Whatever you do don’t mention Level 3 NCEA statistics for Maori


Education Minister Hekia Parata / PHOTO Mark Mitchell

Every Minister would like to leave a positive legacy and Education minister Hekia Parata is no exception. In her opinion piece on education, she reflects on…

…the outstanding progress being made by Maori children and young people…

In particular, Maori students have made huge strides since this Government came to office.

In 2008, less than half of all Maori teenagers were leaving our education system with NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification. Out of about 13,000 Maori students who turned 18 in 2008, just 6003 achieved the minimum qualification necessary for further education or training.

Seven years later 9476 of Maori who turned 18 achieved that vital level of qualification.

-The NZ Herald

To make the results look as good as possible Parata skillfully mixes statistics. She starts by talking about school leaver statistics and states with some accuracy that there has been an improvement in credentials and that Maori results have improved 2009 – 2015 which is great news.

However despite starting her opinion piece talking about school leavers she changes her choice of statistics to those of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 ( 71%) as they are a bit higher than school leavers.


According to the “Education Counts” site in 2015, only 61% of Maori left school with Level 2 NCEA (as opposed to approximately 45% in 2009). That is nearly a 30% achievement gap between Maori and Asian students as 90% of them left school having achieved NCEA level 2.

In 2015 83% of European students left school with level 2 NCEA which is an achievement gap of 22% between Maori and European students.
On the other hand, if you look at Level 3 NCEA for Maori student results it becomes clear why Parata focussed on level 2 NCEA results in her opinion piece.


Asian students had the highest proportion of school leavers achieving NCEA level 3 or above in 2015 with 74.9%, which was 17.7 percentage points higher than European/Pākehā at 57.2%. Pasifika students achieved 41.0% and Māori with 31.1% had the lowest proportion of school leavers achieving the standard.

There is a  43% achievement gap between Maori and Asian students for Level 3 and a 26.1% achievement gap when they are compared to European students.

There is a very good reason why Hekia Parata didn’t mention the level 3 NCEA results for Maori. They are sobering reading.

Another statistic that reflects poorly on Maori achievement is in tertiary education where the proportion of Maori declined from 2014 – 2015. Compared to Asians (61%) and Europeans (35%) Only 13% of Maori were in degree courses.

Given the disappointing TIMMS results and further decline on PISA attainment, our government should be focussed on searching for educational solutions for Maori. There is still a long, long way to go.


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