National Moderator's Reports

March 2019

Show: Geography Homepage
Download PDF: Geography National Moderator's Report (PDF, 33KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Geography standards in 2018.

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


Volume of Evidence Produced

Back to contents

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.

This was strongly evident in much of the Geography work submitted in 2018 across all levels. Clearer guidelines need to be provided for students.

There are several common factors contributing to large volumes of evidence:

  • students provide irrelevant topic evidence rather than focusing on demonstrating conceptual understanding
  • sometimes the chosen topic/issue/aim is too broad to allow an effective response; and
  • the standard indicates a plural (as with viewpoints or factors/processes) and students are not guided to make a succinct response.

Strategies used by teachers who successfully manage the volume of evidence include careful consideration and guidance given with the selection of contexts. For example, focusing the geographic issue on a clearly defined spatial dimension will encourage a more detailed analysis with targeted solutions.

When analysing aspects of a global topic, students are encouraged to select one part of the topic. For example, focusing on the spatial patterns of either the source or the destination areas with migration topics, and just one aspect of broad topics like climate change, rather than the whole topic.

When teachers promote the planning of answers, this tends to result in more concise cohesive responses with effective integration of case study evidence. It reduces repetition and encourages students to remain focused on the requirements of the standard. Planning is an important component of successful geographic research and includes the formulation of an aim.

Ensuring students focus on a well-structured research aim which identifies the spatial dimension and the variable(s) to be examined, will define the breadth of the research and in turn the volume of the report. For example, a comparative study needs only two sites, and as the standard requires an explanation or analysis of the findings, using two or three related processes/variables would be sufficient.

Excellence at Level 3

Back to contents

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.

The indicator in the achievement criteria for Excellence at Level 3 is ‘analyse comprehensively’, and this is further unpacked to include phrases like ‘critically analyse’, ‘evaluate’ and ‘critically evaluate’.

Analysis requires students to integrate, synthesise and apply geographic knowledge and skills. To comprehensively and critically analyse, the evidence will be logically developed, showing precision and clarity of thought. Where appropriate, case study evidence, theory, models, diagrams, etc., will be effectively integrated and explicitly referred to, adding depth to the response.

Excellence level thinking is apparent in 91431 and 91433 when students had critically reviewed courses of action. This involved considering the consequences and implications of each viable option to provide a fully justified recommended solution to a geographic problem or issue.

These students demonstrate critical thinking skills when evaluating social and economic significance/impacts of events or topics, and evaluating processes followed or techniques used in research and spatial analysis standards.

Responses confirmed at an Excellence level showed insight and critical thinking. Students demonstrated judicious selection of evidence, examination of interactions and relationships, and thinking beyond the resource material. To reach the level required the student needs to have profound understanding of the geography involved, including concepts and skills.

Group Work

Back to contents

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.

Group work is only explicitly mentioned in the geographic research standards where it relates to the collection of data. This approach enables students to have access to more extensive data than they would be able to collect on their own within the time available.

The only issue evident through moderation is when students continue to work collaboratively on aspects of the standard that are expected to be completed individually.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

Back to contents

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.

While evidence showing cross subject integration of standards has not yet been submitted for moderation, integration of geographic research with other Geography internal standards is becoming more common. Where an integrated approach is used, students demonstrate a deeper understanding of the topic or issue and more effectively present their data as they use it to support their decisions.

The success of integrated assessment relies on activity instructions that enable the specific requirements of both standards to be met.

Geographic Contexts

Back to contents

Students’ ability to demonstrate geographic understanding can be seriously compromised if the selected context is not clearly geographic in nature with a defined spatial dimension.

Contexts that work well tend to have common characteristics, such as links to the local geographic environment and topics that are integrated into the course of study. Both of these ensure that students understand the geography involved and reflect a high degree of student interest. When students select a context, teacher guidance needs to be given to confirm its suitability.

While Geography is identified as an interdisciplinary subject, students need to approach the activity from a geographic perspective. This involves showing understanding of how people interact with environments and the consequence of that interaction.

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us