Society

More students test themselves in New Zealand Scholarship exams

More students are entering scholarship exams for Te Reo Māori and Te Reo Rangatira than ever before.
  • Image, piles of study material on a desk.

    In 2012, Te Reo Rangatira had a particularly strong increase, with twice as many students entering the scholarship exam as in 2011. This increase was reflected in the number of scholarships awarded – almost twice as many were awarded in 2012. Te Reo Rangatira is designed for students who grow up speaking te reo Māori, often in the home.

    The number of students studying Chinese at scholarship level also had a sizable increase, with 380 students in 2012, up from 280 in 2011. However, the subject with the largest gain in 2012 was Physical Education. In 2011, 79 students sweated it out to achieve a Physical Education Scholarship; in 2012 the number increased to 116, with twice as many achieving a top Outstanding Scholarship in 2012 (8) as in 2011 (4).

    New Zealand Scholarship explained

    New Zealand Scholarship is an assessment that provides recognition and monetary reward for top students. Usually it is year 13 students who enter scholarship assessment; most of them are also studying towards National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level 3. Each scholarship assessment has two passing grades – Scholarship and Outstanding Scholarship. Scholarship examinations assess candidates against challenging standards, and are demanding even for the most able candidates in each subject. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) manages the process.

    In 2012, Statistics and Modelling was the subject with the highest number of Outstanding Scholarships – with 63 awarded, up from 56 in 2011. However, this subject had most students (16,060 at year 13). English was the second largest with 14,944 students, and 60 of these achieved an Outstanding Scholarship.

    Latin had the smallest number of students in 2012, with only 19. Te Reo Rangatira and Sculpture were the next smallest, with 117 and 202 students, respectively. Latin had the highest percentage of awards per student (21.05 percent). Two students of Latin gained Scholarship and two achieved Outstanding Scholarship. Usually about 3 percent of students studying each subject at level 3 gain a scholarship. However, there is some variation around the 3 percent, mainly for subjects with fewer candidates.

    What scholarship students gain

    In total 2,344 students achieved a subject scholarship in 2012. All candidates awarded at least one subject scholarship gain a monetary award. The top 10 scholars receive a Premier Award of $10,000 a year for three years (although they need to maintain at least a B grade average in their tertiary studies in New Zealand). In the 2012 examinations, each Premier Award winner achieved five or more subject scholarships with at least three at outstanding level.

    Subjects covered in scholarship

    Thirty-five subjects are offered as New Zealand Scholarship subjects. The list is reviewed every two years, in consultation with the education sector. Following the 2010 review, two new subjects, Dance and Samoan, were added to the New Zealand Scholarship subject list in 2011.

    To be included, a subject needs to:

    • meet curriculum or Government goals
    • have a significant cohort at NCEA Level 3
    • enable students to exhibit the necessary cognitive abilities.

    Source: New Zealand Qualifications Authority

In 2012, Statistics and Modelling was the subject with the highest number of Outstanding Scholarships.
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