NCEA excellence endorsement rates increased to record levels in Auckland, Waikato and Northland last year, says RNZ. Students in the three regions were allowed to skip exams and get unexpected event grades calculated by their schools because they had lost so much classroom time to lockdowns. Secondary Principals Association president Vaughan Couillault said the good results were likely due to schools continuing to teach and assess students even after exams began. “No-one’s been given a free ride,” he said.