Science - National Moderator's Report March 2019

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

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


Volume of Evidence Produced

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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.

In Science, teachers using the guidelines suggested in both the Clarifications and the Conditions of Assessment follow a good guide to expected evidence. Generally, evidence presented for the investigation standards in Science is beyond what the standard requires, and creates a workload issue for both students and teachers. For example, where students investigate the effects of carbon compounds as fuels on society, a teacher does not need to see students’ naming and drawing structural formulae for the first 10 alkanes as part of the task.

Group Work

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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.

At Level 1 Science, group work is encouraged, and the assessor should provide clear evidence that learners have achieved all aspects of the standard. Teachers who have met this requirement have provided, for example, a tick sheet, a cell phone video, or one-on-one chats as recorded evidence. If evidence is provided verbally, a teacher should include recorded evidence on which the final grade was decided. This could be an attested statement, recorded and signed by the teacher.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

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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.

At Level 1 Science, the integration of standards is encouraged. Assessment can occur where student evidence for more than one standard arises out of teaching and learning contexts. An example of this is where a context has provided sufficient evidence for students to be successfully demonstrating the requirements of both carbon compounds as fuels (90945) and the carbon cycle (90953).

Nature of Science (NOS)

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The Level 1 Science standards were written to reflect The Nature of Science (NOS) strand in the New Zealand Curriculum document. Students who achieved successfully at this level were able to investigate how scientists found out science knowledge and then how this knowledge is used by society. These students had a primary focus of investigating the implications of science knowledge on society. Investigation in this context was wide reaching, and covered all aspects of learners finding relevant science knowledge. This included experiments, research and meeting the scientist in person as possible examples of finding relevant science knowledge.

Conditions of Assessment

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The Conditions of Assessment produced by the Ministry of Education in 2016 recommend that “the collection of evidence for internally assessed standards should not use the same method as used in external standards, particularly if that method is using a time bound written examination. This could unfairly disadvantage students who do not perform well under these conditions.” Successful student evidence resulted where teachers showed awareness of the need to provide a range of opportunities to demonstrate their understanding.

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