Assessment Report

    New Zealand Scholarship
Biology 2019

Standard 93101

Part A: Commentary

Successful candidates were able to use their board biological knowledge integrating the relevant information in the context of the question.

Most candidates needed to have planned more effectively and should have answered all the parts of the question rather than focussing on one particular aspect.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • planned detailed response that covered all aspects of the question
  • included the appropriate use of a wide range of relevant biological terms correctly
  • correctly identified and discussed the fact that despite lowered sea levels, a sea crossing would have still been required to reach Sahul
  • made insightful inferences that showed a comprehensive understanding of the question
  • displayed a broad biological knowledge by linking concepts to relevant material outside of  the scope of the question
  • wrote concisely and communicated their ideas in a coherent response
  • correctly interpreted all aspects of the question
  • did not include irrelevant material in their response
  • discussed supporting evidence both for and against their justified opinion.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • developed a plan for at least two of their three responses
  • correctly used relevant biological terms
  • justified their ideas using evidence from the resource
  • supported their answers with their broader biological knowledge
  • made statements that clearly contrasted the situations for the different populations
  • correctly analysed the data supplied in the question
  • demonstrated a clear understanding of core ecological and evolutionary concepts such as genetic drift, co-evolution and parasitism
  • provided a well-developed response either for one key component of all three questions or for both components of two of the three questions
  • correctly used the terms species and subspecies when discussing the possum populations
  • linked ideas together in a logical way to enable them to make concluding summative statements that had been justified in the body of the essay
  • justified their ideas and used data from the resource as evidence
  • identified and explained the Founder Effect for the introduction of possums into New Zealand and the subsequent establishment of island
  • made comparisons between Australia and New Zealand
  • correctly identified co-evolution and described this
  • used the data given to explain the difference between cichlids that co-exist with catfish vs those that did not
  • identified the extinction of megafauna was due to overhunting by H. sapiens
  • Identified that H. sapiens likely cooked and ate Genyornis eggs as indicated by burnt eggshells and that they had controlled use of fire
  • concluded that H. sapiens in Island Southeast Asia /Flores may have contributed to the extinction of H. floresiensis
  • clearly justified why the Madjedbebe evidence was evidence of H. sapiens and unlikely to be other hominins.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • failed to support their statements with evidence or data from the resource material
  • made correct statements but did not justify their ideas
  • included a large amount of irrelevant material in their answer. For example:mincluded an in depth comparison of the Replacement vs Multiregional hypotheses
  • discussed the evolution of the two cichlid species through allopatric speciation
  • outlined the evolutionary patterns of the different species of possum and glider in Australia
  • repeated a large amount of the resource material in their response
  • did not account for the impact of genetic drift on possum populations in New Zealand
  • gave generalised statements about the different species, but did not clearly compare or contrast these statements. For example: described the factors that impacted the reproductive success of one cichlid species, but did not clearly contrast it with the second species
  • described the factors that impacted possums in Australia, but failed to make clear comparisons to possum populations in New Zealand
  • included a large amount of irrelevant material about bipedalism and the evolution of endocranial features of Homo sapiens
  • incorrectly linked the changing levels of Sporormiella to the domestication of animals, which showed a lack of understanding of when key events in human cultural evolution occurred.
  • confused the terms interspecific and intraspecific
  • did not understand the difference between species and sub species, and used the terms incorrectly
  • referred to a difference between populations/species, but did not clarify what that difference was
  • made statements about a cichlid, but were not clear which species they were referring to
  • assumed that cichlid and catfish were capable of interbreeding
  • described the Sporormiella fungus as a food source for humans
  • talked about the colonising humans simply using fire,  rather than the controlled use of fire
  • incorrectly identified possums as a key predator of the kiwi.

Subject page


Previous years' reports

2018 (PDF, 95KB)

2017 (PDF, 42KB)

2016 (PDF, 192KB)

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