National Moderator's Reports

February 2022

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Download PDF: Economics National Moderator's Report (PDF, 162KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internally assessed Economics standards in 2021. It provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Using Assessment Evidence Gathering Templates

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The purpose of the Internal Assessment Evidence Gathering Template is to help teachers identify and record evidence of student achievement seen or heard within the teaching and learning programme. These templates do not signal a reduction in what is accepted for each grade, but rather a means of summarising evidence for reporting achievement when more formal assessment has not been possible.

These templates must be viewed in conjunction with the assessment advice forwarded to schools, in order to ensure that valid, credible and reliable assessment has occurred before the standard is awarded. Further guidance can be found here.

Where evidence gathering templates have been used to identify evidence in lieu of a formal assessment opportunity, these should not be sent in for moderation. 

Assessor Support

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The Best Practice Workshops (online and face-to-face) offered by Assessment and Moderation Services 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, Assessment and Moderation Services will continue delivering this support model in 2022. Workshops or presentation slots can be requested to provide targeted support to regional or national audiences.

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

New online subject-specific short courses introduced this year have complemented the traditional workshops. These can be accessed using your Education Sector Logon. Courses available for Economics include:

  • Making Assessor Judgements (91227, 91402)
  • 91228 A contemporary economic issue.

Check the NCEA subject pages on the NZQA website regularly, as more online courses will be added throughout 2022.

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

Model use at Levels 2 and 3

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Some moderation samples at Levels 2 and 3 lacked the use of appropriate economic models to explain the event, policies, or impacts of changes. At Merit and Excellence, these models weren’t integrated into the explanations made.

Successful submissions explained, at appropriate depth, all changes in the model and the impacts of these changes. At Excellence, these models and full explanations were integrated into the justifications made for 91402, 91226, 91227 or the implications for 91401, or when comparing and contrasting for 91225 and 91228.

Adapted tasks

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There is an increase in the number of tasks being adapted to the needs of learners, or for changes caused by COVID disruptions. While this is affirmed as best practice, it is critical that all the required aspects of the standard (set out in the Explanatory Notes), are covered in order to allow students to meet each level of achievement.

When making assessment judgements to award grades, all criteria in the Explanatory Notes must be met at the appropriate level to award a grade. For example, if a student does not correctly use an appropriate economic model for each issue, which is a requirement for Achieved, then the student cannot gain Achieved, regardless of the quality of the other explanations.

Assessment of 91225

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Moderation submissions that explained the impact of an event on unemployment as well as, most importantly, the impact of the change in unemployment on various groups in New Zealand society were successful. These samples related the impact on the various groups to the changes in the model and explained the effect, including how/why the impact occurred.

For example, the increase in involuntary unemployment from zero to Q1-Q2 is more likely to impact on young workers in a negative way. This is because lack of experience could result in being less productive and hence more likely to be laid off. This could lower the standard of living for young people as they will not be able to afford high-quality products, or as many products, than with a lower benefit income. To cope they may need to use savings or increase the number of people paying rent in flats, but this could lead to overcrowding and negative health effects. An option is to move back in with parents, but this could impact negatively on their self-esteem or on their parents.

Assessment of 91402

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For responses to be more closely aligned with the standard’s intent of understanding government interventions, the equity and efficiency of two policies need to be explained using a suitable supporting model.

Successful submissions explained how and why the government intervention policy is fair. An example from a successful student explanation extract could be:

“…the higher price from the tax Pm to Ptax could be seen as fair. This is because the only ones paying the higher price are those who are consuming the product. However, not all consumers cause the externalities mentioned (e.g. low volume occasional drinkers of wine). This means they are being unfairly punished with a higher price due to the consumption decisions of others.”

When looking at externalities, students who achieved with Merit and Excellence explained the market failure and the impact of the policies on efficiency by including an explanation of why the deadweight loss occurred or decreased. The language of the model was used in terms of changes in surpluses. An example of a successful student explanation extract could be:

“…by shifting from Qm to Qs, Consumer plus Producer Surplus is lost due to the decreased quantity consumed/produced (area abc). However, this is outweighed by the gain to society of abdc, which is the negative spillover costs of the consumption that society no longer has to endure. Since the gain to society surplus outweighs the loss of CS+PS, the total combined surpluses are maximised at Qs, meaning by staying at Qm we miss out on potential gains of bdc (the deadweight loss of being at Qm).”

Selecting contemporary topics for assessment

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Currently, COVID related topics are becoming popular. Care is needed when selecting topics for assessment.

With COVID, local job losses may have significantly impacted some students, as could issues around vaccination, mandates and political responses. While these are valid topics, student welfare should be a consideration when selecting the topic for the assessment.


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Changes to moderation requirement for 2022

Changes have been made to what schools are required to send in for moderation in 2022. Only 6 samples of student evidence must be sent in, one sample each at N, A, M, E, and two more from A, M, E. There will be no level 1 external moderation, unless requested by the school. 

Outcome statements in external Moderation Reports

Moderation Report outcomes are reported using consistency statements. These are not based on a numerical assessment of how many grades the moderator agreed with, but on a qualitative assessment of how the overall judgements align with the standard.

Consistent” is used where clear and accurate understanding of all (or most) aspects of the standard have been demonstrated. There may be some misunderstandings, but these are minor.

Not yet consistent” does not imply major issues on the part of the assessor. This is used where a clear understanding is shown of some aspects of the standard, and any issues can be identified and corrected using the feedforward in the Moderation Report.

Not consistent” is used where there are significant issues with the assessor decisions. This may include issues such as assessment materials not being at the correct curriculum level, or when the intent or criteria of the standard have been misunderstood.

Moderating assessment materials

For most moderation submissions in 2021, the assessment materials were not moderated, as most assessment tasks were variations of the NZQA Approved tasks developed by the Ministry of Education.

NZQA welcomes the submission of innovative assessment tasks. An overview of case studies showcasing how innovative assessment practices have been implemented in schools can be found on the Spotlights homepage, with the full case studies on the Future State section of the NZQA website.

Please click on this link to give your feedback about this report.

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