Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Geography 2017

Standard 93401


Part A: Commentary

At Scholarship standard, the structure of essay is important. Questions needed to be unpacked and well-planned to show a clear development of ideas. 

The sophistication, integration of ideas and insight came with strong essay structure. The introduction is crucial as it guided the reader by gaining attention and introducing the topic. The response needs to be concise, clearly expressing their position on the issue. Essay structuring is an on-going teaching and learning goal and certainly requires attention for success at this level.

It is recommended that diagrams are used effectively and are referred to during the development of their ideas. Successful candidates presented essays with relevant diagrams, that added to the discussions or arguments with specific evidence as annotations. Written answers are enhanced by relevant, original and effective visuals.

Some candidates presented essays that were too brief and lacked depth. It is important candidates write concisely while ensuring that all aspects of the question are addressed. At times, the conclusions appeared rushed and needed a sense of completion. Some candidates simply restated the arguments.


Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • accurately interpreted the question
  • thoroughly planned their responses 
  • applied a high level of geographic knowledge and skills in their responses
  • wrote with clarity and sophistication, demonstrating convincing communication
  • demonstrated sophisticated integration of specific evidence, both from the resources provided, and beyond
  • demonstrated perception and insight by critically evaluating and justifying or critically analysing and discussing
  • presented well- integrated responses and gave alternative suggestions that were thoughtful and well-considered 
  • wrote concisely whilst including both a range and depth of ideas with detail
  • articulated their ideas in a convincing and clever way
  • understood what was meant by perspective or point of view, and the differences between them 
  • wrote concise and clear introductions and conclusions
  • the introductions clearly presented the position of argument
  • integrated relevant visuals into their writing seamlessly, and referred explicitly to them
  • effectively integrated information from the resources by incorporating it into their answer 
  • addressed the question well by presenting a well-balanced argument
  • consistently demonstrated insightful and critical thinking 
  • wrote essays that were logical, displaying both depth and breadth
  • used clever transitions between ideas within an essay
  • clearly had practised the art of writing under pressure in a well-debated fashion
  • presented mature and reflective responses.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • accurately interpreted the questions
  • integrated visuals into responses
  • demonstrated an understanding of the difference between point of view and perspective
  • integrated evidence throughout both from within and beyond the resource
  • presented a balanced argument
  • demonstrated a logical development of ideas with clarity 
  • used correct geographic language, and in an appropriate way
  • demonstrated critical analytical and evaluative skills
  • applied a high level of geographic knowledge and skills in their responses
  • understood key command words of the question, such as evaluation, justification and discussion, critical analysis
  • demonstrated strong literacy skills, effectively using paragraphs 
  • demonstrated the ability to argue and critically evaluate or discuss
  • wrote brief, convincing introductions
  • planned their answers, demonstrating good structure
  • wrote answers that were detailed and had breadth
  • demonstrated the ability to write logical answers with clarity.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • did not include visuals or the visuals were weak and irrelevant
  • did not plan their answers
  • struggled to develop a clear argument within their responses
  • used data from the resources without integrating them 
  • spent too much time defining what the theme was instead of creating an argument
  • were unable to discuss, critically analyse or evaluate
  • wrote too much irrelevant information
  • relied completely on the information in the Resource Booklet rather than incorporating prior knowledge on the theme, to bring sufficient complexity and flair
  • did not debate, nor argue their point 
  • lacked convincing fluency of writing
  • copied the visuals from the resources or tried to manipulate the visual from the Resource Book– not adding any value to the essay. 

Standard specific comments

Question 1:

This question gave some clues as to how to critically evaluate. Words or phrases such as “one main consequence” and “choice” unpacked the command words. Candidates were expected to rank or rate the consequence. “Technological advancement” suggested that a temporal aspect could be integrated in the answer, also. A “consequence” is an effect and a result that is often negative. In this question, an evaluation was required that included both positive effect/s and/or other negative effects. There needed to be more than one consequence for a strong evaluation. Then the “critical” demand was for the student to put a significance, value or quality on the effects. This was the requirement that created the difference of a scholarship answer for most candidates.

Q1 also required consequences with close links to “technological advancement”. The candidate needed to punctuate the essay with detailed technological evidence that supported consequence/s. Good responses evaluated an effect and used supporting evidence from their extended knowledge or readings around the theme and/or the Resource Booklet.

Too many candidates explained the consequence’s effects on the natural environment and concluded with a justification without critically evaluating. 

Scholarship candidates often identified more than one consequence to compare, contrast and evaluate. The justification demanded a decision, a judgement based on the most important effects was needed and then a justification of how the choice was made.

Question 2:

This question required an in-depth look at the costs to the cultural environment. It demanded development of argument. The answers needed evidence for and against the ideas of “a cost” and whether these arguments were interrelated. Again, like Q1, to be “critical”, the answer required values, significances, weightings placed on the different perspectives. There could have been a ranking from most important to least important costs. 

See Standard Explanatory Note 2, Integration, synthesis and application of highly developed knowledge, skills and understanding to complex situations involve incorporating a range of different ideas and perspectives to present a supported argument. Here, the perspectives needed broader world viewpoints – S P E N T perspectives worked best. Too many answers were narrow perceptions of groups and individuals and/or involved focus on effects and impacts of costs. Many candidates also only inferred perspectives in their response, therefore not meeting scholarship level.

Question 3:

Time management may have been an issue for some candidates. This question needed debate, allowing candidates the opportunity to include examples of local and global citizens. See Standard Explanatory Note 2: ‘Independent reflection and extrapolation involves making judgements about a geographic context and considering possible consequences’. 

Convincing communication means developing a fully integrated, fluent discussion and argument in relation to a geographic context. 

In this question, the scholarship candidates appreciated the opportunity to predict. A great question to finish because it permitted reasoning backed up by carefully selected evidence to make a case. The powerful skill of debating is a useful learning tool for this sort of question. The inclusion of a very contemporary Key Geographic Concept, “Sustainability” was well chosen because it opened the door to the range of Geography candidates. Their understanding and application of the concept was generally sound. 


Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 188KB)

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us