Media Studies - clarification production standards

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Clarification of Assessment of Media Studies process and production standards, levels 1-3.

  • AS 90993, 90994, 90996 (level 1)
  • AS 91252, 91253, 91255 (level 2)
  • AS 91494, 91495, 91497 (level 3)

Updated August 2013

This page provides generic support for teachers on assessment of the production standards.

Standard specific information can be also be found in the clarifications documents for levels 1, 2 and 3.

  Level 1Level 2Level 3

Design and plan

AS90993 (1.5 )

Produce a design and plan for a media product using a specified range of conventions

AS91252 (2.5)

Produce a design and plan for a developed media product using a range of conventions

AS91494 (3.5) 3

Produce a design for a media product that meets the requirements of a brief


AS90994 (1.6)

Complete a media product using a specified range of conventions, from a design and plan

AS91253 (2.6)

Complete a developed media product from a design and plan using a range of conventions

AS91495 (3.6)

Produce a media product to meet the requirements of a brief

Write media text

AS90996 (1.8)

Write media texts for a specific target audience

AS91255 (2.8)

Write developed media text for a specific target audience

AS91497 (3.8)

Write a media text to meet the requirements of a brief

Planning for assessment

Deciding on the product

The production standards are designed to step up the skill level expectations from level to level. It is recommended that students are given the opportunity to develop skills in one medium across 2 or 3 NCEA levels. Across 2-3 years a student will build depth in their production skills, moving from guided, scaffolded support in year 11(level 1), to greater independence and control of media conventions in years 12 and 13 (levels 2 and 3), with the teacher taking more of a mentoring role in the later years.


Some possible production progressions:


  Level 6Level 7Level 8


Learning Objective 6.3:

Explore the use of media language to construct media

NCEA Level 1

 Learning Objective 7.3:

Apply knowledge of media conventions and technology to create media

NCEA Level 2

Learning Objective 8.3:

Apply understanding of media conventions and technology to craft media

NCEA Level 3

Moving Image

Students create /produce a 1-2 minute commercial to be shown at a whole school assembly, promoting a charity their school house is supporting.

Students create/ produce the opening 3-5 minutes of a psycho thriller film to be shown at a senior school multimedia showcase.

Students create / produce a 5-10 minute short film. They must find a quote which encapsulates a key theme of their film, and reference at least 3 films which influence or reflect the style. The film will be played at a regional Media Students film showcase.


Students create a 1-2 minute news report on a school event or issue for the school radio/intranet

Students create a 3-5 minute documentary segment /podcast focusing on someone from the local community with an interesting job for the careers section of the schools LMS.

Students create a 45 minute magazine style show around a theme or topic of interest to the local community


Students create a photo essay combining images and text focusing on a community member’s work or interests beyond the school gates. To be displayed at a school multimedia exhibition.

Students create a 2 page spread for the school community magazine focusing on a school leaver who has achieved/excelled locally or nationally.

Students create a 4 page magazine spread for a community magazine, focusing on an issue or topic of significance for the local community.

Groups and/or individuals for the design and plan and production standards?

Students may work as individuals or in a group. Group sizes should not exceed 3 students and students must show their individual contribution to the design, planning and production of the media product as students are awarded grades based on individual performance.

Teachers should take into account whether a student is working in a group or individually when setting briefs so that there is equity in what is expected of students for achievement. For example:

  • Products of 30 seconds length at level 1, such as television or radio advertisements, may not be long enough for all 3 students to demonstrate their technical abilities.
  • A longer product or a series of advertisements or scenes may be required to ensure that students have enough material for assessment.
  • Alternatively, students may shoot collaboratively, but complete their own edit of the footage.

Individual contributions for group products can be tracked by a combination of:

  • Teacher observation.
  • The division of workload into clearly defined tasks. For example, the standard can be broken into clearly defined tasks and the students can each complete one of the tasks.
  • The completion of the concept and treatment as individuals, and then as a group, the choosing of one of the group’s concepts, which will then be developed  (storyboards, location shots, permissions, shooting script, graphics etc).
  • The use of production logs that identify the specific contribution of each individual. Students need to specify exactly what they did in a detailed way in their production logs, rather than just listing roles. 

Assigning roles in the design, planning and production process. Non-technical roles (such as producer, location scout, actor etc.) cannot be assessed or given credits, although any such contributions will be of benefit to the overall success of the media product. Students therefore, need to ensure that they contribute to a variety of technical roles (eg cinematographer, sound editor, visual editor).

Designing the brief

A brief is a document which sets out the parameters for the design, plan and eventual production of a media product. These parameters include but are not limited to:

  • aim
  • target audience
  • duration/Length
  • medium
  • genre
  • budget
  • group size
  • equipment available
  • due date.


The aim would be a clear intention for the media product:  to inform, educate, entertain, or demonstrate. The action verb should be specific. Using something like ‘engage’, while that is part of the standard, is not nearly as quantifiable or helpful when developing a media product. See the example below.

Target Audience

This should be clear and succinct. It may relate to the purpose – as in a short film for a school-based film festival – but there would be some indication as who that audience is likely to be.


While there are usually only minimum guidelines provided within the ENs of the achievement standard, it is important for the teacher to provide a clear parameter of what is acceptable. For example, the print option could include an indication of the number of pages and/or word count.

Integrating three standards

The following is an example of a teacher’s brief for students at level 2. It is the brief for  2.5, 2.6 and 2.8.

Managing Assessment

Assessing reworking and refinement of ideas

Teachers have generally found that it is best to assess both the pre-production and production standards at the same time, as students often move from one to the other as they rework and reconsider their various design choices.

It is good practice to regularly check and provide students with constructive feedback as they develop their design and plan: these checks will help provide teachers with evidence of reflection and reworking which is needed for 1.5: "demonstrate evidence of development of ideas" (Merit) and "effective crafting of ideas" (Excellence). There are similar requirements for 2.5 (reflection/ reworking/refinement/ongoing refinement).

It is also to be expected that some student plans will not enable the creation of an appropriate media product and alternative designs will need to be provided for the student/s.

Measuring audience appeal

The production standards at Level 1-3 require students to produce a product that has a measure of audience appeal. Teachers need to consider how this will be assessed when awarding a grade so that the assessment decision is based on clear evidence. A possible method includes the following steps:

  • At least two checkpoints throughout the production process where students seek feedback on their production from audience members.
  • At the end of the design step, students pitch their completed design to selected members of the target audience for feedback and again, towards the end of the production stage, before the final edit.
  • The responses and feedback can be used to refine ideas and underpin reworking as students move through the planning stage. Students would include audience feedback in their design and planning materials as evidence.
  • The responses/feedback provide evidence for any changes students make to their final product to ensure it has impact on the audience/audience appeal. This feedback should be submitted with the final product and planning materials.

Adapting TKI tasks

When adapting an existing TKI task, teachers should ensure all aspects of the brief are outlined, as listed in EN5.

  • Incorporating a range of key features of the medium and/or genre should include the medium as well as the genre, especially if using the 2.5A TKI task. For example, for horror film trailers, students often outline horror conventions yet they do not incorporate the conventions of film trailers into their design and plan. These conventions are of equal importance for the product.
  • The length of the product and intended audience are important instructions, as are the conventions and style requirements, some of which can be specified in the brief. For example, film trailers must contain the film title, generally a voiceover and not give away the ending. These provide useful parameters within which students must design and plan their product.
  • The requirement for students to conduct surveys of their target audience appears useful in providing students with a clear purpose and justification for the stylistic choices in their concept and treatment. The target audience should underpin the student’s design choices. Students must provide evidence of how the design and finished product has audience appeal at NCEA Levels 1,2 and 3. Students might show their completed rough cut of a film or final edited version of a magazine spread to members of their target audience, and use feedback to refine their product before final submission.
  • Milestone dates and resources required to complete pre-production activities refer to a production schedule and planning resources listed under EN7. For film, cast, wardrobe and props lists should be included. Permissions for all talent and locations also need to be included. For print, permissions from interviewees and for photos need to be included. For radio, permissions from guests and copyright considerations also must be secured.
  • General potential practicalities and copyright considerations can also be suggested in the brief to ensure these are covered by students in their plan. Practicalities are outlined in EN8 of the standard. Some student samples try to address practicalities in the contingency column of a production schedule, for example, including a back up day for filming. This does not sufficiently identify practicalities. The practicality may involve the weather, availability of cast/crew/transport/equipment or time restrictions. This needs to be identified specifically. For example, we only have one day when we can film the playground scene as this is the only day the cameras and the three actors are available.
  • For Merit, the student must consider the impact of the practicalities on the production process. For example, if the weather is too sunny on the day we film at the playground, we may not get the gloomy lighting we intended which may affect the mood of the opening scene.
  • For Excellence, the student must also outline strategies to overcome potential obstacles. For example, if we do not manage to film on an overcast day, we may need to make the film black and white for the opening scene. Otherwise, there is a more shady corner of the park which has a park bench (instead of the swing) where we could easily film the scene.
  • Practicalities and potential obstacles should be addressed as forward planning documents rather than reflective documents of ‘what went wrong/difficulties encountered’ at the end of the production process.
  • Reflection and reworking of ideas will continue to be reworked and reflected upon after the media product has been completed. Regular checkpoints with the teacher as well as regular updates on the student’s production logs are designed to give students opportunity to reflect on their design choices and rework these where necessary.
  • Production logs should go beyond description (a diary) and should outline the student’s individual contribution, especially to technical tasks such as camerawork, sound, lighting and editing. Teachers should discourage students from using ‘we’ in their individual production logs so that the specific contribution of each individual can be identified.

Separating the two standards – the design (90993, 91252, 91494) and the product (90994, 91253, 91495)

  • In some cases, a student’s design and plan (eg.91252) does not achieve but the media product is at Achieved, Merit or Excellence. If the plan and design does not achieve, this does not automatically mean the product cannot meet Achievement. The difference between the levels of achievement for the product standard, (eg.91253) is in the product: developed at Achieved, crafted at Merit, integrated at Excellence. It is possible, therefore, for a student to be awarded a Not Achieved plan and an Excellent product.

Possible scenarios are:

a) It may still be a design and plan - just not complete and therefore Not Achieved for 91252. For example, the design and plan may include a concept, treatment and justification, however, the planning materials may be incomplete.

b) The design and plan may be complete, however, the student may not have shown sufficient evidence of reflection and reworking of ideas to achieve 91252

c) If the student does not achieve 91252, often the reasons for not meeting achievement need to be addressed to be able to complete a media product. For example, a student who did not include a script or outline key conventions will have to ensure that these have been completed before and/or during the 91253 assessment.

  • Some schools may choose not to offer the design and plan standard, but offer only the product standards (90994, 91253, 91495. In this case, students must still complete a design and plan which includes the elements outlined in the Explanatory Notes of each of the 90994 and 91253 standards.

For moderation

In order for moderators to check that the product "reflects the details of the design and plan" (EN2), it is recommended that the work for 1.5 / 2.5 is sent with all 1.6 / 2.6 submissions.

There is no need to separate out student work. Both standards can be sent together, even if only one of the two standards is required for moderation.

If the students did not use their own original concept for the production, a brief concept, treatment and evidence of pre-production planning, such as storyboards, should be included to demonstrate that the students were working from a design and plan.

It is acceptable to send in the url for blogs or websites with student generated work.

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