This article reports on the first phase of an investigation into the effective transitioning of secondary students to tertiary education through a focus on academic literacy. Action research was used to develop collaborative partnerships between teachers and researchers, and between students and peer mentors. We found that the interpretation of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement’s (NCEA) design features and its implementation in teachers’ practice may be inhibiting students’ academic literacy development. In addition, it emerged that teachers in each sector held erroneous assumptions about the other sector’s pedagogic practices. We attempt to reconceptualise NCEA as the flexible model its design implied as a framework within which to incorporate academic literacy development, drawing on the ANCIL model, to support students in transition to university.
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