Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Earth & Space Science 2021

Standard 93104

Part A: Commentary

Successful Scholarship candidates showed methodical and careful examination technique especially regarding the careful reading and use of the resource material provided. Candidates demonstrated a good understanding of orographic rainfall and how it is affected by El Niño and La Niña in Q1.  Also, how past changing weather patterns would be preserved in sediment layers and could be used to analyse the past. In Q2, candidates displayed a good understanding of how gravity affects magma.  In Q3, they wrote good discussions about effects of sea level rise on thermohaline current and evaluated how sea ice and land ice can contribute to this. Integration of the resource into an answer was important and candidates synergized with their own ideas to form a final answer. Time management was required for a successful candidate to answer all questions to a high standard.

Successful candidates had prepared by expanding their general understanding of earth and space science including understanding of how El Niño and La Niña would affect orographic rainfall in the Southern Alps. Successful candidates had a broad understanding of earth and space science with some familiarity with physics, chemistry and biology. Their answers had an earth and space science focus without necessarily having in-depth information from other branches of science, physics for example, when discussing the effects of gravity on the moon’s magma.

Convincing and clear writing was important for candidates to convey their answers fully.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • used critical thinking to link and reference the resource to its fullest capacity. For example, discussing the implications of sea level rise and how this would affect our planet.
  • linked large ideas across whole questions
  • applied and extended their earth and space knowledge from levels 2 and 3 in the context of the question to enrich their answers rather than forcing any recalled concepts into the question
  • applied the nature of science to emphasise the importance of studying sediment cores for past climatic events and how cross correlation could work between relative and absolute dating methods
  • consistently answered each point present in the questions and the resource in an integrated manner
  • wrote in a clear, logical progression without significant errors.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • read the resource carefully and noted key words and points, for example, El Niño and La Niña in Q1
  • linked evidence given in the resource to the scale of geological events, showing integration of multiple aspects of the resource and gained understanding of the question in a wider aspect
  • wrote clearly and linked answers into a single essay
  • elaborated on the resource material with explanation and discussion
  • answered all questions to a sufficient depth and most often used the full time of the examination
  • wrote answers with minimal errors or key omissions
  • showed thorough understanding of the L2 and L3 earth and space curriculum, as well as thinking beyond the curriculum.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • only partially answered some or all of the questions
  • wrote answers which showed a lack of understanding of important and significant earth and space science concepts
  • produced answers that did not relate to the unique context of the question and the resources provided
  • repeated or paraphrased the resources provided without adding significant insight of their own
  • wrote answers that exhibited poor literacy skills.

Subject page


Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 110KB)

2019 (PDF, 162KB)

2018 (PDF, 94KB)

2017 (PDF, 43KB)

2016 (PDF, 192KB)

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