National Moderator's Reports

March 2019

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Download PDF: Social Studies National Moderator's Report (PDF, 34KB)

The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Social Studies 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 Social Studies, this has been particularly noted for the inquiry standards.

At level 1, successful evidence has been seen where the inquiry process was the focus. Information collected was annotated and briefly summarised, however, the research questions did not have to be answered.

At levels 2 and 3, the skills needed for Excellence have been successfully demonstrated in 1500-1800 word submissions, which can be a useful guideline.

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.

For 91600, the standard is focused on the influence of an action on a policy. Students who reached Excellence suggested modifications, and showed how these could have an influence on the policy studied. Likewise, for 91599, this occurred where the suggested possible alternatives to their own personal social action were clearly linked to influencing the policy that they wanted to be changed.

For 91597, students must be able to show connections between contexts. Excellence was reached where students applied the inquiry findings to another context, and considered the implications for this context. For example:

  • the same issue/social action in a different place
  • the application of similar issues/actions from the student’s issues to another issue
  • the implications for different groups not studied in the original inquiry.

The Annotated Exemplars on the NZQA subject page for Social Studies also give guidance when making judgements at the Excellence/Merit grade boundary.

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 seen as an integral part of Social Studies, particularly for the social action standards of 91599, 91282 and 91042.

For the social action standards, success was seen where the action(s) chosen allowed all students in the group the opportunity to contribute to both the planning andthe social action. Evidence reflected what each student actually did themselves rather than what the group did. Students wrote about tasks/actions that they individually took. The use of ‘I’ statements helped students to report on their personal involvement.

Students recorded specific examples as evidence of their participation. Some examples of this were: written reports (teachers can provide templates for student responses), video or photographic diaries and signed witness/observer statements.

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.

A growing number of schools have begun to adopt an integrated approach to the delivery of

internal Social Studies standards. The pairing of 91040 and 91043 and 91597 and 91599 have proven successful combinations.

Excellent examples have come through the use of integrated assessment tasks across Social Studies and other subject areas. Successful examples to date have included:

  • 91043 and Geography 91012
  • 91043 and Geography 91009
  • 91043 and English 90857
  • 91040 and English 90853

91599 and Home Economics 91468.

Points of View, Values and Perspectives

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This is integral to Social Studies. A significant number of grade changes occurred, particularly at level 2 and 3, as more evidence was needed to demonstrate an understanding of what people think and why. A formulaic approach to this may help students until they understand more comprehensively what people think about different aspects of society. For example, Person A believes/thinks that.....they value...their perspective is shaped by...which means that...

For all levels, students need to explain more than one point of view. Points of view are what people think about something (their opinion or attitude towards an issue, an action, or an event). A quote itself was not enough to show understanding. Successful student evidence first identified what the point of view was about, and then described exactly what the person/group thought about this issue, action or event, backing this up with the quote.

For levels 2 and 3, students need to explain more than one point of view, value and perspective.

Values are the reasons why someone might think a particular way about something. Good explanations had links between the values or beliefs that influenced the person’s/group’s point of view, such as their role in society, or their cultural or political beliefs.

Perspectives and ideologies are what shape a person’s/group’s belief or values. The understanding of how perspectives and ideologies shape specific beliefs and values was clearly demonstrated where students were able to link beliefs and values held by the person/group to a relevant ideology or belief system, and discussion involved details about the ideology.

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