Assessment Report

Level 1 Japanese 2016

Standards 90893  90896


Part A: Commentary

Candidates who carefully read / listened to the context settings were more likely to be successful.

The design of the listening notes boxes, which were divided and had key abbreviated questions directly opposite the question spaces, supported candidates throughout the paper and were well-used by many candidates.

Candidates who had a good understanding of basic information such as numbers, times, days of the week, and their katakana script were able to answer the questions more effectively.

Illegible scripts with poor grammatical English along with some basic errors suggest that some candidates did not proofread their answers.


Part B: Report on Standards

90893:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of spoken Japanese texts on areas of most immediate relevance


Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • gave some key lexical items as well as linking some of these ideas together
  • started to show some understanding of the spoken texts
  • had glimpses of the meaning and at times could give some brief understanding of parts of the passage, although this was limited and showed they did not have a good overall understanding
  • had good understanding of one section of a question, but did not show understanding over the whole question
  • gave irrelevant information, or misunderstood, or had not clearly read the questions themselves. 

Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • gave only a few lexical items, with no real understanding of how these words or phrases fitted into the whole of the text
  • showed their lack of understanding by using question marks at the end of their answers
  • gave answers that were inconsistent or made no sense over the whole question
  • were, at times, able to piece together some of the meaning, but were inconsistent and showed little understanding of the text as a whole.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • showed a good overall understanding of the texts, and could express their information clearly
  • did not link their response to the supporting detail from the text, but overall, had understood and communicated the general sense of the text
  • had one question at Excellence level at the upper end of the range, but were not consistently at Excellence across the whole paper. They may not have fully understood the implied meanings, or supported their answers with detail from the text
  • answered in Japanese, rather than English if they were native speakers and, therefore, at times did not have clarity to their answers or were less inclined to give thorough answers, but instead answered briefly with only some of the required information.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • gave detailed explanations of the text and thorough answers to each question
  • answered in more depth and with more detail
  • gave some of the more nuanced details, such as reasons and explanations
  • had re-read the questions and had answered what the questions required accurately
  • were very specific in giving examples from the text to back up their answers.

Standard-specific comments

The paper had the same two main protagonists for each section, and the contexts were in New Zealand settings: Takeshi as an exchange student who was visiting and staying with Angela, with three different kinds of texts in which these two young people were involved. These settings were clearly set out at the start of each passage, so that candidates had the opportunity to be fully aware that the events were all taking place in New Zealand. Those candidates who misunderstood these context settings often gave confused answers, thinking that the events were taking place in Japan, or that Angela was the exchange student rather than Takeshi.

Candidates were also helped by the layout of the paper itself. The listening notes boxes were subdivided to show each separate part of the question, with key words to guide candidates. 


90896:  Demonstrate understanding of a variety of Japanese texts on areas of most immediate relevance


Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • showed evidence of being able to read hiragana, katakana and simple kanji
  • understood basic vocabulary
  • gave short answers based on correctly identifying key ideas
  • attempted most questions
  • missed key vocabulary – for example, now, sometimes, always.

Candidates who were assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • showed little or no understanding of texts
  • wrote one or two word answers
  • used the pictures or glossed vocabulary as the basis for their answers
  • did not attempt all questions
  • gave irrelevant, illogical or contradictory answers
  • invented answers based on their own personal experience, for example, Polyfest, Rainbow Springs.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • answered questions with some detail
  • provided detail from the text to support their answers
  • attempted all questions but did not answer each question with the same level of depth
  • showed very good knowledge of language features
  • understood a wide range of vocabulary.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • gave detailed answers that showed full understanding of all texts
  • supported their answers fully with accurate and relevant information from the text
  • demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of vocabulary and language features
  • read the questions carefully, ensuring they answered all parts
  • took the time to read the texts carefully and proofread their answers to provide high quality responses.

Standard-specific comments

Numbers and times were problematic for some candidates, for example, they often confused 七 and 九 , and wrote 8.50 or 8.05 (and others) instead of 8.15, etc.

Some scripts were almost illegible, and often grammatically incorrect English was used with some answers being almost nonsensical. Clearly, many students did not proofread their answers.

Students answering in Japanese often did not give enough evidence to achieve at Excellence level.

Some candidates struggled to accurately read all katakana, e.g. ‘Samoa’ became ‘Sachia’, and ‘drama’ became ‘drum’.

Many candidates confused this year, next year, and last year.

Many candidates thought that Takeshi went ‘camping on the mountain’ and that he ‘stopped at a farm’.

Few candidates used the extra paper on the back of the examination paper, with some candidates who needed extra writing space choosing to write in smaller letters around the borders of the pages.

Common words candidates could not translate accurately were たいへん (strict, strange),けいたい (accounting),もり (garden), ひつじ  (goat, pig, horse), べんきょう (learn, practise), やまのぼり(mount Boriya, the hori of the mountain), こうちょうせんせい  (coach, President, Prime Minister), ちゅうごく (middle ~), どうきゅうせい (Tokyo students), どうぶつ (zoo). Also, many candidates did not know the days of the week.

Candidates often translated ~てはだめ as ‘cannot’ and ~てもいい as ‘can’, or would translate たべてもいい as ‘good to eat’ and きいてはだめ as ‘bad to listen’.

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