NCEA results are out and it appears most teenagers overcame the disruption of the pandemic and did well in the national qualification.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the provisional 2020 results were similar to previous years and in some cases slightly better.
That's despite the national and Auckland lockdowns robbing schools of weeks of classroom time.
Hipkins says he's especially pleased that level 3 results for school-leavers had improved.
It appears more students have achieved their NCEA certificate through internal assessment before they sat their exams, but it's not yet clear how the results will be influenced by extra "learning recognition credits" awarded to students last year, he says.
Auckland schools went through two lockdowns and many students in the city were particularly nervous about their NCEA results.
Māngere College principal Tom Webb says its NCEA achievement rates are among the best the school has ever recorded.
"We've been really pleased with our results, they're some of the best results we've had as a school."
That is due in part to a heightened sense of urgency among students last year, he says.
"Definitely the learning recognition credits had some impact, but even without those as we were tracking through the year we were seeing better engagement from the students when they were at school.
"When they came back to school, particularly after that first lockdown, students were really pleased to be back at school, really appreciated school, their teachers, the relationships they had with their friends and with their teachers, just appreciated what they were getting from school a lot more and gave them that urgency that this is what we need to be getting done."
The school has also focused more on the needs of individual students and what they need to do to achieve their NCEA certificates, Webb says.
James Cook High School principal Grant McMillan says he owes his staff a morning tea shout because the pandemic has not stopped the school from continuing a trend of improving NCEA pass rates.
"We're really pleased. Our pass rates are in line with or actually better than the trend we've set over the past three or four years."
The extra credits allocated to students were useful for some students, but most did not need them to get their NCEA certificates, he says.
"The learning recognition credits have had an effect for a small number of students, but even without those based on the work we've done and the trends over the last three years we would have exceeded our expectations for 2020 anyway."-RNZ/John Gerritsen.