Assessment Specifications

Level 3 Latin 2021

Standards 91506  91507

Part A: Commentary

These achievement standards involve translating authentic Latin text into English and analysing authentic Latin text while demonstrating understanding. It was clear from the results that these assessments proved to be accessible to most candidates.

Candidates should be aware that answering all parts of the question for the analysis standard maximises their chances of attaining a higher grade.

Candidates who checked their translations thoroughly for avoidable errors, such as confusing plural and singular and omitting minor words, were generally more successful.

High performing candidates were able to translate idiomatically and flexibly, with a strong command of the required grammar and word endings. In the analysis standard, they were strong in several different parts of the question, particularly grammar, scansion, and language techniques.

Part B: Report on standards

91506:  Translate authentic Latin text into English demonstrating understanding


This standard involves one question requiring candidates to translate a passage of authentic Latin into English. While the text is authentic, it has been modified slightly to ensure that it is at Level 8 of the NZ curriculum.

The text was at the lower end of the word count parameters, giving candidates more time to check for accuracy and think carefully about the best idiomatic translation. This was reflected in the majority of grades being Merit or Excellence.

The passage included gerunds and gerundives, indirect statements, ablative absolutes and purpose clauses, with a challenging mix of the active and passive voices.


Candidates need to be aware that at Level 3 idiomatic renderings of some grammatical constructions such as ablative absolutes, gerunds, and indirect statements, are required for an Excellence grade. An overly literal translation runs the risk of not demonstrating that the candidate understands which construction is being used.

It is important that candidates consult the vocabulary booklet, even with words they know, because the word may be glossed with a meaning very specific to the passage.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • handled the more straightforward subordinate clauses accurately and idiomatically
  • translated temporal clauses reliably, such as ubi Caesar…. Animadvertit
  • recognised less common case usage correctly, such as the ablative of means in difficili angustoque itinere
  • were able to match nouns and agreeing adjectives consistently, such as parvam partem and primum agmen.

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

  • left significant gaps in their response
  • used the correct vocabulary from the booklet for each word but struggled with how the words fit together grammatically.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • showed an ability to translate participles, especially ablative absolutes, idiomatically, such as itinere intermisso
  • recognised deponent verbs correctly such as adhortatus est
  • understood the difference between active and passive infinitives, particularly regarding the present passive infinitives compelli and interclude
  • translated idiomatically a purpose clause with a passive verb – ut ille… intercluderetur.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • identified and accurately translated gerunds and gerundives, such as sibi consilium capiendum and decernendi
  • handled long and complex indirect statements, such as sperans…se posse
  • showed mastery of all types of pronouns, in particular, discerning the differences in different contexts involving is, ille and hic.



91507:  Analyse authentic Latin text demonstrating understanding


This standard involves one question, divided into six separate parts, requiring candidates to understand, translate and analyse a passage of authentic Latin poetry. The analysis skills required include scansion, grammatical analysis and analysis of language techniques. The text is authentic and unadapted Latin poetry at approximately Level 8 of the NZ Curriculum.

The passage followed a clear and unambiguous narrative arc which assisted candidates in understanding the meaning of the whole.

The passage included some challenging word order, contractions and unusual vocabulary which was typical of a passage of Latin poetry.


Candidates who included as much detail as possible in their responses fared better. This was especially true for responses to the first three parts of the question. Candidates should remember that when asked to provide Latin quotations from the text (with correct English translations) in support of their answer, this is essential if they are to gain an Excellence grade.

For the final part of the question, requiring analysis of language and other literary techniques, explanations of relevant examples needed to do more than simply state what the definition of the particular technique was.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • demonstrated a basic understanding of the passage
  • omitted supporting Latin phrases even when specifically requested
  • provided answers that were accurate but lacking in depth and detail, or omitted parts of the question entirely
  • struggled to explain grammatical questions, even when parsed partially correctly.

Candidates who were awarded Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not provide responses for all parts of the question
  • showed little or no basic understanding of the passage’s meaning.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • scanned both lines of part (d) correctly
  • gave detailed answers and a solid, idiomatic translation of the text in parts (a) – (c)
  • explained at least three different examples of language techniques for part (f), without merely restating the function / meaning of the device.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • showed a depth of analysis in the final part (f) which was carefully related to the meaning and purpose of the passage
  • were very accurate in the translation part (a)
  • parsed correctly and in full, and to explain the grammar of two or three of the words for analysis in part (e)
  • identified and analysed a range of different techniques for (f), without repeating material from other parts.

Latin subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 208KB)

2019 (PDF, 82KB)

2018 (PDF, 88KB)

2017 (PDF, 44KB)

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