Compare IB Diploma and NCEA

Points of difference and similarities between the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the National Certificate(s) of Educational Achievement

Further information is available by contacting:




IB Diploma


Linked to the NZ Curriculum and the National Qualification Framework A curriculum linked to an over-riding philosophy of international-mindedness

Learner Qualities

Incorporates key competencies from the NZ curriculum Incorporates the Learner Profile similar to MYP and PYP programmes

Qualification (s) Gained

Achievement or unit standards accumulate for each subject to lead to NCEA Level 1, 2 & 3

A 2 year full diploma course

Levels of Entry

NCEA Level 1 starts in Year 11 The IB Diploma course starts in Year 12

Length of Course

NCEA is taken over three years to gain Levels 1, 2 & 3 The IB Diploma course is taken over 2 years

Number of Subjects

Students choose six subjects for Levels 1 & 2 and 5 subjects for Level 3 Students choose 6 subjects, plus an extended essay, a theory of knowledge course and CAS

Selection of Subjects

Students select subjects according to ability and availability Students choose from discreet categories of subjects. A second language, mother tongue & mathematics are compulsory.


Students choose their best subjects and aim for Merit or Excellence Students choose 3 subjects to offer at Higher Level (HL) and 3 at Standard Level (SL)


Recognised in NZ, Australia and in some overseas countries Recognised world-wide including NZ


Involves internal and external examinations – assessed in Year 11, 12 & 13 Involves internal (moderated) and external examinations (marked by IB) assessed only in Year 13

Place of Examination

Examined in NZ only Examined  in 2400 schools world-wide

Results Gained



Results in each module are Not Achieved, Achieved, Merit and Excellence.

Credits accumulate to earn a certificate at each level – Level 1 (80 credits), Level 2 (60 credits), Level 3 (80 credits)

Each subject is marked out of 7, plus 3 points for CAS, TOK and the extended essay, to make a total of 45. A pass is 24 points.


Overall Course Construction

Designed for every student in New Zealand whatever their future pathway.

Specifically designed to develop the critical thinking skills required for university study with special attention to the concept of international- mindedness.