Assessment Report

Level 1 Science 2021

Standards 90940  90944  90948

Part A: Commentary

Generally, candidates used the scaffolding in questions to assist their response. For the highest grades, candidates are reminded to unpack the question requirements and answer the question, rather than focus entirely upon the scaffolding. Candidates need to practise applying their knowledge to unknown situations to achieve the highest grades.

Part B: Report on standards

90940:  Demonstrate understanding of aspects of mechanics

Examination

The examination included three compulsory questions. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specification which were the ability to carry out calculations, as well as descriptions and explanations, including graphical interpretations. Familiarity with associated practical work is expected. Formulae as listed in the achievement standard will be provided on a separate resource sheet. The questions required the candidate to apply their understanding of basic mechanics and provide working calculations to demonstrate how they determined their answer.

Observations

Reference to graphs in and resource material is vital to candidates’ explanations and discussion to achieve at a Merit and Excellence level. While many candidates wrote detailed explanations, not referring to graphs and resource material prevented many of them reaching a Merit or Excellence grade. All working out is expected to show full understanding. Formulae will be provided on a separate resource sheet.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • described motion from a distance/time graph
  • calculated speed
  • calculated pressure
  • calculated power
  • calculated force
  • defined mass and gravity
  • drew the horizontal forces

 Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • used incorrect equations, e.g. P = F/A vs P = W/t
  • did not describe the motion in a distance/time graph
  • did not carry out calculation without rearrangement required
  • did not draw horizontal forces acting on a car.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • calculated speed
  • connected surface area to pressure to sinking
  • defined mass and weight
  • calculated GPE
  • drew and labelled the horizontal forces acting on the drag racer but did not show the vertical forces originating from the centre of gravity
  • carried out multi-step calculations.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • provided corrected units for each calculation
  • rearranged equations
  • linked surface area to pressure to sinking
  • defined mass and weight and using an example
  • calculated speed from GPE = EK
  • drew and labelled the horizontal and vertical forces acting on the drag racer.

 


90944:  Demonstrate understanding of aspects of acids and bases

Examination

The examination included three compulsory questions. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specification, which were the ability to use chemical language (formulae and equations), as well as descriptions and explanations. Indicators were restricted to litmus and universal indicator, and familiarity with associated practical work was expected. A periodic table (showing symbols and atomic numbers) and a table of ions (showing symbols) were provided on a separate resource sheet.

Observations

Candidates had a good understanding of most concepts examined. Using electron transfer to explain the formation of neutrally charged compounds was not as well understood, nor was relating the properties of acids and bases to reactions, which often inhibited the candidate’s level of achievement.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • could write electron arrangement of ions
  • defined an ion
  • described loss or gain of electrons
  • described ionic compounds as having no charge or charges of ions that cancel each other out
  • wrote word equations
  • recognised that the rate of reaction would increase with higher temperatures
  • identified that a crushed tablet has more surface area than an uncrushed one.
  • linked correct colours to pH
  • were able to relate litmus paper and Universal Indicator to the correct colours for oven cleaner and soap
  • described the colours that occur in a neutralisation reaction in the correct order.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • could not write word equations
  • could not give correct electron arrangements for atoms or ions
  • could not give correct charges when an ion is formed
  • incorrectly stated that crushed tablets have a smaller surface area
  • incorrectly stated that lower temperatures have an increased reaction rate
  • could not relate the correct colours to pH.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • explained how increased surface area led to a faster rate of reaction
  • explained that acid particles at higher temperatures will have more energy so there will be more successful collisions
  • explained how acid particles at higher temperatures move faster so there would be more frequent collisions / collisions per second
  • explained how the loss or gain of electrons gives ions full outer shells/allow the ion to be stable.
  • explained how ions make neutral compounds.
  • explained reasons why Universal Indicator was better to distinguish between two bases
  • explained that oven cleaner had excess OH ions and that as lemon juice was added more H+ ions were added to the solution until they were in excess
  • explained a neutral solution in terms of pH and the number of OH and H+
  • linked all possible Universal Indicator colours to their correct pH or the concentration of H+ and OH

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • used ionic formulae to explain the movement of electrons as ions form and create new stable compounds
  • wrote correctly balanced symbol equations
  • related an increase in surface area to an increase of available magnesium carbonate particles, leading to an increase of frequency of collisions; therefore a higher rate of reaction
  • related an increase of temperature to a rise in energy and movement of acid particles that causes a higher frequency of effective / successful collisions between reactant particles.
  • fully explained the colour changes of Universal Indicator to pH, concentration of H+ and OH ions and the neutralisation reaction.

 


90948:  Demonstrate understanding of biological ideas relating to genetic variation

Examination

The examination included three compulsory questions. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specification, which were to take contexts from plants and animals and discuss how natural selection is driven by genetic variation caused by mutation and sexual reproduction.

Observations

Candidates had a good understanding of most concepts examined. Common issues for candidates included: defining genetic variation, mutation, sex determination through X and Y chromosomes, sexual reproduction, meiosis, fertilisation and confusing the source of genetic variation.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • defined genotype and phenotype.
  • drew correct Punnet square
  • identified the passing of alleles from parents to the offspring’s
  • described variation as differences between individuals
  • described how variation can lead to survival of the species.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • were able to recognize an environmental disease
  • provided ‘new’ contexts for their answers, rather than using the context from the questions.
  • defined terms phenotype
  • did not recognise that biological sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes
  • could complete a Punnet square
  • could not describe variation.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • described how alleles interact to produce three genotypes but only two phenotypes
  • showed the link between DNA, gene and allele in producing phenotype
  • understood how a mutation in DNA results in a new allele
  • explained how alleles are passed on or inherited between parents and offspring
  • explained genetic variation in relation to either gamete formation or random fertilisation
  • linked genetic variation, and passing on of genes/alleles in populations being beneficial.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • comprehensively explained how two alleles interact to produce three genotypes, but only two phenotypes in context
  • comprehensively linked a DNA mutation to new allele, gene and new phenotype in context
  • comprehensively explained how the genotype for an individual a result of inheriting alleles from both the parents
  • discussed that characteristics are inherited via gametes and the acquired characteristics due to the environment cannot be passed on
  • explained the role of meiosis and random fertilisation during sexual reproduction in producing genetic variation in context
  • comprehensively linked genetic variation to survival of the population and the species.

Science subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 193KB)

2019 (PDF, 110KB)

2018 (PDF, 114KB)

2017 (PDF, 48KB)

2016 (PDF, 238KB)

 
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