National Moderator's Reports

February 2023

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Download PDF: Social Studies National Moderator's Report 2023 (PDF, 170KB)

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 Social Studies.



Points of view, values and perspectives in Level 3 Social Studies

Each of the three internally assessed Achievement Standards at NCEA level 3 require students to consider points of view, values and perspectives. While this criterion differs slightly in each of the standards, the essence of the requirement remains the same.

In 2022 there was a general improvement in most of the evidence provided for this criterion. However, it continues to be the most prominent reason for grade disagreement during external moderation.

Students that used the prompts provided on the clarification document specifically addressing this requirement, or closely followed the structure exemplified in the short online course on Pūtake ‘Points of view’, were able to clearly meet the expectations for this aspect of the standard.

Students that successfully address points of view, values and perspectives first clearly state the point of view on the context being discussed and then identify and explain the values that shape the viewpoint. Finally, they identify and explain the specific worldview or ideology that underpins the position taken by the group or individual whose perspective is being discussed. It is fundamental at level 3 for students to be able to discuss in depth the way the specific ideology underpins the perspective.

In addition to providing the necessary depth when discussing points of view, values and perspectives, students should be encouraged to specifically address the nuanced differences of the standards as follows:

  • 91597: There should be a clear link between how the described point of view and the values and perspectives of the individual/group underpin the action in society.
  • 91599: The points of view, values and perspectives of others and the student’s own viewpoint need to be demonstrated, and consideration of these must be shown in the student’s justification for the social action(s) chosen.
  • 91600: The issue needs to be described from different points of view, values, and perspectives.

91599: Examine personal involvement in a social action(s) that aims to influence policy change(s)

This standard requires students to plan, carry out and examine their personal involvement in a social action.

At Level 8 of the curriculum, careful consideration of an appropriate social action(s) is required. The social action must be substantial enough to:

  • have the potential to influence policy change
  • allow the student to plan their personal involvement in the social action at a depth that reflects expectations at level 8 of the curriculum
  • give justification for the chosen social action(s).

At Level 8 of the curriculum, social actions should extend beyond creating posters, signing an existing petition and posting about the issue on social media. While these actions may form part of the overall social action campaign undertaken by students, as stand-alone actions they are inadequate for the requirements of this standard.

If students are joining an existing social action (such as attending a school climate strike protest), they should consider how to maximise their own participation to augment the social action undertaken.

For example, in addition to attending the protest, they might make placards to distribute at the strike, advertise the strike at school and on social media, organise a contingent from school to attend the protest, and help to plan the logistics for this.

Successful evidence seen via external moderation in 2022 that clearly met the requirements of the standard required students to look at a local or school policy. The advantage of this was that effective social actions could be planned and carried out with the clear possibility of influencing or introducing policy.

For example, one school had a group of students who wanted changes made to the existing uniform policy for female students (to allow for a more gender-neutral uniform). Their social action included presenting a case for policy reform at a school Board of Trustees meeting. Their presentation to the school board included a student and whānau petition for change, and their presentation was based on a schoolwide survey regarding student attitudes on the uniform policy that had been conducted by the group of students.

91600: Examine a campaign of social action(s) to influence policy change(s)

The key requirement of this standard is for students to examine a campaign of social action(s) focused on influencing specific policy change.

The campaign chosen for this standard is essential in helping to ensure students can achieve the standard at each grade. Campaigns that clearly articulated the policy change they hoped to effect through social action more easily allowed the student evidence to meet the requirements of the standard. Some successful examples seen in external moderation during 2022 include:

  • The CHRF Hong Kong Protests (to stop the proposed 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill, and later for democratic reform)
  • Protests against the Taliban (to repeal restrictions put on women)
  • ‘Everytown’ campaign in the United States for gun law reform

Each these examples have clear policy objectives (this could be implementation, prevention, or reform of policy), and enabled the students to directly address the requirements of 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 Social Studies include:

  • Bite-sized module: 91040 – What are we assessing?
  • Short course: Points of view

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:

  • 91282: Describe personal involvement in a social action related to rights and responsibilities
  • 91283: Describe a social action that enables communities and/or nations to meet responsibilities and exercise rights

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.”

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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