Certificate of Steiner Education
What is the Certificate of Steiner Education?
- The first trans-national qualification to be fully based on the Steiner educational curriculum.
- A valid, alternative secondary school qualification that allows students to progress to further/higher education.
The Certificate of Steiner Education (NZCSE) is a broad spectrum qualification, with opportunities to specialise in areas of interest. It is more similar to the International Baccalaureate than A Levels.
The NZCSE is 3 year course of 3 Levels, which students take in our Upper School in Classes 10, 11 and 12 (or 13), ages 16 to 18 (19), in a Steiner School licensed to offer it.
All pupils have to study and participate in the whole curriculum, although they can choose a higher level of assessment in the topics they have the greatest interest in. Therefore each pupil is not only able to emerge with a certificate which reflects their personal strengths, but can keep developing their skills and achievements in a range of areas – something that cannot happen when a student is asked to specialise too early with 3 A Levels.
Graduates of the Certificate at Level 3 will have a comprehensive foundation for leaving school as independent life-long learners who are able to be self-reflective and take initiative when required. They will typically have openness and connectedness to the world and its peoples, will demonstrate tolerance and respect for others, and have a curiosity about all aspects of life.
As part of their studies, graduates have undertaken a year-long independent study which will have demonstrated the ability to plan, organise, research, produce, write and present their findings to meet a high level of public and educational expectation. Graduates will have demonstrated the ability to problem-solve and apply learning across a broad range of contexts. They take action to follow things through to their conclusion.
Graduates will have persisted in a very broad range of activities and subject matter, have sensitivity to independent, alternative or creative views of the world, and have developed a strong sense of personal responsibility and ambition.
Where they have pursued their chosen (elective) courses, they will have achieved those at an equivalent level to other secondary school qualifications, and, if they have achieved the Certificate at Highly Commended or Distinction, will be well-prepared to continue higher level study in the relevant subject areas.
The Certificate Level 3 programme also endows graduates with aptitudes and expertise not currently covered by, for example, GCSEs and A Levels achievers. For example, the comprehensive 200-hour research project, which can be a fully referenced, formatted, published document and formally presented viva voce to a large public audience, is a significant demonstration of self-directed, independent, responsible learning. The strength of this portfolio or project give can give students a unique and distinctive edge in gaining access to competitive industries or university courses.
How is it Assessed?
The Certificate has a rigorous and detailed external moderation system, providing high standards of quality assurance. The achievements of pupils are compared to a catalogue for each level of broadly described learning outcomes. All assessments are designed within each school to reflect their learning program and context and student outcomes are then moderated for comparable quality through the NZCSE’s external system.
Assessments take a variety of forms including essays, oral presentations, performances, portfolios, products, reports and tests, and take place throughout the three years. There is an option at Level 3 for some externally assessed, exam-type testing.
What about Grades? How do they compare to A Levels?
Each assessed Learning Outcome is given a grade of ‘Achieved’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Excellence’.
The NZCSE Level 3 is endorsed as ‘Highly Commended’ when the student has gained 35 SSC points or more at Merit or Excellence
The NZCSE Level 3 is endorsed ‘With Distinction’ when the student has gained 35 SSC points or more at Excellence
The NZCSE Certificate Report therefore gives Universities a very detailed breakdown of the skills, achievements and competencies which they can compare to UK qualifications including A Levels.
For example students graduating with Level 3 of the NZCSE in summer 2016 achieved entrance to the following courses which have typical offers of A Level grades AAB:
- Computer Science (Information Security) at Royal Holloway, University of London. 3 Years, Full-time, BSc, Course code G407 – Typical offer is A Levels grades AAB – ABB (with Computing, Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry at grade B)
- History of Art with a year in Australasia or North America, University of East Anglia (UEA) 4 Years (as one year abroad), Full-time, BA (Hons) Course code V354 – Typical offer A Levels grades AAB