National Moderator's Reports

February 2023

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Download PDF: Geography National Moderator's Report 2023 (PDF, 192KB)

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 Geography.



91428: Analyse a significant contemporary event from a geographic perspective

This standard requires students to analyse the nature, planning, decision making and impacts of a significant contemporary event.

Evidence that met the requirements of the standard included why the event was significant, often relating to numbers attending and the impact of the event. One effective strategy seen in 2022 moderation was using an annotated map to outline the nature of the event. This can show the spatial nature of the event and the interaction between people and the environment.

The evidence provided for the planning and decision making involved in the event is most successful when it includes the major components of the consenting process, e.g. specific compliance regulations, and shows understanding of the sequential nature of the planning process. A comprehensive analysis will further develop the evidence of the planning and decision making process by evaluating it.

The quality of the analysis is weakened when a general account is given, rather than focus on a singular event. For example, a quality analysis would focus on the 2023 Rhythm and Vines event. Focusing on the single event means more detailed event specific evidence can be provided.

91430: Conduct geographic research with consultation

This standard requires students to conduct geographic research, with a focus on primary data when following the research process. Evidence for each component of the research process must be included.

At Level 3, the research should be student driven, which involves the development of the research aim and methodology. The evidence for planning the research should demonstrate understanding of the research process and the selected aim. Students can use a consultation opportunity to ensure that the aim is manageable, and that sufficient primary data can be collected to support analysis of the findings.

Through moderation, it is evident that effectively presented data results in more in-depth and critical analysis of the findings and concise, accurate conclusions. The skill of effectively combining data sets to address the aim and support analysis is expected at this level.

For example, when the aim has a spatial focus, effectively presented data could be reflected by a statistical map, which makes effective use of statistical data, or by adding photos and annotations to the map.

91431: Analyse aspects of a contemporary geographic issue

This standard requires students to analyse the nature, people’s responses, solutions and impacts of a contemporary geographic issue.

The selected contemporary geographic issue appears to have a significant impact on the quality of the analysis. When there is a clearly defined spatial dimension and students understand the causes of the geographic issue, they have a better opportunity to provide and justify viable solutions. Attempting to solve a geographic issue on a global scale rarely results in an in-depth or comprehensive analysis. To meet the standard, students must show how people’s perceptions of the issue and their values lead to their responses.

91432: Analyse aspects of a geographic topic at a global scale

This standard requires students to analyse a topic which is global in nature, explain the factors and/or processes that contribute to the described pattern and examine the significance for people. The focus of the standard is on the global pattern and this should be continued throughout the analysis.

Where the topic selected is clearly global in nature and a spatial pattern is evident, the quality of the analysis is usually sound. Without this, it is difficult for students to use the appropriate terminology to describe the spatial pattern and they are prevented from demonstrating their understanding of the related geography.

A relatively complex understanding of the topic is needed to enable students to provide the quality of evidence relating to the pattern and the factors and/or processes contributing to it. The in-depth analysis recognises the main factors/processes and any interactions that influence the spatial pattern.

For example, when using the topic of coral reefs at a global scale, effective analysis will explain interactions between water depth, temperature and solar radiation as contributing to the pattern, rather than examining each separately.

While use of case study evidence is required to demonstrate the global scale of the topic, it should be used to exemplify ideas being discussed, rather than each being examined in detail, which detracts from the requirement to analyse the topic at a global scale.

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 Geography include:  

  • Deeper Understanding
  • Research Planning
  • Variation in an Urban Pattern
  • Short course – Global Geographic Topics

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: 

  • Making Assessor Judgements (91430, 91432)

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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