Field          Science


Revision of Level 3 Biology achievement standard 91603




Subject reference



Biology 3.3


The Ministry of Education (MoE) has revised the achievement standard listed above.


Date new version published                November 2019


Planned review date                              December 2020


Summary of revision and consultation process


This revision arose from the need for explanatory notes to use language more appropriate to the Biology domain.


The need for change was initially identified by a biology textbook writer, confirmed by Dr Alison Campbell of the University of Waikato, and approved by MoE.


The National Assessment Moderator has reviewed and accepted the changes also.


Main changes resulting from the revision


All changes are within the explanatory notes (EN) as follows:


Change to EN 2:

·         The word ‘adaptive’ was replaced by the word ‘selective’ in all three key criteria points.




What has changed (summary)


The word ‘adaptive’ in explanatory note 2 has changed to ‘selective’.


Practising biologists and the scientific literature use the terms ‘adaptive’ and ‘advantage’ independently but they are not used together in professional circles or literature.


Combining them into a concept (adaptive advantage) implies that the adaptation is the advantage, whereas it is only through being selected for, that a modified trait/phenotype becomes adaptive.


The term “selective advantage” IS used in professional biology and more accurately conveys the process of evolutionary change that leads to adaptation.