(external link)

NCEA Change Programme

We are in the process of strengthening NCEA by making a series of changes to improve well-being, equity, coherence, pathways and credibility.

There are seven changes that will be delivered through the NCEA Change Programme and their implementation will be the most significant reform of NCEA since the qualification was introduced in 2002.

  • Make NCEA more accessible. 
  • Equal status for mātauranga Māori.
  • Strengthen literacy and numeracy requirements and assessments. 
  • Fewer, larger standards.
  • Simplify NCEA's structure. 
  • Clearer pathways to further education or work. 
  • Keep NCEA Level 1 optional.

The changes are scheduled to be phased in over the next three years, with new achievement standards at Levels 1, 2 and 3 in place by January 2026.

Programme timelines and engagement opportunities

An interactive website tool shows the key milestones for curriculum and assessment changes and programmes (up until 2026 for some activity), across early learning and schooling.

They show:

  • opportunities for engagement, including a school term view
  • the scale of changes and support available to make them successful
  • collaboration with sector working groups
  • how the curriculum refresh and redesign align with NCEA changes
  • how the changes to NCEA work with the Review of Vocational Education (RoVE).

Curriculum and Assessment Programme Timelines – Ministry of Education(external link)

Support and resources

There is an ongoing range of resources and materials to support teachers, kaiako, whānau and ākonga being made available nationally and locally.

Te Whāriki Online(external link) 
Homepage - Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI)(external link)
Kia māhorahora te reo Māori – Kauwhata Reo(external link)
Support for Schools, Leaders and Teachers – Curriculum Refresh(external link)
NCEA – Education(external link)

Regionally based Curriculum Leads will support leaders, teachers, and kaiako with the changes, including the design of marau ā-kura and local curriculum for early learning services, schools and kura.

Meet the Curriculum Leads

Since 2020, new priorities for regionally-allocated professional learning and development (PLD) were implemented to support teachers and kaiako to provide responsive and rich learning experiences in early learning, schools and kura.

PLD priorities – Professional Learning & Development – Education(external link)
Professional development in early learning

Strengthened Networks of Expertise also provide vital support for teachers and kaiako. Collaborative inquiry is one of the most powerful ways to influence change and practices that best support teaching and learning. Positive change can come about for individual learners, their communities and at a system level.

Networks of Expertise – PLD Education(external link)

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