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On this page you will find assessment resources to support internally assessed Level 1, and Level 2, registered achievement standards for psychology aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (2007). Level 3 achievement standards and assessment resources will be developed in 2017.


The Ministry of Education is developing the Psychology achievement standards for Social Sciences Learning Area in The New Zealand Curriculum. The scope of this project includes levels 1-3 achievement standards, assessment resources and updating the Teaching and Learning Guide. The level 3 achievement standards will be developed in 2017.

Psychology has been taught in New Zealand schools in some form since 1986 and is part of the Social Sciences learning area in The New Zealand Curriculum. It has identified key concepts and learning outcomes that align with Social Sciences. Psychology builds capabilities for living and lifelong learning and has strong links to the key competencies in The New Zealand Curriculum. The Ministry of Education is working in partnership with the New Zealand Association of Psychology Teachers (NZAPT) to support this development.

Currently learning outcomes in Psychology are assessed by unit standards offered at NCEA levels 1-3. The existing unit standards will be expired with a 12 month changeover period to allow schools to transition to the achievement standards. Exclusions will apply where there is a duplication of the learning outcome.

Sector consultation

June 2016, schools and interested parties were invited to provide feedback on the draft Psychology levels 1-2 achievement standards and levels 1-3 draft matrix for Psychology for The New Zealand Curriculum

The sector consultation report is available below. 

Draft documentation

The Psychology body of knowledge is outlined in more details here

Note: once the standards have been finalised aspects of this guide will be updated as required to better align with the learning outcomes being assessed via the achievement standards.

It is not expected that an individual teaching and learning programme would have to be assessed using all 21 credits.  However, once teachers have designed a programme of study that suits school and learner needs they can select standards from the matrix to assess outcomes from that programme.

The draft Psychology matrix has five internally assessed standards and no externally assessed standards at levels 1-2 with an externally assessed standard proposed at level 3. Consideration was given to the most appropriate mode of assessment for the learning outcomes being assessed in each standard.  

Note that 1 credit represents 10 notional teaching, learning and assessment hours, which gives an indication of the time needed for that section of the programme assessed by the standard.

Sector Consultation Report - September 2016

PDF icon. Psychology AS Development_Sept 2016 sector consultation report (PDF, 111 KB)

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact enquiries.national@education.govt.nz

Development Timeline

2016 Consultation on the draft matrix and achievement standards with schools and interested parties
Consultation feedback considered and as appropriate, updates/tweaks/changes to draft matrix/standards
Trialling of draft achievement standards at levels 1 and 2
2017 NCEA levels 1 and 2 standards and resource materials available for use in schools.
NCEA level 3 standards and resource materials in development and trialling
2018 NCEA level 3 standards and resource materials available for use in schools.

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