National Moderator's Reports

February 2020

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Download PDF: Economics National Moderator's Report (PDF, 195KB)

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

Equity and efficiency for 91402, version 3

Excellence requires consideration of the overall quality of the evidence for the recommended intervention and the justification in terms of both efficiency and equity.

Students who reach Excellence justify the recommendation. They integrated changes shown on models with a detailed and accurate explanation of why the selected government intervention or policy was the more efficient and equitable way to address the market failure or inequitable market situation.

Explaining equity implications like the regressive effect of a sales tax and the trade-off between efficiency and equity may be sufficient for Merit. However, students who also evaluated the efficiency and equity of both interventions, comparing the advantages and disadvantages, demonstrated the comprehensive understanding needed for Excellence.

In the most efficient and equitable interventions, it is often a case of selecting from efficient outcomes for examples and/or reasons of equity. Equity can be contentious because it lends itself to making subjective judgements around fairness. However, it is possible to evaluate the equity of government policy in an objective manner.

As one student explained, “the differences in housing costs in different parts of the country may not be viewed as inequitable by many people, but that housing costs in Auckland are exceptionally high, in part, because some homeowners have blocked others from building is viewed as inequitable by many people”.

The equity of two possible council interventions around rezoning to allow for more high density housing to be built, and switching from combined house and land rating value to basing rates on land value alone was also explained.

The student also evaluated what could happen to land use where higher density is allowed, along with the impacts on existing homeowners around parking, road use and noise. The equity issue of imposing higher taxes (rates) on elderly owners of large sections in very wealthy suburbs was considered.

Excellence for 91225

A significant proportion of moderation grade changes occurred at the Merit/Excellence boundary for 91225. Students who reached Excellence demonstrated a comprehensive analysis. This involved detailed explanations of the causes and impacts of changes in unemployment. These students explained the ‘how and why’ using a model, whenever relevant, to fully explain the causes and impacts.

Any event, reason or cause that influences demand for labour (DL) or supply of labour (SL) will have impacts on various groups. This can be explained using the Labour Market (LM) model as part of demonstrating a comprehensive analysis of unemployment for Excellence.  

For example, the impact of changes to minimum wage rates on households and producers, and changes in DL for skilled and unskilled workers, can be compared/contrasted using the LM model for Excellence.

The TKI resources for 2.4A and 2.4B instruct students to use concepts like ‘derived demand’ and ‘socioeconomic factors’, and the LM model to compare/contrast the impacts of changes in unemployment for Excellence.

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.

Any evidence collected must show any models used, and the clear use of these in in-depth explanations. When using video, especially of whiteboards, clarity of the image and sound is essential.

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.

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.

This could be a particularly important consideration for 91402 where themes such as gun control, adventure tourism and euthanasia could be an issue for others who are viewing the assessment.

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

2019 workshops included guest speaker request at University of Canterbury Commerce Conference in Christchurch. The focus of the workshops has been on improving outcomes for Level 1- 3 standards, with a major emphasis on standards 91227, 91401 and 91402. The discussions included evidence required for stepping up to Merit and Excellence grades. 2020 workshops will be offered on request.


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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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