Samoan - clarification standards conversation AS90431, 90593

The conversation standards: AS90431, 90593

  • Students are required to convey and seek (at level 2), or exchange and support (at level 3) relevant information, ideas and /or opinions.
    The conversation standard involves interaction between the participants. For this reason an interview where the teacher asks a set of questions and the student replies does not adequately cover this criterion.
    For example, a conversation about a famous person may deteriorate into a talk punctuated with questions. There is no opportunity to converse. A conversation about an issue may provide opportunities for an exchange of opinion which exemplifies the aspects which make a spoken text conversational.(Assessment Guidelines for NCEA Learning Languages, 2006).
  • Cue cards or notes are not allowed.
  • Students should not have a pre-learned and/or pre-marked script or set of questions.
  • Students need to communicate appropriate achievement objectives. For level 2, up to and including level 7 of the Samoan curriculum; for level 3, up to and including level 8 of the Samoan curriculum.
    For example, a conversation about a party invite may allow students to give instructions (how to get to the party venue, what to bring, wear, etc.) and therefore allow students to communicate the achievement objective 6.1 Give and follow instructions.
  • The best conversations happen where the assessor is listening and sensitive to what the student has said and interacted with that, not simply moving to the next question on the list, whatever the answer given.
  • Success happens where the assessor shows appropriate wait time, giving students time to collect their thoughts. In real conversation, sometimes there are pauses and this is the same in this assessment.
  • Conversations should be recorded for verification purposes.

Length of conversations

The student should contribute to:

  • level 2: about two minutes
  • level 3: about two minutes.


"Development" and "variety" in conversations where there is a level of spontaneity are slightly different to written text. Features of a conversation which contribute to development and variety are such things as:

  • interaction
  • referring back to things that have been already said
  • clarifying
  • negotiating meaning
  • using appropriate colloquial expressions and language for the context.

Communication in a conversation is achieved when the meaning is successfully negotiated and where the pronunciation, intonation and pausing help the communication to be effective. Any errors do not hinder communication (Excellence) means that the meaning is ultimately clear and successfully negotiated, not that there are no errors. (Assessment Guidelines for NCEA Learning Languages, 2006).

As students are interacting spontaneously there will be more errors than in the presentation standards where they have been able to check their work before presenting it. Errors only alter a grade dependant on the level to which they hinder communication; it is not dependant on the number of errors.


The task has a high bearing on the success in assessing the standard. Tasks which allow students to successfully interact show one or more of the following:

  • the task gives control of the conversation to the student
    For example, students are expected to initiate parts of the conversation. Examples of this are situations where the task asks students to find out ..., get details ..., or comment on what is said.
  • the context is one which allows for a reasonably natural exchange of ideas/opinions/information in a reasonably realistic context
  • give students choice
  • where the teacher will take one of the roles in the conversation. It is not necessary for the teacher to ask the same questions of each student in the class. The aim is to assess each student's conversation.

Level 2 and 3 conversations should be on a topic that is less familiar to the student and not from their everyday life or experience. Topics should provide an opportunity to go beyond the personal experience of the student and give scope to use language up to the appropriate curriculum level. Students could be expected to converse about something which has required them to do some research or wider reading, etc.

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