National Moderator's Report

Feb 2020

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Download PDF: Accounting National Moderator's Report 2020 (PDF, 163KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Accounting standards in 2019.

It does not clarify specific standards but provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Awarding Excellence

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When making judgement for Excellence, it needs to be ensured that all indicators of the Excellence criteria in the standard have been fully addressed. These are outlined in the explanatory notes. The quality of evidence provided should also reflect the curriculum level. If the evidence demonstrates that the Excellence criteria have been only partially met, then the grade awarded cannot be Excellence. This is critical in distinguishing between high Merit and Excellence.

Consideration also needs to be given to the overall submission, such as succinctness and clarity.

91407, Prepare a report for an external user, is the only standard in the Accounting matrix that requires a formal report. Reports at Excellence need to be fit-for-purpose; that is, suitable for laypeople who lack the depth of accounting knowledge required to interpret annual reports for themselves.

A characteristic of an effective report is clarity. To encourage students to construct fit-for-purpose reports, it is suggested that assessors give students page or word-length guidelines for the report.

The report also needs to be suitable for the external user that has been identified. This entails referring to the external user in appropriate sections throughout the report.

Collecting evidence

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Opportunities are encouraged that allow students to collect evidence through different modes, such as blogs, video clips, etc. Such opportunities allow students to have agency on how best to demonstrate what they know.

Most Accounting submissions tend to be submitted as Word documents, with appropriate accounting templates used as required.

Student wellbeing

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Where students are guided in how to present their evidence succinctly, the quality of their responses improves.  When students are aware of the concept that quantity is not an indicator of quality, this also helps to reduce workload pressures.

To reduce student workload and ensure clarity, assessors may wish to give students page or word-length guidelines for the narratives required of most internal standards.

In terms of student wellbeing, it is also timely to consider the importance of positive contexts and guidance regarding potentially ‘dark themes’ or inappropriate material. While the need for self-expression and realism is not disputed, the mental and physical wellbeing of students in their learning and assessment should be a significant consideration in programmes.

Evidence of inappropriate material is not seen in Accounting moderation.

Assessor Support

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The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by the Assessment and Moderation Team continue to be viewed by the sector as significantly contributing to improved assessor practice:

“The workshop helped to review my own knowledge, and great to share ideas."

“It was great having time to challenge my thinking in assessment."

Based on the success of the ‘on request’ model and the ability to have targeted support, the Assessment and Moderation Team will continue delivering this support model in 2020. Workshops or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to regional or national audiences.

Additionally, we will continue to run the generic Transforming Assessment Praxis Programme, an online programme which helps assessors learn about re-contextualising assessment resources and collecting evidence in different ways to better meet the needs of their learners.

More detailed information, including how to request or register for a workshop, can be found on our Best Practice Workshop pages or by emailing

In 2019, Accounting workshops were held in response to requests from NZCETA branches and regional clusters. Those requesting workshops can determine the programme for the workshop. Emphasis may be placed on specific levels, strands or standards.

Engaging with evidence

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Except for the processing-only standards, 90977 and 91175, the internal standards require learners to also produce a narrative/report. Tasks for these may include a case study such as TKI’s Argos Model Supplies for 91386. TKI tasks should be re-contextualised to ensure authenticity.

Students who achieve higher grades generally engage with authentic businesses through visits or online collaborative tools such as Skype. Interviews should be recorded to allow students to review responses in their own time. Where an authentic business is used as the focus, the assessor needs to provide learners with some fictitious transactions to satisfy the processing aspect of the standard.

Use of MYOB or XERO for 91179

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A few submissions have used accounting software for the accounts receivable subsystem standard. When taking this approach, assessors should ensure that the reports produced satisfy the requirements of Explanatory Note 2 of the standard. For example, if Xero is used customer activity statements would be used in place of debtor’s subsidiary ledger accounts.

Observations from 91481

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In 2019 there was an increase in the number of schools assessing 91481. Contexts have included:

  • a faith-based hospital facing the ethical dilemma of having to demand payment from terminal patients in advance of their treatment. The issue was presented as social responsibility and the government’s focus on compassion and well-being.
  • a fashion retailer reconciling their unfavourable rating on a Fashion Report, and subsequent poor publicity, with the wish to continue to source their fast fashion stock from foreign sweatshop factories. Here, the issue was identified as sustainability (economic and social) which is very topical.
  • an independent cinema striving to maintain patronage in the face of other screen-based entertainment options. To ensure the submission had a contemporary aspect, students used data around the latest streaming sites and illegal or ‘back door’ downloading of movies.

As well as the issue needing an element of topicality, the standard requires students to consider both financial and non-financial information. While commercial sensitivity or limited published information may prevent students from quantifying financial impacts of the issue, it is expected that Level 2 Accounting students would discuss impacts of decisions on expenses, sales, profit, shareholders, etc.

Successful submissions place an emphasis on how the selected issue has an impact on the entity’s decision-making, rather than what decisions were made.


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Outcome statements in external moderation reports

In 2017, moderation report outcome statements changed from ‘Confidence’ statements to ‘Consistency’ statements, as explained in an NZQA Circular at the time.

The previous FOUR ‘Confidence’ statements were changed to THREE Consistency statements. This reduction in the number of categories of statement has, in some cases, resulted in moderation report outcomes previously noted as ‘Confident’ now being noted as ‘Not Yet Consistent’.

It is important to recognise that ‘Not Yet Consistent’ does not imply major issues on the part of the assessor, but that the aspects highlighted can be easily addressed through the advice given in the report.

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