NZCSE in New Zealand
The Special Character of Rudolf Steiner schools is contained within the structure and development of the curriculum over several years, as well as the pedagogical delivery of that curriculum. All students are expected to cover all, or most, subject areas compulsorily until their final year of schooling in Class 12 (Year 13 in NZ).
A further significant aspect of the teaching is that, because Steiner education puts a priority on the relationship of the learning material to the human being, subjects are purposely set in inter-disciplinary contexts wherever possible. In addition, subject matter is taught through phenomenological or experiential methodology – that is, from observation of, and personal involvement with, phenomena leading to concept (inductive), rather than from presentation or description of the concept to confirmation of examples of that concept (deductive). The former educational approach is generally more time-consuming, when practised in institutional settings.
(A general overview of Steiner/Waldorf pedagogical principles and approaches is given on the website of the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in New Zealand under Curriculum Guidelines, on: http://www.rudolfsteinerfederation.org.nz).
The NZCSE Level 3 programme also endows graduates with aptitudes and expertise not currently covered by, for example, NCEA equivalent achievers. For example, the comprehensive 200-hour research project, which is fully referenced, formatted as a published document and formally presented viva voce to a large public audience, is a significant demonstration of self-directed, independent, responsible learning. Some students have gained entrance into competitive industries or university courses on the strength of this portfolio or project alone.
The Steiner Education Development Trust believes that readiness for university level study is more importantly a combination of an attitude of enquiry, intrinsic motivation, disciplined values, and self-directed learning skills, in addition to specific preparatory content knowledge. The Special Character of Steiner Schools concentrates, through the curriculum and cultural values of the education, on those qualities for readiness outlined above.
The New Zealand Certificate of Steiner Education (formerly called the Steiner School Certificate or SSC) programs initially gained NZQA approval in 2010. They are secondary school qualifications which are owned by the Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in New Zealand and delivered, quality-managed and developed by the Steiner Education Development Trust. SEDT accredits and contracts providers (normally schools) to deliver the programme and awards the Certificates at Levels 1, 2 and 3.
These qualifications are approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and are registered on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. This means that there is a public profile of the qualifications, which assures the users of the certificates that the qualifications meet the New Zealand Qualification Framework Levels 1, 2 and 3. During 2014 and 2015, NZQA reviewed the qualification as part of a general review of qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. As a result of this review the qualification title was changed to the New Zealand Certificates of Steiner Education from January 2017 to become similar to other qualification titles on the Framework.
The NZCSE Level 3 endorsed with University Entrance has Ad Eundem status for entry into New Zealand Universities.
The qualifications have also been devised for use in other countries or educational sectors.
A detailed and rigorous external moderation system to provide and ensure consistency and robustness to this qualification has been established and approved; it describes the requirements and processes of controlling, managing and assuring the quality of assessment against New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) levels, as well as assessment procedures, coherence and consistency between the schools.
The qualifications are necessarily based on what a teacher can see, read or hear – sometimes touch - that produces evidence of the student’s understandings, knowledge or skills in nominated areas that represent the curriculum. The assessment is objective, represents external agreed levels of achievement, and is externally checked, both before and after a task leading to formal assessment is given.