Assessment Report

Level 2 English 2021

Standards 91098  91099  91100

Part A: Commentary

In Achievement Standards 91098 and 91099, candidates who showed engagement with the texts and the essay question were rewarded.  Candidates’ responses were generally focused and concise, and the best responses showed independent thinking and a clear awareness that a text is a deliberate construct. Candidates found success when they understood the questions, were confident in their knowledge of their chosen texts, and confidently explored ideas with carefully selected evidence.  Teaching and learning about how to develop a focused, and precise response is clearly of benefit to candidates.

In Achievement Standard 91100, candidates engaged positively with the texts provided, with most candidates completing all parts of the assessment. (Candidates may benefit from being reminded of the importance of answering all three questions.)  Those who responded with in-depth analysis were well rewarded; the quality of the response is more important than the number of language features identified.

Part B: Report on standards

91098:  Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied written text(s), supported by evidence 

Examinations 

The essay questions are developed from the four aspects stated in the curriculum: purpose and audience, ideas, language features, and structure.  Candidates can expect essay questions to be specific rather than general.  This is because the essay questions are carefully designed to assess the Achievement Standards, the titles of which are “Analyse specified aspects …”  Candidates who only prepare to answer on a single aspect are likely to be disadvantaged.  Some candidates seem to have a weak understanding of some terms used in questions (e.g. “structure” and “setting”); teaching and learning about what the aspects mean could benefit candidates.

A small but significant number of candidates chose an essay topic that was not well suited to their chosen text(s).  Teaching and learning about question selection will benefit candidates. 

Candidates need to be discouraged from writing a rote-learned, prepared essay.  Such essays were not successful.

Candidates are reminded of the statement in the assessment specifications: “The quality of the candidate’s writing is more important than the length of their essay. Candidates should aim to write a concise essay of no more than 800 words or five pages in length”. Teachers should note that in the New Zealand Curriculum the Level 7 Achievement Objectives in English state that candidates will “show a discriminating understanding …” Excessively long essays often do not demonstrate a discriminating understanding, and teaching and learning about this could benefit candidates.

Observations 

Candidates’ choice of question was critical in terms of the scope of the essay they were able to develop. Selected texts need to be appropriate to Curriculum Level 7 to enable candidates to develop responses at an Excellence level; other texts tended to allow them to reach only an Achievement grade. Candidates need to be familiar with a wide range of analysis-related terminology and its meaning. Candidates must be able to independently construct a structured essay in response to unknown questions.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

 

  • selected a question that was appropriate for their chosen text(s)
  • used key words from the question to frame their responses
  • linked the response to the question
  • made straightforward statements rather than developing a full discussion
  • used evidence, but examples tended to be quite limited
  • referred to language features in a clear but limited way
  • displayed some sense of planning and structure in the essay
  • used a straightforward essay structure (an introduction, about three body paragraphs, and a conclusion).

 

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

 

  • selected an inappropriate question for their text(s)
  • addressed only part of the question
  • presented an essay that appeared to have been pre-learned, and which did not address the question
  • wrote brief, simplistic responses
  • described rather than analysed aspects of the text
  • did not demonstrate understanding of the author’s purpose
  • did not link text features to effects or purposes
  • showed limited understanding of purpose and audience, language techniques, structure and ideas
  • provided little or irrelevant supporting evidence.

 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

 

  • wrote responses that were planned and well organised
  • showed comprehensive knowledge, understanding, and engagement with the text
  • explored the writer’s purpose or use of language features in some detail
  • provided commentary and reflective thinking, not necessarily sustained, on ideas
  • presented a well-structured, focused argument that closely addressed the selected question
  • went ‘beyond the text’ in a relevant way that enhanced the response
  • selected a range of apt evidence to support their analysis
  • analysed the evidence presented by ‘unpacking’ it convincingly (for example by discussing connotation)
  • wrote fluently, demonstrating control of language.

 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

 

  • presented a cogent, organised argument that closely addressed the question
  • wrote confidently and fluently, often using sophisticated and precise vocabulary
  • demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of aspects of the text and how these contributed to the author’s purpose
  • interpreted both text and question with insightful analysis
  • deliberately selected a range of evidence that was carefully integrated into the essay, rather than stand-alone quotations
  • included clear evidence of personal voice and understanding.

91099:  Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied visual or oral text(s), supported by evidence

Examinations 

The essay questions are developed from the four aspects stated in the curriculum: purpose and audience, ideas, language features, and structure.  Candidates can expect essay questions to be specific rather than general.  This is because the essay questions are carefully designed to assess the Achievement Standards, the titles of which are “Analyse specified aspects …”  Candidates who only prepare to answer on a single aspect are likely to be disadvantaged.  Some candidates seem to have a weak understanding of some terms used in questions (e.g. “structure” and “setting”) and teaching and learning about what the aspects mean could benefit candidates.

A small but significant number of candidates chose an essay topic that was not well suited to their chosen text(s).  Teaching and learning about question selection will benefit candidates.

Candidates need to be discouraged from writing a rote-learned, pre-prepared essay.  Such essays were not successful.

Candidates are reminded of the statement in the assessment specifications: “The quality of the candidate’s writing is more important than the length of their essay. Candidates should aim to write a concise essay of no more than 800 words or five pages in length”. Teachers should note that The New Zealand Curriculum’s Level 7 Achievement Objectives in English state that candidates will “show a discriminating understanding …” Excessively long essays often do not demonstrate a discriminating understanding, and teaching and learning about this could benefit candidates.

Observations 

Candidates’ choice of question was critical in terms of the scope of the essay they were able to develop. Selected texts need to appropriate to Curriculum Level 7 to enable candidates to develop responses at an Excellence level; other texts tended to allow them to reach only an Achievement grade. Candidates need to be familiar with a wide range of analysis-related terminology and its meaning. Candidates must be able to independently construct a structured essay in response to unknown questions.

While ‘beyond the text’ comments are encouraged, a response should primarily focus on addressing the question, and discussion of wider contexts should be relevant and framed by the question.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • selected a question that was appropriate for their chosen text(s)
  • showed they had understood the question
  • addressed all parts of the question, using its key words in the response
  • used a straightforward essay structure (an introduction, about three body paragraphs, and a conclusion).
  • addressed the “how” part of the question with accurate reference to the use of a limited number of language features, and often relied heavily on dialogue
  • described in detail, rather than analysing.

 

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not appear to have understood the question or its intention
  • wrote a brief essay which did not address the question
  • presented an essay that appeared to have been pre-prepared, and which did not address the question
  • relied on summarising or describing the text
  • did not support points with evidence or analysis
  • showed insufficient command of writing skills to communicate clearly.

 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • wrote a coherent, focused response that fully addressed the question
  • showed an appreciation in their response to the events, characters and ideas in the text(s)
  • responded to the question by convincingly analysing the deliberate use of (a range of) techniques
  • showed an awareness of the text’s purpose and the audience’s response
  • made relevant connections beyond the text and commented with their own judgments and reflections.

 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • wrote fluently in an engaging style with a sophisticated vocabulary and a personal voice
  • showed a comprehensive appreciation of the text as a whole, weaving an analysis of the chosen aspect throughout their discussion of the text
  • showed that they had fully understood both the question and the text fully through skillful integration of examples and language techniques
  • debated and critiqued the ideas in the text, or the merits of the film’s crafting
  • used language features confidently and judiciously to support the argument.
  • presented a technical analysis that, while not necessarily extensive, was carefully chosen and apposite
  • adopted an original viewpoint and explored multiple interpretations and / or nuances of meaning.

91100:  Analyse significant aspects of unfamiliar written text(s) through close reading, supported by evidence

Examinations

At Level 2, candidates must discuss how techniques work individually or collectively to achieve a particular purpose. It is important that candidates relate their discussion directly to the question posed in the examination, and that they focus their discussion on the techniques employed by the writer.

The number of techniques mentioned in an answer is less important than the quality of discussion of each technique; answers benefit from discussion of fewer techniques and more analysis of how they work in the context of the text and in relation to the question.

Observations 

Candidates should be strongly encouraged to attempt all three questions.  Some candidates received Merit or Excellence grade scores on individual questions but didn’t answer a second or third question. This resulted in an overall score that did not appear to reflect the ability of the candidate.

Candidates are not required to write an essay. Lengthy introductions including the title of the text and the author are not necessary.

Candidates who could clearly explain the examples they chose to include performed well. Careful selection of examples, analysis of them and explaining how they link the answer to the question made for cohesive answers.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • identified one or two language features and explained how they were used to create effect
  • used concise examples from the texts to support their answers
  • used key words from the question appropriately in their answers
  • displayed a basic understanding of the text and the author’s purpose
  • began to focus on the effects of the language features
  • provided some analysis – possibly with some weakness – to answer the question
  • did not develop their answer with an understanding of the purpose of the technique or how it achieved this purpose.

 

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not accurately identify language techniques
  • did not provide appropriate or relevant examples
  • did not use key language from the questions
  • did not understand the text or the author’s purpose
  • repeated the words of the question but did not show understanding of its main idea
  • listed language techniques and examples, without analysis
  • unsuccessfully attempted to use a “catch-all” language technique such as “imagery” or “diction”
  • summarised the text
  • answered only one of the three questions.

 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • answered all questions fully
  • wrote developed but concise responses
  • chose their own language features, not just the “might include” hints
  • showed a sound knowledge of techniques and could write with some confidence about their effects
  • gave more than one example of techniques or features and how these worked together to create an overall effect
  • were confident in their naming and analysis of techniques, and used analysis-related terminology to make their answers convincing
  • provided accurate evidence and unpacked it clearly
  • developed their answers to show some understanding of the author’s purpose.

 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • began strongly and with originality
  • wrote fluently, without repetition
  • appeared to enjoy responding to the texts
  • were forthright in discussing ideas, often linking these to specific and relevant events in the real world
  • used terminology accurately
  • used a sophisticated vocabulary to express ideas
  • had a wide range of imagery, structures, and sentence types in their toolbox
  • attempted all questions using a variety of language techniques to illustrate how the authors achieved their purpose
  • explored the text in a way that showed genuine appreciation of how language was used in patterns / motifs, with each example adding to the argument being presented
  • evaluated the use of techniques
  • showed insight into the wider purpose of the text where relevant.

English subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 240KB)

2019 (PDF, 118KB)

2018 (PDF, 134KB)

2017 (PDF, 57KB)

2016 (PDF, 246KB)

 
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