Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Agricultural & Horticultural Science 2022

Standard 93105


Part A: Commentary

This year’s assessment provided opportunity to candidates to articulate their understanding across styles, topics and perspectives. 

The questions were designed to assess a wide range of aspects of students’ understanding. They were designed to apply critical thinking rather than to write rote memorised answers even though the context was indicated in the assessment specifications.

Question One

The approach taken in this question (stimulus infographic, that provided the factors affecting sustainability), that candidates could then draw on for their own product) allowed all candidates to articulate their own insights. However, none of the responses were at an ‘outstanding scholarship’ level.

​Many candidates inadvertently took a Level 3 type approach and focussed in on the water/environmental aspects only. They did not discuss the threats and opportunities that the broad range of factors posed to the future sustainability of their chosen primary product in a perceptive manner.

Question Two

This question was on the impact of labour issues on productivity and it provided a full range of answers, regardless of the production system chosen. 

​Here the successful candidates with better responses were able to show genuine perception and insight when answering the question.

Question Three

This question was for producing for niche markets. While this topic had been signalled in the assessment  specifications, getting candidates to discuss the positives, negatives /challenges and opportunities that producers for a niche market faced, proved to be a well-chosen angle. Once again, a full range of answers were produced across a range of products with the better candidates able to produce coherent, insightful responses. 

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • provided answers that were well structured, articulate, and contained evidence of a highly developed level of knowledge and understanding of their chosen primary production system
  • clearly demonstrated perception and understanding in their responses to the questions and not a rote learnt response
  • were able to distinguish between which factors/ideas/issues were to be considered ‘critical’ to the question and irrelevant facts.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • use the planning page effectively
  • provided a well-structured series of paragraphs/sections within their answer
  • used clear, correct statements along with appropriate and accurate data to back up their discussion 
  • discussed the questions effectively with perception and critical understanding of what was being asked
  • were generally able to answer two questions in the ‘Scholarship’ range  
  • were able to relate the questions to the whole primary production system – not just at the farm/production level.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • provided vague answers that lacked detail in either the information provided or the discussion of that information provided inaccurate or irrelevant data was presented
  • did not fully apply knowledge and understanding indicative of full engagement with the Level 3 Ag. Hort. Science course
  • made valid statements but were unable to link them to the relevant aspects of the production system or the intent of the question
  • were unable to answer at a scholarship level across more than one question – tending to identify significant gaps in their wider understanding of the product and the issues facing the production system. 

Subject specific comments

It is important that candidates draw on the wider ‘primary production system’ (as defined in the Ag. Hort. Science Scholarship Performance Standard) when answering the questions, as many are still confining their answers to the ‘production system’ as defined by Level 3. In doing so, they are not accessing the depth of contexts and examples that they are expected to at the scholarship level.

While the topic that is specified in 3.5 will often have relevance to scholarship, it generally only looks at the production level of sustainability and does not consider the whole system. These ‘off farm’ parts of the products ‘production system’ often provides the critical aspects that need consideration/discussion – as seen in question two.

Subject page


Previous years' reports

2021 (PDF, 128KB)

2020 (PDF, 111KB)

2019 (PDF, 77KB)

2018 (PDF, 74KB)

2017 (PDF, 42KB)

2016 (PDF, 42KB)




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