Principals at Marlborough's three colleges have reported better NCEA pass rates in 2011 and all have plans to keep improving.
Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty was pleased with the results for NCEA level 1 and 2, which were better than in 2010.
However, he was disappointed with level 3 pass results, which dipped from 66 per cent to 64 per cent.
The participation-based percentages refer to the pass rates only among full-time students who sat NCEA. Previously, roll-based percentages showed pass rates among all the young people in the year group, some of whom may not have been sitting NCEA.
Mr Hegarty said the college's annual plan focused on increasing the pass rate for year 13 students and would include more teaching time for subjects and a dean for year 13 students to provide more academic support and mentoring.
In previous years the college had one dean for year 12 and 13 students.
This year's year 13 students had performed well in NCEA over the past two years and were used to the expectations, he said.
Level 1 and 2 results for 2011 increased to 83 per cent and 87 per cent respectively, from 60 per cent and 72 per cent respectively in 2009.
"We want to be in the 90s ultimately.
"We can't keep increasing at the rate we have – there's got to be a consolidation phase and slow steps forward," he said.
The improvements year on year reflected the programmes the college put in place as well as changing expectations of students and their parents, he said.
Queen Charlotte College, in Picton, had pass rates across all levels which were higher than the national average and also in comparison to other decile 4 colleges.
Principal Tom Parsons was "very happy" with the results and said they were a credit to staff, students, the community and even Mayor Alistair Sowman.
Mr Sowman's attendance at college events including prizegivings showed how important a successful school is to a community, he said.
Mr Parson preferred to use the national average as a yardstick as opposed to other decile 4 schools.
Students sitting NCEA Level 3 also blitzed the national average for endorsement passes with merit and excellence, with 40 per cent compared to 26.4 per cent. An endorsement requires students to pass a subject with 14 or more credits at merit or excellence.
The college did well with top and struggling students, but this year's focus would be on improving marks for the middle band of students, he said.
Marlborough Girls' College deputy principal and curriculum leader Jude Young said she was also pleased with the results, especially with pass rates for level 1 and 2 in the 90 per cent bracket. Hard work from staff and students understanding what they needed to do to pass contributed to the high pass rate, she said.
Staff were unsure how changes to the level 1 exams would affect the results, but the pass rate had improved about 4 per cent from 2010. This year the school planned to improve the number of students who received endorsements, she said.
- The Marlborough Express