National Moderator's Reports

February 2022

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Download PDF: Chemistry National Moderator's Report (PDF, 160KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internally assessed Chemistry standards in 2021. It 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 in 2021 have complemented the traditional workshops. These can be accessed using your Education Sector Logon. Courses available for Chemistry include:

  • Making Assessor Judgements (91388, 91393)
  • 91911 The Significance of the Findings.

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

Clarification documents and exemplars have been published for 91910 ‘Carry out a practical investigation into a substance present in a consumer product using quantitative analysis’ and 91911 ‘Carry out an investigation into chemical species present in a sample using qualitative analysis’.

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

Inconsistencies in marking 91910 and 91911

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Chemistry Achievement Standards 91910 and 91911 have had their first full year of moderation. There are some inconsistencies identified from external moderation of these two standards.

For 91910 ‘Carry out a practical investigation into a substance present in a consumer product using quantitative analysis’, learners have generally given descriptions showing how significant variables were controlled during the investigation. To reach Merit, learners need to explain how the control of variables improved the quality of the investigation. For Excellence, learners need to justify how the modification to the consumer product and/or the titration procedure improved the validity and accuracy.

For 91911 ‘Carry out an investigation into chemical species present in a sample using qualitative analysis’, learners need to identify at least two chemical species in a sample using qualitative analysis in order to achieve the standard. In some instances learners failed to link the identified chemical species to the compound present in the analysed sample.

91388 Demonstrate understanding of spectroscopic techniques

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External moderation shows that there is some inconsistency for Merit and Excellence.

For Merit, learners need to explain how aspects from the three spectroscopic techniques link to the proposed structure of the unknown molecule. Learners who did this well made explicit links between each aspect and the unknown molecule's structure (functional group and carbon chain).

To reach Excellence, learners need to justify the correct structure of the unknown molecule by integrating aspects from the three spectroscopic techniques. Learners who did this well integrated the three spectroscopic techniques to show how the aspects consistently align with each other to confirm the structure of the molecule.

Repeated topics from 2019

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The inconsistencies raised in the 2019 Chemistry National Moderator's Annual Report for both 91387 and 91393 were seen again in external moderation for 2021.

91387 Carry out an investigation in chemistry involving quantitative analysis

External moderation shows that there is some inconsistency for Not Achieved and Excellence.

To achieve the standard, learners need to select a topic that allows them to explore a possible trend or pattern in the quantity of a substance, and produce titres of at least 5mL (for investigations involving titration). For a trend, one variable needs to be changed to determine if this variable influences the quantity of a substance. For a pattern, the quantity of a substance is measured in relation to a measurable variable(s), e.g. distance from a given location, depth of samples or collecting data from two locations to investigate a pattern.

For Excellence, learners need to justify the steps taken in relation to the reactions and nature of the sample. Learners who did this well could discuss the relevance of adding particular reactants in the procedure to the relevant reactions required to allow the quantity of the dependent variable to be calculated.

91393 Demonstrate understanding of oxidation-reduction processes

External moderation shows that there is some inconsistency for Not Achieved and Excellence.

To achieve the standard, learners need to explain both oxidation and reduction for the electrochemical and electrolytic processes. Learners who did this well clearly explained the change in oxidation number of the relevant element or the number of electrons lost/gained for oxidation and reduction in both cell processes.

For Excellence, learners need to justify the spontaneity of electrolytic and electrochemical processes. Learners who did this well could justify the spontaneity by using either the cell potential calculation or the standard reduction potentials.


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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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