AbstractThe National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) will enter the first year of implementation for Year 11 students in 2002. A number of educators have raised concerns in relation to the NCEA in respect of such issues as validity, reliability, moderation, the lack of uniformity in respect of re-testing policy and manageability. This article argues that attention also needs to be directed at ways in which the NCEA constructs curriculum, assessment and pedagogical practice. Using English as an example, it does just that by examining the English matrix, a specific achievement standard and examples of assessment tasks. It argues that the pervasiveness of summative assessment and the provision of centrally designed materials will legitimise some versions of the subject and certain teaching practices over others. It suggests that this form of legitimating control undermines teacher professionalism and subject innovation.
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