National Moderator's Reports

February 2020

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The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Dance standards in 2019.

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


Awarding Excellence

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When making judgement for Excellence, it needs to be ensured that all indicators of the Excellence criteria in the standard have been fully addressed. These are outlined in the Explanatory notes. The quality of evidence provided should also reflect the curriculum level. If the evidence demonstrates that the Excellence criteria have been only partially met, then the grade awarded cannot be Excellence. This is critical in distinguishing between high Merit and Excellence.

Consideration also needs to be given to the overall submission, such as succinctness and clarity.

This is of particular importance when assessing the dance choreography standards, especially at Level 3. The choreography should show that editing of the movement has occurred so that every movement is there because it contributes to the intention. Lengthy justifications of choreographic and design decisions are not necessary, and should be already clear in the dance.

For level 3 91588, cohesiveness is essential, and if this is not present across all aspects of the work then it does not meet the criteria for Excellence. Communicating ideas in movement is the core of this choreography standard, and for Excellence to be attained unusual and unexpected movement combinations and sophisticated principles such as abstraction, dynamics, contrast, unity and climax are essential.

Collecting evidence

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Opportunities that allow students to collect evidence through different modes such as blogs, video clips, etc is encouraged. It allows students to have agency on how best to demonstrate what they know. 

Successful students have used online portfolios including video clips as well as written blogs. Other successful methods have included assessors collecting evidence for these standards while students are producing evidence towards another standard. For example, while choreographing a group dance at Level 2, students could also be reflecting on and applying a range of choreographic processes to meet the requirements of the choreographic processes standard. 

Additionally, assessors need to be familiar with the recommended length of routines for the dance performance standards and ensure that routines are not exceeding the time recommendations by too much if this is having an adverse effect on the students ability to demonstrate and maintain the necessary skills over a dance that is too long.

Student wellbeing

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Where students are guided in how to present their evidence succinctly, the quality of their responses improves.  When students are aware of the concept that quantity is not an indicator of quality, this also helps to reduce workload pressures.

In terms of student wellbeing, it is also timely to consider the importance of positive contexts and guidance regarding potentially ‘dark themes’ or inappropriate material. While the need for self-expression and realism is not disputed, the mental and physical wellbeing of students in their learning and assessment should be a significant consideration in programmes.

Consideration could be given to the topics and issues students are choosing to explore for their choreography, especially at Level 3. Teacher guidance as to whether the topic is suitable to make a dance about should be used.

On a positive note, the collaborative nature of many dance assessments and the extensive and successful use of group work in dance can have a positive effect on student well-being as well as academic success. The combination of physical, creative and critical thinking skills taught and assessed in dance can also positively impact the mental and physical wellbeing of students.

Group work is encouraged and acceptable in the assessment of many dance standards. Effective samples sent for moderation included sufficient information to allow clear identification of which student is which in the visual evidence, allowing the moderator to be readily able to confirm the grades.

Assessor Support

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The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by the Assessment and Moderation Team 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, the Assessment and Moderation Team will continue delivering this support model in 2020. Workshops or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to regional or national audiences.

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

More detailed information, including how to request or register for a workshop, can be found on our Best Practice Workshop pages or by emailing

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Repertoire standards

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The definition of a repertoire is that it is a selection of dances that are repeated (similar to dance companies that have dances in their repertoire that can be re-mounted or performed on different occasions).

Successful task design and materials for this standard reflect this intention, and clearly indicate to students the occasions that the dances in the repertoire will be performed. It is not appropriate for this standard to be awarded on the basis of only one performance of a dance.

All three dances in the repertoire must be performed more than once using formal performance protocols. Only one recording of each dance in the repertoire needs to be submitted. However, the task materials and the quality of performance should clearly indicate that the students have performed the repertoire on more than one occasion.


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Outcome statements in external moderation reports

In 2017, moderation report outcome statements changed from ‘Confidence’ statements to ‘Consistency’ statements, as explained in an NZQA Circular at the time.

The previous FOUR ‘Confidence’ statements were changed to THREE Consistency statements. This reduction in the number of categories of statement has, in some cases, resulted in moderation report outcomes previously noted as ‘Confident’ now being noted as ‘Not Yet Consistent’.

It is important to recognise that ‘Not Yet Consistent’ does not imply major issues on the part of the assessor, but that the aspects highlighted can be easily addressed through the advice given in the report.

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