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 English 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.

Collecting evidence

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

Student wellbeing

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Successful learner evidence typically reflects awareness of student wellbeing.

Where students are guided in how to achieve concise presentation of assessed materials, the quality of their responses tends to be lifted. When students are aware of the concept that quantity is not an indicator of quality, this helps to reduce workload pressures.

In terms of student wellbeing, it is timely to consider the importance of positive contexts and guidance regarding potentially ‘dark themes’ or inappropriate material. While the importance of engaging with a wide range of texts and ideas is not disputed, the mental and physical wellbeing of students in their learning and assessment should be a significant consideration in programmes.

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

Creating visual text standards: 91103 and 91477

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There is a range of submission types for the Level 2 and Level 3 ‘Create a […] visual text’ standards. These standards assess the ‘Making Meaning: Presenting’ strand and are a progression from the Level 1 ‘Create a visual text’ standard, both in the requirement for increasingly sophisticated ideas and the fluent use of a wider range of visual language features.

There is moderator agreement with visual texts that commonly:

  • operate primarily in the visual mode – ideas are sustained through the visual elements
  • sustain ideas at the appropriate curriculum level
  • show a controlled, precise use of a wide range of visual language features
  • show visual coherence over the whole text – this is part of using visual language fluently
  • use images sourced from elsewhere as a starting point – manipulation and incorporation of the student’s own visual work is needed.

Submissions that are not yet at the standard commonly:

  • communicate ideas primarily through written or oral language
  • present straightforward ideas
  • use visual language features without precision
  • do not yet have visual coherence across the whole text
  • rely mostly or entirely on images from other sources, without much or any manipulation of them.


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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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