National Moderator's Reports

February 2023

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Download PDF: Digital Technologies National Moderator's Report 2023 (PDF, 170KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internally assessed standards in 2022. It also provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year and outlines the Assessor Support available for Digital Technologies.


91900: Conduct a critical inquiry to propose a digital technologies outcome

This standard requires students to decide on an inquiry focus and develop inquiry questions to guide relevant research. The research is analysed and used to develop a refined inquiry focus and a detailed proposal for a digital technologies solution.

Successful inquiries were often based on broad contexts that the students could engage with and adapt to their own knowledge and interests. These inquiries were not limited to one type of outcome, and allowed students to explore different ways of proposing a solution to the inquiry.

To secure Achieved, the evidence requires relevant research. For example, research into the topic, user needs and possible solutions. This enables the inquiry focus to be refined and meaningful proposals created that will consider the purpose, end users, scope, requirements and specifications, and the resources needed to create the outcome. The proposal should have sufficient detail that it could be further developed into a digital technologies outcome.

In some cases, the use of templates limited the evidence of research and analysis, and did not allow full exploration of ideas and solutions. Teacher guidance should suggest possible steps without the use of a fixed template.

91903: Use complex techniques to develop a digital media outcome

This standard involves the development of a digital media outcome to meet end-user requirements. Evidence must show the use of at least two complex techniques during the development. It requires a focus on the application of user experience principles, data integrity and testing to improve the quality of the outcome.

Evidence that met the requirements of the standard identified and explored user experience principles, making it clear how the students had applied the principles. Screenshots and videos were increasingly used to explain the process followed and the final digital technologies outcome. This enabled demonstration of the improvements made as a result of testing and applying user experience principles.

Two common issues seen in moderation were the digital technologies outcomes failing to incorporate at least two complex techniques, or the outcome not aligning in complexity to curriculum level 8. For example, using applications to make outcomes with pre-built templates that require minimal development. Documenting these would assist with identification where it is not clear what the complex techniques are. Additional guidance should be given to ensure evidence of appropriate outcomes, and the techniques expected for the media type.

A Merit grade requires evidence of the application of user experience principles and subsequent improvement to the quality of the outcome. This requires more than incremental development. Evidence should show how the user was considered, as well as the applicable user experience principles.

91906: Use complex programming techniques to develop a computer program

This standard requires writing a program for a specified task, using at least two complex techniques. The program needs to be clearly documented, tested and debugged to ensure that it works correctly.

Evidence that met the requirements of the standard clearly identified the task and had testing throughout both the development and final presentation. Testing tables that identified the test and the results and changes, or videos showcasing testing, were both successful ways of presenting evidence.

A common issue seen in moderation was the misunderstanding of boundary testing for Merit and Excellence. Boundary testing requires the testing of edge cases, e.g. the lower and upper bounds of a field. Additional guidance should be given to ensure that the proposed solution will be able to communicate the testing of boundary cases. This testing should be explicit in order to secure a Merit grade.

The use of complex programming techniques was not always evidenced, with some publicly available code being used. Development of original code is required. Guidance about authenticity and what are appropriate complex techniques is recommended.

91907: Use complex processes to develop a digital technologies outcome

This standard requires using recognised and appropriate project management tools to plan the development of a digital technologies outcome. The outcome is decomposed into components which are trialled and tested, and this information is used to improve the functionality and quality of the final outcome.

Evidence that met the requirements of the standard split the outcome into components and used this to plan the implementation. Multiple project management tools were used in an authentic manner throughout the development process. Trialling different techniques and methods appropriate to the context and selecting the best one led to higher quality outcomes that were fit for purpose.

One common issue was insufficient evidence of the use of appropriate and recognised project management tools and techniques throughout the project. Evidence should show initial plans for the project and the continual use of tools and techniques, such as version control and an Agile or Waterfall methodology.

To secure Merit, the trialling and testing of multiple components is required. This information should be used to evidence improved functionality of the outcome beyond incremental development. In some cases, the use of templates constrained the evidence of trialling and effective project management.

Assessor Support


NZQA’s learning management system (Pūtake) offers 150+ easy to access courses, materials and products. These are designed to support teachers as assessors to improve their assessment of NCEA standards.

Online, subject-specific, bite-sized learning modules and short courses are now available to complement the traditional face-to-face workshops that NZQA offers. These online courses can be accessed using your Education Sector Logon. Courses available for Digital Technologies include:

  • Relevant Implications

Online Making Assessor Judgements workshops are also available throughout the year. These workshops are structured to guide teachers to improve their understanding of each grade level by examining several full samples of student work. The following standards are available for enrolment in 2023:

  • 91900: Conduct a critical inquiry to propose a digital technologies outcome
  • 91901: Apply user experience methodologies to develop a design for a digital technologies outcome
  • 91903: Use complex techniques to develop a digital media outcome
  • 91892: Use advanced techniques to develop a database
  • 91893: Use advanced techniques to develop a digital media outcome
  • 91896: Use advanced programming techniques to develop a computer program

Feedback from teachers for these workshops indicates that more than 90% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the content in the module was beneficial:

“This would be a really good department exercise to do in a meeting before marking the standard.”

“I found reading and analysing the extracts for evidence against level 8 in the curriculum very useful.”

The Assessor Practice Tool will be used to provide assessors with support for the new NCEA standards from 2024 onwards. Schools will receive further information about Phase Two of the Assessor Practice Tool in early 2023.

NZQA will continue to offer several non-subject-specific modules and workshops, designed to improve general assessment practice. The following modules and workshops will be available in 2023:

  • Assessment Approaches, an online workshop exploring different methods of assessment
  • Culturally Responsive Assessment
  • Assessment Guidance – Reviewing Your Practice
  • Tāku reo, tāku mahi – My voice, my work, a guide to managing authenticity
  • Why Less is More, a guide to reducing volumes of student evidence

We will also continue to run the Transforming Assessment Praxis programme, an online workshop relevant to all subjects which helps assessors learn about re-contextualising assessment resources and collecting evidence in different ways, in order to better meet the needs of students.

Check the NCEA subject pages on the NZQA website regularly, as more online modules, workshops and courses will be added throughout 2023.

Live and Face-to-face

The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by Assessment and Moderation 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."

Workshops, webinars or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to local, regional or national audiences. National Moderators are available to present at conferences, local or national hui or via live webinars. These services are available on request and subject to availability.

Contact NZQA

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

To give feedback on this report click on this link.

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