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The purpose of this statement is to provide members with NZCETA policy on economics in secondary schools. It can be used to:

  • Provide input to the development of an individual school’s policy statement;
  • Provide information to be used in curriculum co-ordination exercises;
  • Develop an individual school’s prospectus and curriculum programmes;
  • Provide information for use with students, parents and the wider school community.

Economics examines the choices people make about the use of limited resources to satisfy unlimited wants. Economists are interested in the factors that influence the well-being of people and aim to find solutions to improve people's standard of living.

A study of economics enables students to participate effectively in economic activity and contribute to their future economic well-being.  Economics issues highlight the fundamental interdependence between New Zealand and the rest of the world.

Links with the New Zealand Curriculum
Economics programmes will address the New Zealand Curriculum requirements relating to the Principles, Values, and Key Competencies, as well as the individual school’s Mission Statement and Strategic Goals.

Economics contributes to the Learning Area of Social Sciences in that it enables students to understand economic processes such as how people produce, exchange and use goods and services.  They will also gain an understanding of economic activities which are important to New Zealand as economic students will explore:

  • issues of sustainability (efficient use of scarce resources)
  • enterprise (identifying profit-maximising levels of output)
  • globalisation (the benefits of international trade).
  • social welfare (income distribution)

The following key competencies as identified in the New Zealand Curriculum can be developed through a study of economics: thinking (eg. problem-solving skills and decision - making skills), using language, symbols and texts (eg. using economic models and statistics to aid analysis), relating to others (eg. recognising Individuals and groups have different values or perspectives which influence the economic choices they make), managing self (eg students set SMART goals for their level of achievement in economics) and participating and contributing (eg group simulations showing how division of labour and specialisation increase productivity)

Economics will also help students to clarify and develop their own values and beliefs and to respect and be tolerant of the values and beliefs of others.

Entry Points
At Years 9 and 10 schools offer a variety of programmes to enable students to achieve an understanding of the economics world they live in.  Economics is offered as a specialist subject at Years 11, 12 and 13.


The front end of the New Zealand Curriculum identifies the principles that underpin the design of any economics program. It also outlines values that to be encouraged, modelled, and explored as well as key competencies that students need to develop living and lifelong learning.

To read more about the Principles visit the following website NZCurriculum - Principles
To read more about the Values visit the following website NZCurriculum - Values
To read more about the key Competencies visit the following website NZCurriculum - Key Competencies

The New Zealand Curriculum also identifies specific achievement objectives for the teaching of Economics at levels 6, 7 and 8. At levels 4 and 5 the achievement objectives from Social sciences identify the general understanding that students should gain.
To read more about the achievement objectives visit the following website NZCurriculum - Social Science Achievement Objectives

This online document includes the advice to teachers about programme design and effective teaching pedagogies and links to other sources of information. It also has a useful section that expands the achievement objectives at each of levels 6 and 7 using key concept indicators that give examples of the behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level.

To view the level 6 key concept indicator use this link Economics T+L guide - Key Concept indicators level 6
Teachers should note that to view the full list of indicators teacher must first select a key concept

To view the level 7 key concept indicator click here.
Teachers should note that to view the full list of indicators teacher must first select a key concept

Possible contexts for learning, appropriate to each achievement objective, can also be found but it is recommended that teachers choose a context(s) that are relevant to their students’ interests and needs.

To view the level 6 context elaborations use this link Economics T+L guide - Context elaborations level 6
The context elaboration can be found by selecting a key concept

To view the level 7 context elaborations use this link (this link will be activated when version 3 of the Eco T+L guide is published)
Teachers should note that at level 7 a single context is provide, as an example, to show how a years work can be built around a single context.

General information about programme design can also be found by using this link Economics programme design - Levels 6,7 and 8

CETA provides a range of resources, both for learning and assessment that are aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum. A catalogue that gives the full list of the resources can be found on the CETA homepage.

The economics assessment matrix outlines the Achievement Standards available for assessment at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 (Levels 6, 7 and 8 of the New Zealand Curriculum). Use the following the link to the Economics Matrix: Economics (assessment) Matrix

A summary of the 2012 matrix is provided below:

Level One: 24 credits available – 12 external credits and 12 internal credits (aligned standards)
Level Two: 30 credits available – 12 external credits and 18 internal credits (aligned standards)
Level Three: 24 credits available – 19 external credits and 5 internal credits (aligned standards not available until 2013)
Note at level 2 unit standards can also be used for assessment until 2012 and at level 3 until 2013

External Achievement Standards
The following documents are all available on the NZQA Economics subject resource web page. Use the following link, Economic Subject Resources
Note scroll down the page to view the resources for externally assessed standards

Assessment Specifications – these are published in March of every year and they detail any specific details about that year’s external examination.

Past Exam Papers –past NZQA examination papers along with assessment schedules (answers).

Examiner’s Reports – every year the examiner writes a report about the previous year’s examination. These are available in March/April of the year following the examination. These are known as assessment reports on the NZQA website.

Exemplars – Sample examination papers for new standards.

Internal Achievement Standards

The following documents can all be accessed using the NZQA Economics subject resource web page. Use the following link, Economic Subject Resources

TKI exemplars – these are examples of internal assessments that are designed to be used in class after adapting them specifically for your school. New exemplars are written for new standards. Use the New TKI exemplars link

National Moderator’s Report – every year the national moderator in Economics writes a report on the previous year’s internal assessment. This is available March/ April on the NZQA website. Use the National Moderator's Report link

National Moderator’s Newsletters – every term during the year the national moderator in Economics publishes a newsletter that details specific information on current internal assessment issues. Use the National Moderator’s Newsletters link

Best Practice Workshops – the national moderator runs workshops around New Zealand covering the internal assessment in Economics, dates and venues of these workshops are detailed on the NZQA website. Use the Best Practice Workshops link

Conditions of assessment – for internally assessed standard a conditions of assessment document is prepared for each of levels 1, 2 and 3, that gives additional general and achievement standard specific information . Use the Conditions of assessment link

NZQA has prepared a document set the rules for further assessment opportunities that a school can offer. This document can be read using the following link Further assessment opportunities

The performance standard for Scholarship, previous examination papers, schedules, examples of student work and the current assessment specification are all available on the Scholarship Use the following link to access thisinformation: Scholarship economics material

Note this information can also be accessed using the Scholarship link on NZQA economics subject webpage