The proportion of school leavers with level two of the NCEA qualification is continuing to rise with Maori and Pasifika students making particularly strong improvement, according to new figures.
The Government says 76.8 percent of the teenagers who left school last year had the qualification, up from 74.3 percent in 2012.
NCEA level 2 achievement rates have been improving by between one and three percentage points a year for the past four years.
Provisional figures for 2013 show an improvement of two-and-a-half percentage points overall, with Maori achievement rates rising four percentage points and Pasifika seven points.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says the increase is consistent with steady improvements during the past five years.
"These results have come increasingly off the back of targeting and working with students. They represent the trend that we've had for the last five years and we expect that trend to keep going."
The Government's goal is for 85 percent of 18-year-olds to have level 2 or an equivalent qualification by 2017.