National Moderator's Reports

March 2019

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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 2018.

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


Volume of Evidence Produced

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Some students produce an excessive volume of evidence. Students are not required to submit evidence beyond the criteria of the standard. It is appropriate for teachers to guide students to produce succinct evidence in response to the achievement criteria of the standard.

In English, this is sometimes the case for the Level 2 and 3 writing standards when using material from other standards. For example, an information literacy report submitted for a writing standard may be over 2,000 words. As this writing needs to be taken to publication standard, reworking of structure and language is generally needed so that it creates effects for the reader.

Occasionally students submit more evidence than is required for the personal responses for 90854 and 91106. Most students who meet 91106 are able to do so with individual text responses of about a page long. At Level 1, the responses are often shorter than this. When evidence is longer, it usually provides plot summary, and offers personal response to more aspects than are needed.

Excellence at Level 3

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There is some inconsistency in awarding Excellence. When making assessor decisions regarding Excellence, consideration needs to be given to the overall quality of the evidence. This is critical when making a judgement at the Merit/Excellence boundary.

Group Work

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Group work is an acceptable form of assessment, if appropriate to the standard. When submitting group work for moderation, the teacher needs to ensure there is evidence that each student has met the standard.

The contribution of each student can be tracked and presented in a variety of ways, such as written record of teacher observation, the division of workload into clearly defined tasks, a student worklog or video diary, recordings of teacher/student conferences, etc.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

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This refers to assessing multiple standards via one submission of student evidence. The assessment of standards may be integrated either within a subject or across subjects.

For external moderation, if the assessment is across subjects and the student evidence is physical, it can be sent on to the next subject moderator/s if required. If it is an online submission, the student evidence can be uploaded for each standard being moderated.

Some students have successfully utilised material that has been prepared for other English standards (and other subject areas). They have reworked it in order to produce an appropriate text type at publication standard for one of the writing standards.

Such material has generally required refocussing the content around an appropriate idea and purpose as well as using carefully selected language features to create specific effects and sustain reader interest.  For example, reports have been crafted into essays or feature articles or other appropriate text types from those listed in the standard.  

Writing Standards: Accuracy Requirements

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The wording in all the English writing Achievement Standards at all three NCEA levels and grades (except for Level 1 Achievement) is that the writing standards require learners to demonstrate ‘the accurate use of written text conventions (including spelling, punctuation, grammar) so that the writing contains at most minor errors.’

Evidence of the drafting process is rarely seen in external moderation. Occasionally teachers question whether the grade awarded is appropriate for the number of errors in a piece of student writing.

‘Accurate use’ is not a count of errors. It is about whether students demonstrate that they can use language conventions accurately ‘with minor editing’. If there are scattered errors throughout, could they be fixed, by themselves, in a timely way (10 to 15 minutes or so)? If not, then the errors are not minor.

If the error pattern shows that the student does not know a convention (run-on sentence structure is a frequent example) then the work is not accurate. Resubmission cannot take place after further teaching and learning in this situation, so such error patterns mean that the standard has not been met.

In 2018 the National Moderators delivered several workshops on this topic, including at the NZATE National Conference. A summary of this presentation is available in English in Aotearoa: A Coming of Age.

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