National Moderator's Reports

February 2023

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The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internally assessed standards in 2022. It also provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year and outlines the Assessor Support available for Dance.


91588: Produce a dance to realise a concept

To meet the requirements of this standard, individual students are required to produce a dance that realises a concept using complex choreographic principles. This involves choreographing and presenting a dance supported by relevant and available production technologies. The result should be overall cohesion, i.e. design aspects working together with choreographic choices to communicate the ideas of the dance.

In 2022, tasks that were specific, detailed and related to themes that could be interpreted through movement more readily allowed students to achieve success. Excellence level work did not continually add new ideas or movements, but instead included purposeful repetition and development of movement using devices such as motif and variation. Using non-unison, contrasting unison and varying groupings also helped develop movement beyond large group exact unison, which further enhanced the communication of the concept.

Other observations included that a format more aligned with an essay structure (i.e. introduction of main ideas, then backing up and extrapolating from the main idea) allowed students more opportunity to reach the higher grade levels of this standard than using a narrative structure.

If only snippets of Excellence criteria are seen in the work, e.g. a few unusual and engaging movement sequences, this is not enough to award Excellence at Level 3. Differences in quality are likely to mean the work is not cohesive, which is the essential criteria of Excellence for this standard.

It was noticed that some students appeared to have submitted collaborative work for 91588. This standard is not intended to be a collaborative piece of work. Each student must show evidence that they have selected, applied and reflected on choreographic principles, processes and design choices, and made informed and final choices about the work. As with all NCEA standards, unless the Conditions of Assessment state students can work collaboratively (as for 91589), then it is expected students will individually provide the evidence for this standard.

Careful consideration must be given to the topics and issues that students choose to explore for their choreography. It is vital to consider the importance of positive contexts and guidance regarding potentially ‘dark themes’ or inappropriate material. While the need for self-expression is not disputed, the mental and physical wellbeing of students in their learning and assessment should be a significant consideration in programmes. Teacher discretion as to whether the topic is suitable for a dance should be used, and intended audiences’ perspectives also need to be taken into account.

91589: Choreograph a dance to develop and resolve ideas

This standard involves choreographing a dance to develop and resolve ideas.

Excellence level work that fully developed and resolved the ideas in the choreography was the result of a clearly defined movement task that allowed students to create work that communicated, refined and synthesised ideas in a unified way. Effective use of contrast, climax, sequencing and abstraction were common features of work at Excellence. A strong conclusion to the dance that made a clear statement or linked with the start of the dance often also provided the resolution needed to secure Excellence grades.

The Conditions of Assessment for this standard allow for the work to be collaborative.

In 2022, it was noted that some assessment contexts and tasks provided limited opportunity for students to interpret the stimulus and select ideas for development into movement to support the chosen idea that is expected for level 8 of the curriculum and this Level 3 standard. Musical theatre was one such context, as it provides narrative and music and encourages a literal interpretation of them.

A task using a stimulus open to a range of interpretations (i.e. allowing students to select an idea in response to the stimulus to develop and resolve in their choreography) will provide more opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability against the standard.

91592: Perform a repertoire of contrasting dances

To meet the requirements of this standard, students are to perform a repertoire of three contrasting dances on more than one occasion.

In 2022, tasks that clearly allowed students to repeat and remount the dances provided much more opportunity for students to clearly demonstrate the skills that are essential criteria of this standard.

Teachers are not required to send multiple videos of all the performances, but these performance opportunities should be clear from the task materials and in the quality of the student evidence. 

A ‘repertoire’ is refined, rehearsed and polished dances at performance standard that are kept in a performance ready state. The use of the word ‘repertoire’ comes from the French word ‘repertoire’ which in turn comes from Latin ‘re’ (again) and ‘pario’ (produce), which implies there is an intention for it to be performed at least more than once.

However, it is not merely about repeating the material, but instead the skills that it encompasses, e.g. sustained performance skills over time and the ability to hold the movement and reproduce it as required for different purposes, audiences, venues, etc. This is different to performing a dance once, which is assessed by other standards such as 91591: Perform a group dance.

The dances used to assess this standard must be contrasting in nature, in order that the students be able to demonstrate the skills required to achieve. In some instances, dances submitted for moderation were too similar in mood, movement, tempo and expression, and as such did not allow students to meet the requirements of the standard. 

Student identification in group dances (90859, 91207, 91208, 91209, 91591, 91592)

These standards often involve students performing as part of a group. To enable moderators to affirm grades, students must be clearly identified and seen in the evidence footage.  Moderators need to be confident that they have seen enough evidence of the student to be able to make judgements around the performance criteria of each standard, e.g. technical accuracy, control, expression and focus, as required by each of the standards. 

It is acknowledged that this can be an issue when capturing good evidence to submit for moderation. Methods of identification that were successful in 2022 included submitting footage from a final rehearsal without stage lighting or costuming. Stage lighting can affect the clarity of the video footage, and if costumes are identical it can be difficult to identify students. Consideration of the placement of the video camera can provide better support for assessment decisions, by ensuring all dancers can be seen and that the camera shot does not pan away from the dancers. Providing clear information about how to see the dancers in the video (e.g. placement on stage and costume) is also helpful.

Assessor Support


NZQA’s learning management system (Pūtake) offers 150+ easy to access courses, materials and products. These are designed to support teachers as assessors to improve their assessment of NCEA standards.

Online, subject-specific, bite-sized learning modules and short courses are now available to complement the traditional face-to-face workshops that NZQA offers. These online courses can be accessed using your Education Sector Logon. Courses available for Dance include:

  • Repertoire in Dance

Online Making Assessor Judgements workshops are also available throughout the year. These workshops are structured to guide teachers to improve their understanding of each grade level by examining several full samples of student work. The following standards are available for enrolment in 2023:

  • 91206: Choreograph a solo dance to communicate an intention
  • 91588: Produce a dance to realise a concept

Feedback from teachers for these workshops indicates that more than 90% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the content in the module was beneficial:

“This would be a really good department exercise to do in a meeting before marking the standard.”

“I found reading and analysing the extracts for evidence against Level 8 in the curriculum very useful.”

NZQA will continue to offer several non-subject-specific modules and workshops, designed to improve general assessment practice. The following modules and workshops will be available in 2023:

  • Assessment Approaches, an online workshop exploring different methods of assessment
  • Culturally Responsive Assessment
  • Assessment Guidance – Reviewing Your Practice
  • Tāku reo, tāku mahi – My voice, my work, a guide to managing authenticity
  • Why Less is More, a guide to reducing volumes of student evidence

We will also continue to run the Transforming Assessment Praxis programme, an online workshop relevant to all subjects which helps assessors learn about re-contextualising assessment resources and collecting evidence in different ways, in order to better meet the needs of students.

Check the NCEA subject pages on the NZQA website regularly, as more online modules, workshops and courses will be added throughout 2023.

Live and Face-to-face

The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by Assessment and Moderation 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."

Workshops, webinars or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to local, regional or national audiences. National Moderators are available to present at conferences, local or national hui or via live webinars. These services are available on request and subject to availability.

Contact NZQA

More detailed information, including how to request or register for a workshop or online course, can be found on our Assessor Support pages or by emailing

To give feedback on this report click on this link.

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