Christian Secondary school - ACE Qualifications

Why ACE?

In September 2003, after having offered NCEA Level 1 for almost two years, the decision was made by the Board of Trustees in consultation with staff, to cease offering NCEA, and to adopt the A.C.E programme for the senior high school (Years 11 and above). Our reasons for choosing this system in preference to others include:

  • Biblical World View
  • Fits within the vision for Christian Education at Tyndale Park Christian School
  • Ability to integrate with existing school curriculum
  • Acceptance of the programme by the Vice Chancellor's Committee (University matriculation), which means that the qualifications gained in this programme will be recognized for entrance to NZ Universities.

An Explanation of the ACE Programme

  • Accelerated Christian Education is a complete package of individualised curriculum material, covering all grade levels from Preschool through Year 13 and beyond.
  • Since 1977 the ACE curriculum has been successfully studied by thousands of students in NZ, and today, it is used by many thousands of Christian Schools and Home Educators throughout the world.
  • The ACE curriculum was developed from an international perspective in order that it could be used throughout the world. National units are included in Maths and Social Studies, and at high school level, students are able to choose from over thirty elective courses.
  • Each subject is presented in a series of self-instructional workbooks, called PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education), progressively graduated so that new concepts and truths build upon previously mastered ones - mastery learning. Some courses employ videos sessions to enhance the learning process whilst others are supplemented with computer software programmes.
  • A student will normally complete twelve PACEs in five or more subjects a year; each group of twelve high school level PACEs being counted as 1 credit towards an ACE certificate. In general, twelve completed PACEs in any particular subject represent one year's work.
  • The standard required to demonstrate mastery is high, with a minimum pass mark of 80% in each PACE test (90% for Word Building) required before a student is permitted to proceed to the next unit of work.

The New Zealand ACE Academic Certificates

Accelerated Christian Education offers several high school qualifications based on students gaining credits for work completed at various achievement levels using the ACE curriculum. A limited number of credits for non-ACE courses may also be accepted, as are credits for prior learning, particularly where a student has started in the ACE programme later than Year 9.

ACE Certificates are available to students throughout the world, with the following currently available to students in New Zealand:

  • Certificate of Achievement
  • Certificate of Academic Achievement NZ Level 1: 17 credits
  • Certificate of Academic Achievement NZ Level 2: 23 credits
  • Certificate of Academic Achievement NZ Level 3: 29 credits
  • Certificate of Academic Achievement NZ Level 3 with Honours: 29 credits

Description of the ACE Certificates

There are five ACE Certificates available to students in NZ, with the ACE Level 2 and Level 3 Certificates enjoying formal recognition by the NZ Vice Chancellors' Committee.

Apart from the Certificate of Achievement, the remaining three certificates are all built on the requirements for the NZ Level1 Academic Certificate requiring 17 credits.

The Level 1 Certificate is therefore foundational for the NZ Level 2 and NZ Level 3 Academic Certificates. Once the NZ Level 1 Certificate has been completed, six more credits must be added to gain a NZ ACE Level 2 Academic Certificate, and a further six more credits at the appropriate level for the NZ Level 3 Academic Certificate.

Achieving the Level 1 would normally take three years for an average student, but students who are motivated and academically well disciplined, may complete the requirements in less time.

The Level 2 and Level 3 Certificates take approximately a further year of study each, making the Level 2 a four-year course and the Level 3 a five-year course of study.

There are some conditions set down for each step:

Certificate of Achievement

The ACE Certificate of Achievement is simply a record of work completed and caters for students who may not qualify for an Academic Certificate. Unlike the Academic Certificates, the Certificates of Achievement are not so specific in their requirements, in terms of ACE content and academic level but students must complete a minimum of 5 credits above 1085.

NZ Level 1 Certificate of Academic Achievement (17 credits)

Students who have gained this certificate have demonstrated their ability to achieve Year 11 (ie 5th form work) in various core subjects. It is expected that students who have gained this certificate would have the ability to perform at the same level as students who have achieved the NCEA Level 1 standard, in most core subjects.

NZ Level 2 Certificate of Academic Achievement (23 credits)

Students achieving this certificate will have added 6 more credits to their Year 11 Certificate. At least 3 of these credits must be at Year 12 level. The Academic Officer of the NZ Vice-Chancellor's Committee states:

“I am happy to advise you that this (ACE) has already been assessed by the NZVCC and a student achieving a Level 2 Certificate is eligible to be considered for provisional entrance by a NZ university.”

NZ Level 3 Certificate of Academic Achievement (29 credits)

Students with this certificate will have added 6 more credits to their Level 2 Certificate. At least 4 of these credits must be in subjects designated Year 13 (7th form) level. The NZVCC Committee states:

“students who have obtained the ACE Level 3 Certificate of Academic Achievement, including 4 subjects designated Year 13/seventh form level, may be granted admission ad eundem statum at entrance level.”

NZ Level3 Certificate of Academic Achievement With Honours

Students who achieve a Level 3 Academic Certificate with 5 subjects at the Year 13 Level, with a PACE test score of at least 93% in each of those 5 subjects, will be awarded this certificate with Honours. The ACE Academic Council of NZ considers this to be at least at an A Bursary level.

Protecting the Integrity of the ACE Certificates

The ACE Certificates are regarded very highly by the NZ Vice Chancellor's Committee. The Vice Chancellor's Committee's acceptance of these certificates is based on the integrity of the ACE programme.

The New Zealand Academic Council has worked hard, and at considerable expense, to promote these certificates and provide parents with a viable and credible alternative to the NZQA qualifications.

In order to protect the integrity of the ACE Certificates it is a requirement for students to complete the certificates under the supervision and monitoring of a recognized ACE service provider. This could be a school or home education service provider.

Certificate Flexibility

Whilst we wish to make the requirements for our higher certificates more flexible, it is vital that their integrity be maintained. A certain degree of flexibility is possible for students who wish to choose courses at a higher level that suit their particular career choice. This may be at the expense of core subjects at the more advanced levels.

Whilst it is true that a student may gain a NZ Level 2 or 3 certificate without some of the higher-level core subjects, it is a fact that institutes of higher learning look more favourably on certificates that have a preponderance of core subjects at the higher levels ie English, Maths, Science and Social Science. The Academic Council still recommends that students complete as many of the higher-level core subjects as possible.

How Credits Are Gained

Credits may be earned in three ways:

  1. Through completion of ACE courses at or above PACE 1085 (NZ Year 9 level). One credit is gained when a student completes 12 PACEs (one year's work) passed at or above the minimum pass mark of 80% (90% in Word Building). It is assumed that students will follow the recommended ACE procedures when completing PACE work and tests.
  2. Through completion of approved non-ACE courses. Credits may also be awarded for non-ACE courses, which may be either:
    • approved local school courses or
    • courses of other approved institutions where certain criteria are met.

    One credit is awarded for completion of a course that entails at least 120 hours work (60 hours for half a credit may also be considered) and which has appropriate documentation to show:

    • the content and scope of the course
    • a credible and reputable form of assessment
    • that the material is consistent with a Biblical world view

    Credits may also be given for work successfully completed in another institution, approved by the Academic Council, such as a registered school, New Zealand correspondence course, approved music or drama examining authority or a polytechnic course.

    The Approved Courses Supplement has a list of courses that have already been approved by the Academic Council.

  3. Cross credits for prior learning.

    Students who start on the ACE Programme later than Year 9 may gain credits for prior learning if they are able to successfully complete ACE courses at Year 10 level, or above.


p 09 274 9771   e   a 206 Murphys Road, Flat Bush, Auckland 2019