National Moderator's Reports

Feburary 2022

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Download PDF: Art History National Moderator's Report (PDF, 198KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Art History standards in 2021.

It does not clarify specific standards but provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Using Internal Assessment Evidence Gathering Templates

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The purpose of the Internal Assessment Evidence Gathering Template is to help teachers identify and record evidence of student achievement seen or heard within the teaching and learning programme. These templates do not signal a reduction in what is accepted for each grade, but rather a means of summarising evidence for reporting achievement when more formal assessment has not been possible.

These templates must be viewed in conjunction with the assessment advice forwarded to schools, in order to ensure that valid, credible and reliable assessment has occurred before the standard is awarded. Further guidance can be found here.

Where evidence gathering templates have been used to identify evidence in lieu of a formal assessment opportunity, these should not be sent in for moderation. 

Assessor Support

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The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by Assessment and Moderation Services continue to be viewed by the sector as significantly contributing to improved assessor practice:

“The workshop helped to review my own knowledge, and great to share ideas.”

“It was great having time to challenge my thinking in assessment.”

Based on the success of the ‘on request’ model and the ability to have targeted support, Assessment and Moderation Services will continue delivering this support model in 2022. Workshops or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to regional or national audiences.

Additionally, we will continue to run the Transforming Assessment Praxis programme, an online course relevant to all subjects which helps assessors learn about re-contextualising assessment resources and collecting evidence in different ways to better meet the needs of learners.

New online subject-specific short courses introduced this year have complemented the traditional workshops. These can be accessed using your Education Sector Logon. Courses available for Art History include:

  • Examine the impact of media and processes on art works
  • Examine the different values placed on art works.

Check the NCEA subject pages on the NZQA website regularly, as more online courses will be added throughout 2022.

More detailed information, including how to request or register for a workshop or online course, can be found on our Assessor Support pages or by emailing

Scope of Art History topics for 91184 and 91486

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Although a rich and diverse range of topics continue to be selected for these standards, several submissions selected topics that consisted of a detailed study of a broad time period or movement, e.g. Neoclassism. Such a vast scope makes it very challenging for learners to identify key ideas or points of view, and to reach conclusions. 

Successful samples used a topic question (for 91184) or argument question (for 91486) to form the response. These questions can be provided by the teacher or developed by the learner. 

Questions that led to evaluative or insightful conclusions were most useful. For example, the question ‘How were women depicted in the Neoclassical Art?’, encourages responses that are descriptive. However, rephrasing to the question ‘To what extent did Neoclassical Art challenge or reinforce traditional views about women?’ facilitated responses that tended to have evaluative conclusions.

Use of supporting evidence

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Art History standards from Level 1 to Level 3 ask for learners to provide supporting evidence in their responses. For a number of submissions, learners’ achievement was impacted by the use of inaccurate supporting evidence found from unreliable sources, or by using information that was not relevant to the key requirements of the particular standard.

The quality and considered use of supporting information is often a crucial factor in awarding higher grades. Appropriate evidence from art works will clearly identify specific aspects of the art. For example, the use of thin sweeping brown brushstrokes to create the folds in the skirt in Monet’s ‘Women with a Parasol’.

Evidence from ‘other sources’ could include historical art texts, writings from an artist or critic, interviews, surveys or documentary films, etc. Learners should be encouraged to assess the credibility and relevance of the evidence they use.

Demonstrating in-depth knowledge for 91018

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There is a continuing trend for this standard to be used as a research element to support learners when producing their own art works. At times the research involves the learner replicating art works of established artists/designers and describing the media and methods they used.

While describing the steps taken to create their own art works can be an authentic way to demonstrate their knowledge, authenticity is compromised when students use contemporary media and methods that were unavailable to artists of the time, e.g. Photoshop rather than analogue photography. It is recommended that further research into the specific media and methods used by the artist(s) is a part of the assessment activity. 

In some submissions there was also a tendency to provide detailed information about the contexts, subject matter, styles and meanings of the art works. While some of this information can be relevant to award Excellence, learners need to explain how and why the different media are used to produce art works. Typically, Excellence level responses linked information about the intentions of the artists (such as intended meanings and effect) to their choice of media and methods.


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Changes to moderation requirement for 2022

Changes have been made to what schools are required to send in for moderation in 2022. Only 6 samples of student evidence must be sent in, one sample each at N, A, M, E, and two more from A, M, E. There will be no level 1 external moderation, unless requested by the school. 

Outcome statements in external Moderation Reports

Moderation Report outcomes are reported using consistency statements. These are not based on a numerical assessment of how many grades the moderator agreed with, but on a qualitative assessment of how the overall judgements align with the standard.

Consistent” is used where clear and accurate understanding of all (or most) aspects of the standard have been demonstrated. There may be some misunderstandings, but these are minor.

Not yet consistent” does not imply major issues on the part of the assessor. This is used where a clear understanding is shown of some aspects of the standard, and any issues can be identified and corrected using the feedforward in the Moderation Report.

Not consistent” is used where there are significant issues with the assessor decisions. This may include issues such as assessment materials not being at the correct curriculum level, or when the intent or criteria of the standard have been misunderstood.

Moderating assessment materials

For most moderation submissions in 2021, the assessment materials were not moderated, as most assessment tasks were variations of the NZQA Approved tasks developed by the Ministry of Education.

NZQA welcomes the submission of innovative assessment tasks. An overview of case studies showcasing how innovative assessment practices have been implemented in schools can be found on the Spotlights homepage, with the full case studies on the Future State section of the NZQA website.

Please click on this link to give your feedback about this report.

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