National Moderator's Reports

March 2019

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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 internal Dance standards in 2018.

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


Volume of Evidence Produced

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Some students produce an excessive volume of evidence. Students are not required to submit evidence beyond the criteria of the standard. It is appropriate for teachers to guide students to produce succinct evidence in response to the achievement criteria of the standard.

In Dance, this has been noticed in the group performance standards and some of the Dance Perspectives internal standards.

Some students are submitting large quantities of evidence to demonstrate the Achieved criteria of 90860 without addressing the depth and quality required for Merit and Excellence.  Tasks should focus on including a few pertinent questions that specifically address the Merit and Excellence criteria of ‘reflection’ and ‘evaluation’, rather than an extensive range of questions that only allow the Achieved criteria of ‘identifying’ and ‘exploring’ to be demonstrated.

In addition, better results may be seen where teachers have adapted tasks so that there are fewer activities. Students can show a comprehensive level of understanding in fewer activities (4 -6) while still covering the full range of elements in a range of contexts as required. 

For the group performance standards at Level 1 – 3, teachers are reminded of the suggested time limits for the dances that are stated in the Conditions of Assessment documents.

Evidence from events such as Polyfest or other public competitions can provide very appropriate contexts. However, students are often performing for far longer in these events than they are required to perform for assessment purposes. Assessors have been effective in allowing students to maintain the skills and focus required more readily where a shorter section, taken from the entire performance bracket, is suggested for assessment purposes.

Excellence at Level 3

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There is some inconsistency in awarding Excellence. When making assessor decisions regarding Excellence, consideration needs to be given to the overall quality of the evidence. This is critical when making a judgement at the Merit/Excellence boundary.

A significant proportion of moderation grade changes occurred at Merit/Excellence in the choreography standards at Level 3. In most cases this occurred because the sample did not yet show sufficient artistic communication of the central ideas in a cohesive way to fulfil the requirements of the criterion for Excellence.

Communicating ideas in movement is the core of these choreography standards, and for Excellence to be attained unusual and unexpected movement combinations and sophisticated principles such as abstraction, dynamics, contrast, unity and climax are essential. 

The central medium in which to communicate the key ideas and concepts is movement and the way this is developed, structured and organised. Any production technologies included should be well realised and justified and support the dance, but not be the sole or most significant way the ideas are communicated.

The choreography should show that editing of the movement has occurred so every movement is there because it contributes to the intention. Lengthy justifications of choreographic and design decisions were often not necessary, as this was appropriately seen in the dance. Criteria such as the application of a process, evaluation and refinement are assessed through the final dance – not the observation of the process undertaken.

Where Excellence was awarded appropriately to choreographic work at Level 3, depth of thinking was evident in the selected movements, and choreographic choices were imaginative and original, producing a work that has a range of depth, detail, complexity and variation. The standards are assessing the art of complex and sophisticated choreographic principles rather than audience appeal or technical skill of the dancers.

Group Work

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Group work is an acceptable form of assessment, if appropriate to the standard. When submitting group work for moderation, the teacher needs to ensure there is evidence that each student has met the standard.

The contribution of each student can be tracked and presented in a variety of ways, such as written record of teacher observation, the division of workload into clearly defined tasks, a student worklog or video diary, recordings of teacher/student conferences, etc.

Group work is widely and successfully used in the assessment of the Dance standards. Teacher observation of students’ contribution to group choreography work and the video evidence collected of group performance work is acceptable and sufficient for assessment to occur, and its continued use is encouraged.

While group work is encouraged and acceptable in the assessment of these dance standards, care needs to be taken when collecting that evidence for moderation purposes. Effective samples sent for moderation included sufficient information to allow clear identification of which student is which in the visual evidence, allowing the moderator to be readily able to confirm the grades.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

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This refers to assessing multiple standards via one submission of student evidence. The assessment of standards may be integrated either within a subject or across subjects.

For external moderation, if the assessment is across subjects and the student evidence is physical, it can be sent on to the next subject moderator/s if required. If it is an online submission, the student evidence can be uploaded for each standard being moderated.

In Dance, activities that students undertake to explore the use of dance elements while creating movement to be used in their choreographic work could also be used as evidence towards 90860. At level 3, while learning the group dance to perform for 91591, students could analyse the performance practices they are using and collect this evidence for 91593.

Dance also has clear and tangible links to other school subjects. Working with colleagues in other departments can make useful connections for students. Dance standards have, for example, been successfully integrated with achievement standards from Music, Visual Art, Performance Technology, Health and Physical Education, and Mathematics.

Repertoire Standards

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The definition of a repertoire is that it is a selection of dances that are repeated (similar to how a dance company has dances in their repertoire that can be re-mounted or performed on different occasions).

Successful task design and materials for this standard reflects this intention, and clearly indicates to students the occasions the dances in the repertoire will be performed. It is not appropriate for this standard to be awarded on the basis of only one performance of a dance.

Social Dance, Ethnic Dance and Theatre Dance

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Care must be taken when choosing the dance genre or style to be performed for the Level 2 standards 91207 and 91208. Dances are only suitable for the assessment of 91207 if they are social or ethnic. For example, street dance (or hip-hop), when performed as a social dance, would have less formal stage protocols. 

Typically, social street dance includes improvised sections as well as ‘battle’ type sequences of call and response. This style would usually not be performed on a stage in lines but use more of a semi-circle formation as its base. Moderation evidence suggests that if the hip-hop dance is performed on a stage with fully rehearsed choreography, it may be better suited for assessment of 91208 instead of 91207.

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