Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Agricultural & Horticultural Science 2021

Standard 93105


Part A: Commentary

Candidates who had a sound knowledge and understanding of their primary production systems (not just the ‘production’ part of the system) were provided with ample opportunity to articulate their understanding across a range of topics and perspectives.

Question One (new technologies) proved to be an excellent question where the candidates’ ability to discuss the technologies relevant to their selected production system was apparent.

Question Two (resilience to disruptive events) was not specifically signalled in the assessment specs as it is already part of Level 8 of the New Zealand Curriculum, but provided a genuine assessment of candidates’ deeper understanding (not just knowledge) of a selected primary production system. For many candidates, this was their weakest question.

Question Three would have seemed the most straight-forward of the three being closely aligned to the topic in AS91532. However, the introduction of the ‘management’ aspect into the question was overlooked by many candidates and they simply took a Level 3-type approach discussing tensions and implications.

All three questions generated ‘Outstanding’ answers across a range of candidates, and it was pleasing that there were more scripts in the 9 – 12 range than has been in previous years. Time did not seem to have been an issue for many candidates – indicating well-prepared candidates and sound examination planning.

The examination seemed to clearly and effectively distinguish those candiates at the scholarship standard and those who were not.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • provided answers that were well structured, articulated well, 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 that contained a lot of ‘fact’ but little unique thinking relevant to the question that has been asked

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • provided a well-structured series of paragraphs / sections within their answer
  • used clear, correct statements and appropriate, 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 score 2 questions in the ‘Scholarship’ range
  • related the questions to the whole primary production system – not just at the farm/production level.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • provided vague, shallow answers that lacked detail in either the information provided or the discussion of that information
  • presented inaccurate data, or no relevant data was provided.
  • did not fully apply knowledge and understanding that would be expected from a candidate who had fully engaged in 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

  • While it is understood that not all candidates that attempt this scholarship examination have completed the relevant Level 3 course / standards / learning, it is clear that for some schools and candidates this is an issue as there is a general lack of awareness of some of the basic concepts from many of these candidates. Some of the answers around dairying and automated milking systems exemplified this issue as the candidates’ responses indicated that they had studied this technology (as indicated in the specs) but had no idea how it was currently being applied in the New Zealand dairying sector and as a result, produced a discussion that was error-ridden.
  • It is important that candidates draw on the wider ‘primary production system’ (as defined in the AgHort Science Scholarship Performance Standard) when attempting the questions. Some candidates 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.

Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 42KB)

2017 (PDF, 42KB)

2018 (PDF, 74KB)

2019 (PDF, 77KB)

2020 (PDF, 111KB)

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