Assessment Report

Level 1 Biology 2021

Standards 90927  90928  90929

 

Part A: Commentary

Candidates who read the questions carefully and attempted all questions and all parts of the questions were able to show what they knew. Candidates who unpacked the requirements of the questions provided stronger answers. Bullet points in the questions are a guide to the selection of relevant information, and not a list of what must be covered in their answer. Those who were familiar with the specific ideas and terms related to the content were again able to show what they know. Candidates’ answers were strengthened by using specific examples.

Part B: Report on standards

90927: Demonstrate understanding of biological ideas relating to micro-organisms

Examination

The examination included three questions of which candidates were required to respond to all three. The questions required candidates to apply their understanding of biological ideas relating to microbes in relation to bacteria and environmental factors, viruses in relation to disease and growth and nutrition in fungi. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specification, which were: environmental factors, including host species; reasons viruses may not be considered living; and basic practical work relating to micro-organisms.

Observations

Reference to resource material provided in the questions was useful for students to be able to provide a comprehensive answer. Those who were familiar with biological terminology in relation to micro-organisms were able to provide clear and precise responses, and the ability of students to provide specific examples added depth to their answers. Candidates displayed very little knowledge about how antibiotics mainly target bacteria, the vaccination process and the body’s immune response to a viral infection. Many candidates could not describe how environmental factors affect fungi growth. Candidates’ ability to communicate in science (NOS: Communicating in Science) in relation to interpreting diagrams/photographs was shown to be a weakness for many.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • used scientific and biological vocabulary and provided information which was not already in the question
  • described the life processes of bacteria associated with the population growth graph
  • described environmental factors that affect bacteria growth
  • described how viruses are spread
  • describe how viruses reproduce
  • described how fungi reproduce and spread
  • analysed diagrams and information to describe the growth of bacteria.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not answer all questions or parts of a question
  • repeated reference material already provided in their answer
  • used scientific and biological terminology incorrectly
  • were unable to describe the life processes of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • used linking words to give reasons (how/why) for their statements
  • provided examples which elaborated on their statements
  • provided reasons for why / how environmental factors affect life processes of bacteria, fungi and viruses
  • explained how pH/temperature affect the growth of bacteria and are used in preserving food. Explained how antibiotics are effective at killing bacteria but not viruses
  • explained immunisation and the body's immune response
  • explained how fungi feed and reproduce
  • explained how environmental factors affect fungi growth.

 Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • linked multiple biological explanations together in a logical way.
  • analysed diagrams / photographs to discuss the effect of environment factors on life processes
  • discussed how water/oxygen affects the growth/reproduction of bacteria
  • discussed how antibiotics reduce bacterial growth but not viruses
  • discussed how mutations can form new variants and the consequences for vaccination
  • discussed how fungi enzymes are affected by environmental factors and linked this to a life process.

 


  

90928: Demonstrate understanding of biological ideas relating to the life cycle of flowering plants

Examination

The examination included three questions of which candidates were required to respond to all three. The questions required candidates to apply their understanding of pollination and fertilisation, seed dispersal and photosynthesis. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specification which were: sexual reproduction including wind and/or animal-pollinated flower structure, how pollination occurs, the events from pollination to fertilisation, the structure of seeds and methods of seed dispersal; and photosynthesis including the structure and function of a leaf and factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis.

Observations

Candidates who were able to achieve in this standard generally had a good understanding of key processes involved in the life cycle of a flowering plant, and were able to use clear examples, either from the resource given or of their own, to help demonstrate their understanding of the processes involved.

Candidates who achieved well in this standard generally had a good understanding of what the question was asking for, planned and structured their responses accordingly and answered all parts of each question by linking their ideas together. 

Candidates who did not achieve as well generally did not answer each question fully, did not plan or structure their responses well and did not link their responses with clear examples (either of their own or from the resource given).

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • described biological ideas relating to the process of pollination, fertilisation, dispersal and photosynthesis
  • described the process & method of pollination, fertilisation & dispersal
  • described the structure and function of seeds for successful dispersal
  • described the purpose of pollination & fertilisation correctly
  • described key structures of the leaf related to photosynthesis
  • used biological terminology as required at Level 6 of the curriculum.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • used incorrect or limited biological terminology below Level 6 of the curriculum
  • provided evidence/responses unrelated/not relevant to the question
  • could not link/use examples/resources from the question successfully
  • incorrectly described the effect of processes relating to pollination, fertilisation, dispersal and photosynthesis

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • explained biological ideas relating to the process of pollination, fertilisation, dispersal and photosynthesis
  • explained the process & method of pollination, fertilisation & dispersal linked with suitable examples explained the structure and function of seeds & flowers required for successful dispersal & pollination explained key structures and function of the leaf related to photosynthesis
  • explained why seeds need to be dispersed
  • explained why stomata are located mainly on the underside of the leaf
  • overall provided relevant links and examples between explanations.

 Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • linked multiple biological ideas between their explanations using accurate biological ideas at Level 6 of the curriculum
  • linked different biological processes such as pollination, fertilisation, dispersal and photosynthesis, discussing how different parts of the leaf are involved with maximising photosynthesis
  • discussed the importance of seed dispersal, and why pollination and fertilisation are important in the life cycle of flowering plants.

Standard specific comments

Candidates who were able to achieve in this standard generally had a good understanding of key processes involved in the life cycle of a flowering plant.


  

90929:  Demonstrate understanding of biological ideas relating to a mammal(s) as a consumer(s)

Examination

The examination included three questions of which candidates were required to respond to all three. The questions required candidates to apply their understanding of physical and chemical digestion, transporting oxygen and the products of digestion and digestion in herbivores and carnivores. The questions covered the requirements of the 2021 assessment specification which related to the alimentary canal from mouth to anus, use of food at the cell level (may include aerobic and/or anaerobic respiration, including raw materials and products), the relationship of processing of food, circulation, and respiration to each other, and to the overall survival of the mammal and compare the generalised digestive systems of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores.

Observations

Candidates who were able to achieve in this standard generally had a good understanding of biological ideas and key processes relating to mammals as consumers. They were able to use clear examples (either from the resource given or of their own) to help demonstrate their understanding. Candidates who achieved well in this standard generally had a good understanding of what the question was asking for, planned and structured their responses accordingly and answered all parts of each question by linking their ideas together.]

Candidates who did not achieve as well generally did not answer each question fully, did not plan and/or structure their responses well and did not link their responses with clear examples (either of their own or from the resource given).

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • described physical and chemical digestion
  • provided correct descriptions of some parts of the digestive system
  • stated the role of the heart/veins/arteries/capillaries and how it links to digestion
  • described collection of oxygen in the lungs
  • described the basic difference between herbivores and carnivores
  • described how products of digestion move around the body.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not describe the function of the heart/veins/arteries/capillaries
  • described incorrectly the difference between carnivores and herbivores
  • did not describe the importance of respiration
  • used incorrect terminology
  • did not describe how the circulation system aided products of digestion to more around the body
  • repeated the question by writing it in difference ways and not providing new information
  • did not relate the answer to the question, e.g. for question they just described the digestive system.

 Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • explained why and how the functions of each part of the digestive system were important, including how physical digestion works, and how it aids chemical digestion through the increase in surface area
  • explained how the parts of the circulation system worked in relation to the capillaries and the villi / alveoli, and the importance of delivering products of digestion and oxygen for cellular respiration
  • explained the structure of the herbivores and carnivores’ digestive systems and linked it to their specific diet explained how and why mammals needed to respire.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • linked different parts of the digestive system in the context of breaking food down through physical and chemical digestion to increase surface area for maximum absorption and increased efficiencies
  • clearly linked delivery of oxygen and products of digestion like glucose to cells to enable them to carry out cellular respiration
  • discussed the link between efficiencies of a system and an increase rate of survival
  • discussed comprehensively how mammals like foxes and rabbits have different digestive systems that enabled them to digest their different food efficiently.

Biology subject page

 

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 178KB)

2019 (PDF, 95KB)

2018 (PDF, 123KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

 
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