This paper identifies trends in secondary school accounting participation and achievement during the first five years of the full implementation of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in New Zealand schools. NCEA marks a shift from a norm-referenced assessment regime to standards-based assessment. Literature suggests that standards-based assessment increases the academic performance of minority ethnic groups (such as Maori and Pacific Island students), and low socio-economic status (SES) students. The author pays particular attention to these groups and his analysis reveals some interesting results: in accounting, the NCEA has not met expectations for these students. From 2004 to 2008, the number of low SES accounting students has dropped, as has the number of accounting standards entered and the rates of achievement. Likewise, there has been no significant improvement in the academic performance of Maori students taking accounting standards, while Pacific Island students have experienced a significant decrease in achievement. The author also discusses how studying high school accounting impacts on tertiary level study and offers some future implications of this research.