National Moderator's Reports

February 2023

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Download PDF: Media Studies National Moderator's Report 2023 (PDF, 211KB)

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 Media Studies.



91491: Demonstrate understanding of the meaning of a media text through different readings

To achieve this standard, students need to explain their understanding of a media text through the lens of two different readings.

Evidence seen in moderation that met the requirements of this standard selected two distinct different perspectives or theoretical viewpoints, e.g. a gender and auteur reading, and focused on explaining how identified aspects contributed to the overall meaning of the text.

Students who performed at Merit and Excellence were able to analyse the effect and/or evaluate the significance of these different readings on the text, the audience and/or society.

Issues arose where samples predominantly focused on providing a close reading, a description of the lens, an explanation of the context or an explanation of the wider issues raised by the media text. Evidence could have been strengthened by ensuring

responses focused on how the selected lens created meaning in the media text itself, before discussing the wider effects and implications of this on audiences and/or society.     

91494: Produce a design for a media product that meets the requirements of a brief

This standard requires students to produce a concept, treatment and pre-production materials that demonstrate design choices to meet the requirements of a brief, and evidence of reflection and/or refinement.

Evidence seen in moderation that clearly met the requirements of this standard included completed, detailed designs and plans as per the Explanatory Notes, and evidence of deliberate and explicit design choices to meet the requirements of the brief. This included evidence showing how ideas or plans were reworked or refined throughout the process.

Evidence that included treatments and pre-production materials requiring further development to clearly demonstrate how the practical aspects of the plan would ensure the delivery of a final product were unlikely to provide sufficient evidence to meet the standard. To strengthen student evidence, edited scripts, storyboards, production schedules, locations, sets, props and casting details; or detailed planning for both content and layout of print media, would be beneficial in ensuring that the evidence reflects expectations of curriculum level 8.

Further evidence of the selection of appropriate conventions for the media text type was also an issue for some samples. This could be better evidenced by including an exploration of the key conventions of the selected media product and detailing how they will be incorporated.

At level 8 of the curriculum, evidence of reflection and refinement to the creative and/or practical process to better deliver a completed product is required. Clear evidence of on-going reflection and refinement is needed, rather than including final versions or pre-production activities, a production log tracking progress, or summative reflections. Evidence of ongoing refection could include:

  • Colour coded annotations/revisions
  • Dated comments/amendments/notes
  • Draft version/s of concept/s, location planning/costuming, scripts, etc.
  • A detailed SWOT analysis including mitigating actions taken

91495: Produce a media product to meet the requirements of a brief

To achieve this standard, students must apply understanding of media conventions and technology to craft a media product that meets the requirements of a brief.

Evidence seen in moderation that successfully met the requirements of this standard demonstrated consistent control over both production technology and media conventions, and contained a completed media product that clearly matched the requirements of the brief. A range of media product types were produced this year, with film or an extended magazine feature being the two most popular choices.

Greater evidence of control over production technology would enable more students to better meet the standard. For film, applying technical aspects with more control is needed, including accurate framing and focus, smooth continuity editing, shot variety and consistent sound levels across transitions. For extended magazine features, further effective use of space and layout conventions and consistency of design across pages is required.

To better meet the standard, clear and adequate evidence of appropriate media conventions is required. For example, documentaries did not always employ a clear expository style, or it was unclear whether the intended text type of a magazine article was an Op-Ed, or feature article.

In addition, some film product samples did not meet the duration requirements specified in the brief.

91497: Write a media text to meet the requirements of a brief

This standard requires students to write a media text to meet the requirements of a brief, using appropriate conventions with control.

Evidence seen in moderation that clearly met the standard demonstrated consistent control over the conventions of the selected media text and met the requirements of the brief.

In some instances, further control over the conventions of media writing could better enable the evidence to meet the requirements of the standard. For example, when writing screenplays, further use of industry-wide conventions such as scene headers, parentheticals, font choice and size was needed. When writing feature articles, a tight narrative, seamless incorporation of primary research, student conducted interviews and selected quotations could have strengthened the samples. Irrespective of the media text chosen, the accurate use of spelling, punctuation and grammar is also required to meet the standard.

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 Media Studies include:

  • 91252 - Unpacking the Concept
  • 91252 - Exploring the moving image treatment
  • 91252 - Exploring the Plan and Practicalities

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 (91494, 91495)

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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