More children are meeting national standards in reading, writing and maths, new figures show.
The Ministry of Education figures, released on Thursday, show 77.9 percent of children in years one to eight met the standard for reading and 70.6 percent met the writing standard, in both cases an improvement of 0.4 of a percentage point.
Maths achievement increased 1 percentage point, to 74.6 percent.
The Government has a target of 85 percent of children meeting the standards in 2017 - a target it will miss if achievement continues to rise at current rates.
Ministry figures also show annual improvements in school leavers' qualifications all but ground to a halt last year.
The number of school leavers with at least National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level 2 dropped to 74.2 percent - down 0.1 of a percentage point.
Those achieving level 3, or university entrance, increased 0.3 percentage points, to 49 percent.
Despite the negligible change in school results, the percentage of 18-year-olds with level 2 or equivalent rose slightly last year to 78.6 percent due to teenagers enrolled in courses outside of school.
The Government wants 85 percent of 18-year-olds to have level two in 2017.
Education Minister Hekia Parata said the relatively small changes between 2013 and 2012 show a high level of consistency in teachers' use of the standards.
But the Educational Institute says the standards are unreliable and should not be used at all.