Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Religious Studies 2020

Standard 93001

Part A: Commentary

Scholarship examinations are designed to challenge students to adapt their own highly developed knowledge and skills to questions that are novel, nuanced, and exacting. All candidates for Scholarship Religious Studies had prepared in appropriate domains of Religious Studies, but the 2020 examination questions sorted out those who could adapt or found it too challenging to adapt their knowledge and skills to the specifics and implications of the questions.

The key to success was to determinedly address the chosen topic, and those candidates who thoroughly explored and answered the questions creatively and analytically were best placed to gain Outstanding Scholarship. The general display of good analytical and critical skills is promising in this first year of Scholarship Religious Studies, but of course there is a clear need to further strengthen these skills. 

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • set clear parameters and defined the terms of their essay tightly
  • integrated their own highly developed knowledge convincingly in response to the questions, which they explored and answered with freshness and flair
  • challenged the questions and assumptions the questions posed
  • wrote persuasively with authenticity and perception
  • had very strong structure and arguments in each paragraph and over the whole essay
  • demonstrated their own high-level thinking and reflection on knowledge that was well understood and synthesised
  • were able to extrapolate or see consequences and implications from one situation or context to another
  • were not dismissive of alternative points of view and were able to articulate these clearly and with empathy
  • considered the nuances and larger context of different views and debates
  • wrote an essay that was authoritative, seamless in flow, and had a powerful unity.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • produced a structured essay that was developed coherently and logically
  • showed understanding of the ideas and terms described
  • set parameters for their essay and/or defined the terms of the question (at the beginning or elucidated throughout the essay)
  • answered the questions asked and brought the essay to a clear conclusion to this effect
  • supplied information about the great thinkers chosen, but also engaged with these ideas, doing some of the following: making analytical statements; drawing comparisons; putting the thinkers into conversation with each other
  • considered other points of view; sometimes these were rival points of view to their own argument, or the views of the chosen thinkers
  • addressed the essay question, but also addressed the context in which the question was given
  • backed their analysis, arguments, and critical statements with evidence
  • considered at least two thinkers and brought in a range of fields to their discussion
  • showed how the thinkers, their ideas and/or their history related to each other
  • provided an analysis that showed their own thinking and understanding, and did not merely repeat the elements of the question.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • wrote descriptively rather than analytically
  • did not attempt to adapt prepared material to answer the questions
  • made no attempt to define the terms or set the parameters of the essay
  • made broad generalisations, assumptions and/or unsubstantiated claims
  • made no attempt to engage with alternative opinions or larger contexts
  • provided an argument that was unclear, confused, or incomplete
  • discussed only one thinker
  • expressed views without any discussion or evidence to support them
  • provided polemical arguments concerning personal beliefs.

Subject page

2020 is the first year for which an assessment report is available.

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