National Moderator's Reports

February 2022

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Download PDF: Languages National Moderator's Report (PDF, 147KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internally assessed Languages standards in 2021. It provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Using Internal Assessment Evidence Gathering Templates

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The purpose of the Internal Assessment Evidence Gathering Template is to help teachers identify and record evidence of student achievement seen or heard within the teaching and learning programme. These templates do not signal a reduction in what is accepted for each grade, but rather a means of summarising evidence for reporting achievement when more formal assessment has not been possible.

These templates must be viewed in conjunction with the assessment advice forwarded to schools, in order to ensure that valid, credible and reliable assessment has occurred before the standard is awarded. Further guidance can be found here.

Where evidence gathering templates have been used to identify evidence in lieu of a formal assessment opportunity, these should not be sent in for moderation.

For Languages moderation, templates need supporting evidence from the teacher recording what has been seen or heard. As languages have speaking standards, it may be easier for a teacher to record interactions online, or have students record and send them, rather than try to recapture sufficiently detailed evidence at a later date. If students provide recordings of conversations or interactions, these should be forwarded for moderation.

Assessor Support

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The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by Assessment and Moderation Services 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, Assessment and Moderation Services will continue delivering this support model in 2022. Workshops or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to regional or national audiences.

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

New online subject-specific short courses introduced this year have complemented the traditional workshops. These can be accessed using your Education Sector Logon. Courses available for Languages include:

  • Making Assessor Judgements – French (91119, 91547)
  • Unpacking the Writing Standard
  • The Interact Standard.

Check the NCEA subject pages on the NZQA website regularly, as more online courses will be added throughout 2022.

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


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There continue to be issues that raise doubts about the authenticity of some of the work submitted. The following are instances outlined by the moderators, in all languages, which should cause teachers to question the student evidence:

  • Error-free work. Non-native speakers are very unlikely to produce language which is completely error free.
  • The use of a substantial amount of complex language (often also error-free) which goes beyond what has been taught and/or goes well beyond what is expected at the specific curriculum level.
  • Language which is clearly uplifted from an outside source, e.g. the internet.
  • When the pronunciation and presentation are not clear in a spoken standard, yet the vocabulary, language and language structures used are very advanced.

Native speakers

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The standards are designed for second language standards. Native speakers are not guaranteed the grade because they are fluent speakers of the language. They must still meet all the criteria outlined. For example, in the Interact standard they must still show a repertoire of language strategies to maintain and sustain the interaction.

Interact standard

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Issues identified for this standard include:

  • Students who are holding scripts of their interaction, or supporting notes, and refer to them during the interaction. This is a standard which does not allow notes.
  • Students who are doing pre-learnt roleplays. Natural interactions will have markers such as pausing, making errors, seeking clarification, etc. In a roleplay these are missing. This means the intent and criteria of the standard have not been met and a Not Achieved should be awarded.
  • Interactions which have been rehearsed and/or scripted prior to the assessment (indicators of this are the same as the above bullet point).
  • Teacher-led interviews. In these instances, the teacher controls the interaction and is often the predominant speaker. In some interactions, the students say very little. Where the student is only able to ask and answer questions, this is evidence of only one strategy and therefore they cannot achieve higher than an Achieved grade. The best interactions submitted for moderation are between students, and in natural contexts.

Presentation standard

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The grade for this standard is not dependant solely on language content. Features of delivery are a criterion of the standard and will influence the grade awarded, dependant on the extent to which they hinder or facilitate understanding.

Students may have cue cards for this standard, and may be disadvantaged compared to their counterparts elsewhere if not allowed them. Students may not, however, read their presentation in its entirety.

Digital presentations may be recorded outside the classroom. However, teachers need to ensure that the conditions have still been met. There is an increasing number of students who appear to be reading their script directly (in its entirety) from the computer screen. To ensure this is not the case, teachers need to direct students to sit back from the screen and make sure their cue cards can be seen.

Writing standard

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The writing sent for moderation needs to reflect the genuine ability of the student to produce written texts in the chosen language. Increasingly, work is of such a level in both accuracy and complexity that it does not appear to reflect a genuine second-language speaker at whichever level is being represented.

Teacher feedback on this standard should only be at the level of the standard criteria (not language errors), and given only once. Any resources used should be cited and teachers may need to check these, especially internet sites. Further information on this can be found in the writing standard clarifications document on the NZQA website Languages page.

This standard requires a variety of text types. Whilst different language content is generally the paramount concern, where the text type is exactly the same, e.g. two letters, then the criteria has not been met.

Whilst the standard allows for the use of resources, the student must remain the author of the text. The use of online translators is not acceptable. Websites should be cited so that authenticity can be verified.


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Changes to moderation requirement for 2022

Changes have been made to what schools are required to send in for moderation in 2022. Only 6 samples of student evidence must be sent in, one sample each at N, A, M, E, and two more from A, M, E. There will be no level 1 external moderation, unless requested by the school.

Outcome statements in external Moderation Reports

Moderation Report outcomes are reported using consistency statements. These are not based on a numerical assessment of how many grades the moderator agreed with, but on a qualitative assessment of how the overall judgements align with the standard.

Consistent” is used where clear and accurate understanding of all (or most) aspects of the standard have been demonstrated. There may be some misunderstandings, but these are minor.

Not yet consistent” does not imply major issues on the part of the assessor. This is used where a clear understanding is shown of some aspects of the standard, and any issues can be identified and corrected using the feedforward in the Moderation Report.

Not consistent” is used where there are significant issues with the assessor decisions. This may include issues such as assessment materials not being at the correct curriculum level, or when the intent or criteria of the standard have been misunderstood.

Moderating assessment materials

For most moderation submissions in 2021, the assessment materials were not moderated, as most assessment tasks were variations of the NZQA Approved tasks developed by the Ministry of Education.

NZQA welcomes the submission of innovative assessment tasks. An overview of case studies showcasing how innovative assessment practices have been implemented in schools can be found on the Spotlights homepage, with the full case studies on the Future State section of the NZQA website.

Digital submissions

Files for the students in speaking standards need to be clearly labelled with a file name that matches the data uploaded into the report on the External Moderation App. For example, files are often sent that are named by student name and the report requires students to be labelled as learner A, B, C, etc. Information in the comment box can also identify the student.

Within each file it needs to be clear which student is speaking. Video recording is the best way to clearly identify students. In this case, write an identifier in the comment box in the student evidence section, e.g. “In video 1 Learner A is on the left and is wearing the blue jacket”.

In audio-only evidence, it is insufficient to simply say who speaks first. Several sentences in English, detailing some of the points mentioned, or timecodes of the speaker at various places, are examples of the way students can be sufficiently identified.

The quality of the recording needs to be sufficient that speakers can be clearly heard. Background noise or poor sound recordings can make understanding difficult and, in this case, moderation cannot take place.

Evidence requirements

To meet either of the portfolio standards a minimum of two pieces of evidence are required, and therefore two pieces of evidence are also the minimum required for moderation. Only the final copies of writing should be submitted.

There are clear guidelines on expected evidence length in the supporting documentation for these standards, provided in the clarifications documents on the NZQA website subject page. Very lengthy evidence is unnecessary. The best evidence seen in moderation is concise and organised, and adheres to the quality versus quantity guideline.

Please click on this link to give your feedback about this report.

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