Assessment Specifications

Level 3 Digital Technologies
and Hangarau Matihiko 2021

General information


Digital Technologies

Method of assessment

Common assessment task (online / digital submission)


3 hours


91908  91909

Information relating to both achievement standards

A common assessment task (CAT) is developed and marked by NZQA, and administered by a school in a single session during a period of assessment specified by NZQA.

Conditions of assessment

Candidates must complete their assessment individually under teacher supervision, in accordance with the NCEA Assessment and Examination Rules and Procedures.

The material submitted for assessment must be the candidates’ own work. Unless specified below, candidates are not permitted to access any resources (either in hard copy or online) other than those supplied in the assessment itself.

Further information

NZQA will notify schools during Term 1 of the period of assessment, and then schools must inform NZQA of the day during this period of assessment on which the CAT will be administered.

Administration and submission instructions and authenticity requirements will be published on the Digital Technologies subject page at the end of Term 2.

Specific information for individual achievement standards




Analyse an area of computer science



Number of credits


Candidates will be required to respond in short and / or extended answers (800–1500 words in total) to questions relating to their choice of ONE of the following areas of computer science:

  • formal languages
  • network communication protocols
  • big data.

Resources (case studies and / or other information) will be provided, and the questions will refer to these.

Questions will prompt the candidate to show insight into their chosen area of computer science by:

  • exploring less-obvious implications
  • making and justifying predictions
  • suggesting potential improvements.

Candidates may use words, numerical workings, and diagrams in their responses to show their reasoning.

For formal languages, questions may cover: regular expressions; simple finite-state automata; context-free grammars (CFGs).

For network communication protocols, questions may cover: the Internet protocol suite and its four abstraction layers (application, transport, internet and link); as well as application layer protocols (HTTP and IRC) and transport layer protocols (TCP and UDP).

For big data, questions may cover: characteristics of big data (volume, variety, velocity, etc.); generation; analysis; representation (bias and display).




Present a reflective analysis of developing a digital outcome



Number of credits


Candidates will be required to respond in short and / or extended answers (800–1500 words in total) to questions relating to a digital outcome they have developed within the past 12 months. This digital outcome must be based on Level 8 of The New Zealand Curriculum (see the Teaching & Learning Guide for digital technologies).

The questions will require candidates to discuss the decisions made during the development of the digital outcome, and to draw conclusions about the outcome and / or the development process (see Explanatory Notes 4 and 5 of the standard).

There will be questions on the implications of TWO of the following in the development of the digital outcome:

  • accessibility
  • usability
  • aesthetics.

Candidates may prepare up to THREE images in advance to include in the assessment:

  • a single image of the digital outcome (e.g. a website; a poster; an electronic device)
  • a single image of the planning process (e.g. agile development; a planning chart)
  • a single image of the digital components of the outcome (e.g. the HTML / CSS for a website; the “layers” view of a poster; the code for an electronic device).

Candidates may also access their digital outcome in order to copy information from it and paste this into the assessment response.

Special note

The school may be required to provide a link to evidence of the candidate’s digital outcome (e.g. working files).

Digital Technologies subject page

Examination timetable and submission dates

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