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  • Question

    I have heard of an approach to teaching level 3 generic standards that I wanted to clarify. This is for: AS91608 3.1 Brief; AS91609 3.2 Planning; AS91610 3.3 Conceptual Design; and AS91622 3.4 Prototype. The approach is to complete all four standards in term one so students gain achieved. Then for Term two, three, and what's left of four, work towards merit and excellence for all four standards. Is this allowed?


    As a general guide, it is expected that each NCEA credit requires 10 hours of teaching and learning time. Trying to assess all these four achievement standards (20 credits) in one term would therefore be too much. At level 3 NCEA (level 8 of the curriculum), it can take a whole year for students to show the depth of practice required at excellence level for this set of standards.

    The aim of technology as a learning area is to provide students with a broad technological literacy. To achieve this, students should be participating in a cohesive programme of learning across all three strands (Technological Practice, Technological Knowledge, Nature of Technology). This approach is also essential for students to have success in Technology Scholarship.

    Teachers who listen to their students and guide them to address an issue that is engaging for them will generally see high-quality evidence being produced. Depending on the project that students undertake, a manageable number of appropriate achievement standards should be selected for assessment purposes.

  • Question

    For the digital technology "implement" standards that are marked for M/E on independence, is it technically possible to carry out group projects using these standards and still be able to mark students at M and E with well designed assessment criteria, or is it actually not possible because of this independence requirement? Does the requirement mean that students can't work together and be assessed on the same outcome at all? For example, would a final website need to be all their own work? Would they be able to do a few pages each of the same website?


    There is nothing to stop group work occurring during teaching and learning, or for such things as sharing project tasks such as research and trialling. These practices help to address "relating to others", a key competency within The New Zealand Curriculum (2007). However, the evidence students produce for assessment against an achievement standard needs to be individual so that the assessor can judge each student's ability in terms of the requirements of the standard.

    For example, Explanatory Note 6 for AS91073 (Implement basic procedures to produce a specified digital media outcome) states:

    Examples of digital media outcomes include but are not limited to:

    • an edited movie
    • a multi-page website
    • a multi-page desktop published document.

    So individual students could produce a basic website of a few pages. They would need to do this (rather than part of a website) to meet the requirements of the standard.

    Some teachers have had success using the same client and brief for the whole class. Each student then develops a website to meet these requirements.

    The NZQA website gives guidance on authenticity requirements and processes. See NZQA: Authenticity.

  • Question

    I have just a quick question on AS91620 Implement complex procedures to integrate parts using resistant materials to make a specified product. (Level 3) When using wood/plastics, what sorts of procedures are classed as "complex"? What is meant by "integrate parts"?


    Complex procedures require the student to select and use a variety of techniques for the precise integration of parts. The product the student makes needs to provide opportunity for this to occur. The resource called A Power Tower is a good starting point and provides an example in wood.

    As per Explanatory Note 2 of the standard, implementing complex procedures to integrate parts for products such as a ladder or sprinkler could include:

    • preparation of parts for integration (preparing all parts of the ladder or sprinkler to tolerance before it is put together)
    • preparation of the integration environment (making a jig to ensure the ladder is perfectly square and straight; preparing a clean assembly environment with the equipment needed to accurately assemble the product)
    • integrating parts to ensure product meets specifications (putting it together)
    • ongoing testing against reference points to reduce error in the integration of parts (using the jig and checking for tolerances at each stage of assembly).

    Radio controlled boats could also provide a platform for this standard in plastics. The expectation would be coverage of a range of techniques in the discipline of plastics forming, for example:

    • vacuum forming, including material properties affecting form and making plugs to suit assembly tolerances
    • heat strip bending, including allowances for distortion, wall thickness, temp settings
    • protocols relating to adhesives, including initial tack and setting times (adhesive selection and application should take into account the performance required of the adhesive in the outcome, for example, load, exposure to high temperature, water)
    • mechanical fixings, including material properties relating to drilling/cutting that affect alignment and relationship of parts.

    Radio Control would include many things to be integrated and require students to find such things as reference lines, centrelines, and datums or start positions for assembly alignment. Each part would need to be taken into account when assembling.

    It is likely that any plastics outcome would include materials other than just plastics. A sailing yacht without radio control may also offer the complexity required for this standard. 

    Additional products and possible associated examples are suggested in the following document:

    Ask an expert question and answer AS91620 (Word 2007, 6 MB)

  • Question

    I have been teaching 91075 and 91076 at level 1 for the past 2 years and I was just wanting some clarification on a couple of things: 1) I know these are designed to be done together, but I was just wondering if that means they can be done actually alongside each other (for example, the students do the planning and programming in the same assessment and hand them both in together) or whether the planning needs to come first so at best they could overlap a bit (for example, students could do the plan, have the plan checked/marked and then do the coding and revise the plan as they go for a resub). 2) With 91076, are the comments (for excellence) justifying what happens in the code, or why the student has chosen things? To me there is a slight difference and the first is more like programming in the real world, but the second seems more like programming for an assessment. I have heard opinions on both sides, for example: the first – the repeat variable set to True begins the play again loop, and this allows the user the option of playing again or quitting at the end of the game (if set to False); or the second – the repeat variable set to True begins the play again loop, and I used a boolean variable because I needed to switch the loop on or off only, and I used a while loop because the user may choose to play again any number of times and therefore the end point is unknown. So my questions for point 2 are: do either of those comments justify enough for E, and which type of justification should we be pointing them towards?


    Question 1 

    Some schools take an integrated approach and others use different projects to teach the content of these standards. Either approach is acceptable but the integrated approach is generally seen as being the preferred option. That is, when students have to construct the program coding as part of their project (91076), it should give more meaning (and thus motivation) to the plan that they construct (91075), and vice versa.  

    As planning and programming fit naturally together when addressing a task (reflecting the practice that occurs in the real world), it is likely that the iterative process you describe (planning, programming, replanning, reprogramming, and so on) would occur. Some students may require further teacher guidance (rather than a resubmission as such) at different stages of this process. For 91076, some students may need to be given a plan to ensure they have a suitable starting point for implementation.    

    Question 2

    When students are justifying, they are doing such things as giving reasoning or evidence and providing a valid argument as to why particular decisions were made. This could include comparing and contrasting different possibilities. 

    The standard also requires (for excellence) that comments are succinct (that is, brief and clearly expressed). 

    There is a good example of this in the assessment schedule (as part of the assessment resource) for this standard on TKI.

    The evidence for excellence states:

    "The student has included succinct comments that explain and justify decisions (e.g. If the spaceship is touching any asteroid, this Boolean statement returns true indicating that a collision has occurred, which is more efficient than using nested if statements since the result of any collision is the same)."

  • Question

    I am just planning and looking at my Level 2 pattern adaptation AS 91350 Make advanced adaptations to a pattern to change the structural and style features of a design. Can you clarify for me if changing an A- Line skirt with a facing, and dart to a gathered skirt onto a fitted waistband has enough degree of difficulty and would be considered advanced enough for level 2? In addition, all of the other appropriate other documentation that goes with the standard would be provided.


    Pattern alterations such as gathering are generally not seen as advanced adaptations. However, if the student carried out the adaptations in a similar way to that outlined below, then this would be considered an advanced adaptation to a pattern.

    The student:

    • determined the degree of fullness required (They measured, slashed, and added width to the front and back skirt pattern pieces for gathering based on the placement required in the finished style. They marked the skirt pieces so they could be gathered evenly to match the notches on the waistband. When adapting the pattern pieces, they determined how much fullness to add when using a particular type of fabric.)
    • drafted a pattern piece for the waistband to the required finished length, height, fit, and waistband style. (The pattern piece indicated the placement of the gathering when attaching the skirt pieces to the waistband.)
  • Question

    Where can I find exemplars for AS91351 Implement advanced procedures to process a specified product? Thanks.


    NZQA manages the development of exemplars. The assessment schedule for the TKI assessment resource "Process a lemon meringue pie" provides examples of acceptable evidence for each grade. (The word file on the web page given below is titled "2.60 Food".) The teacher guidelines are also very useful in explaining requirements. See NCEA on TKI, Level 2 Technology assessment resources

  • Question

    Could you please give me examples of programmes of work that would lend themselves to using Achievement standard 1.50 (AS91080: Demonstrate understanding of the common components of basic digital infrastructures) as an assessment tool? Could you please clarify the two explanatory notes within this standard: 5. A procedure is a sequence of steps that can be followed to install or replace a component. 6. A protocol is a sequence of steps that must be followed to install or replace a component.


    Teachers have successfully used AS91080 (Demonstrate understanding of the common components of basic digital infrastructures) alongside AS91081 (Implement basic procedures for servicing a personal computer system) for assessment in programmes where students investigate, pull apart, build, and repair old computers, install operating systems, and connect peripherals. They teach and encourage students to research and develop their knowledge of digital infrastructure alongside their work on the two standards. Throughout this process, evidence that records research findings and decisions made about why one solution was chosen over another can be collected for assessment. It should be noted that evidence for all of EN3 as appropriate needs to be included as a report which can be presented in a number of formats. See the conditions of assessment:

    "This evidence may be generated from discussion, individual research, decision making and/or reflection and will be presented as a separate report produced in any media that clearly communicates the student’s understanding of common components of basic infrastructure."

    An assessment resource for 1.50, which is a good starting point, is available on the NZQA website – Level 1 Technology assessment resources.

    A clarification is available from the NZQA website – Computing / Digital Technologies subject resources.

    This standard is intended for use in programmes that focus on developing students' understandings of digital infrastructure. The standard progression is to level 2 NCEA 2.50 AS91377 Demonstrate understanding of local area network technologies and level 3 NCEA 3.50 AS91641 Demonstrate understanding of wide area network technologies.

    Teachers require a developed knowledge of digital infrastructure to both teach and assess these standards. There are a number of providers and websites which may assist in the teaching and development of student knowledge for these standards.

    In answer to your second question, see the following definitions.

    • A procedure is a method that describes a way of working (that is, a recipe).

    A protocol is a procedure validated by a community of practice. For example, the set of conventions governing how data is formatted in an electronic communications system. Another example is an IEEE standards note, see www.ieee.org.

  • Question

    In the standard 91633, complex procedures include: create queries to insert, update, or delete to modify data. If I use Access to assess this standard, would you please give me some examples of "inserting to modify data"? What kind of techniques are required in Access to do this?


    The standard requires students to create queries to retrieve and modify data not insert to modify data. 

    AS 91633 states the following at achieved.

    1. Implement complex procedures to develop a relational database embedded in a specified digital outcome involves:

    • creating queries to retrieve and modify data

    Explanatory note 6 includes the following statement.

    Complex procedures to develop a relational database include:

    • creating queries which insert, update or delete to modify data

    Because the word "or" is in the statement (insert, update, or delete to modify data) it is not the expectation that all are done. 

    An example of creating queries to modify data in Access is in the assessment schedule on TKI . The student has created relevant queries that combine data from multiple tables, which allow the user to retrieve and modify information for the situation. For example: The student has created a query to find a certain member and then edit the data; and a query to find all DVDs that are rated M. (Queries could also be created that show those members who are over or under a certain age.)

    Other examples could include the following:

    • creating queries which extract data from more than one table
    • running an update query or a delete query (For example, you may need to update the postal codes of the customers table or you may need to delete a certain item. These queries enable this to be done efficiently.)
    • running an append query (For example, you might need to add data to the customer table. You acquire a database that contains a table of new customers, and since you already have another table in your database that stores similar data, you would like to add those new customers to your table. Instead of copying the data from the acquired database into the table in your existing database, you could use an append query.) 

    Here are 2 links that help to explain update queries in Access for different versions:

    Access help: Create and run an update query (Access 2013)

    Access help: Change existing data by using an update query (Access 2003)

    Some providers are collecting data into an Excel spreadsheet and then running an update query to add this data into the database.

    If using A MySQL Database and PHP web pages, this can be done using PHP coding and the updating is done directly from the user input in the web page.

  • Question

    Teachers are using Scratch for 91076. What are they doing about code commenting? Construct a basic computer program for a specified task involves: implementing a plan for a basic program in a suitable programming language; setting out the program code clearly and documenting the program with comments; testing and debugging the program to ensure that it works on a sample of expected inputs.


    Generally Scratch programmes are well presented with comments as inserts or tags (see attached examples) by students. The students need to be shown the process of creating comments tags. In version 1.4 of Scratch, right click on the area where you create the program, create the comment, and then drag the comment to attach it to a block. In version 2, just right click on the block and add a comment. See the attached document.

    Scratch (Word 2007, 557 KB)

  • Question

    Please advise me on the student:teacher ratio for hard materials, food technology, and soft materials in a Technology centre providing specialist Technology for students in years 7 and 8. I cannot find guidelines around the maximum number of students to be taught in such classes.


    Technology is identified as one of the eight essential learning areas (ELA) in The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007). The other ELA are science, English, social sciences, mathematics and statistics, health and physical education, learning languages, and the arts.

    The National Administration Guidelines (NAGs) for school administration, state that School Boards of Trustees (BOT), through their principal and staff are required to develop and implement teaching and learning programmes that “provide all students in years 1–10 with opportunities to achieve for success in all areas of the National Curriculum” (NAG 1).

    Further supporting NAG1, the National Education Goals (NEGS) require schools to offer students in years 1-10 a “broad education through a balanced curriculum covering essential learning areas” (NEG 5). It goes further in stating that “priority should be given to the development of high levels of [student] competence (knowledge and skills) in literacy and numeracy, science and technology, and physical activity” (NEG 5).

    While neither the NEGs nor the NAGs explicitly state the specific amount of time schools need to devote to student learning in each ELA, including Technology, the expectation is that all students up to and including year 10 will receive a "balanced" programme of learning that incorporates all eight ELA.

    In addition, the PPTA does provide a guide to timetabling. However, the guide includes the statement that the school shall endeavour to meet these guidelines. The PPTA document Class size policy statements (to guide timetabling) states the following:

    1. The school will endeavour to restrict practical classes in rooms of 83m² to the following sizes for reasons of safe supervision and operation.

    Practical Subjects  Year Level   Max Pupil Number
    Music  All years  20
    Technology  All years  20
    Home Economics  All years 20
    Science 7-10 26
      11-12 24
      13-15  20
    Art* and Design   7-10 26
      11-15 20
    PE     Gymnasium   7-10 25
    Assembly Halls 11-15 20
    Playing Pitches/Sports Halls All years  30

    *Art should include performing arts, including drama.

    NB—For laboratories/studios of less than 83m2, the number of pupils to be safely accommodated will be reduced in direct relation to the size of the accommodation.

    This document is available on the PPTA website. See the document Class size policy statements (2007) at the bottom of the page. There is also guidance in this statement on the physical space requirements for Technology classes.

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