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Ministry of Education.
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  • Question

    For the Achievement standard 91633, can you suggest some programs that can be used on a Mac that would allow students to gain excellence? I have been told that Mac programs give templates so the students can't achieve the standard. I was sure this couldn't be right.


    File Maker Pro for MAC can be used over the course – the students could do some work in PHP/MySQL using MAMP, which is free.

    File Maker Pro does provide some templates, but there is a huge amount of work to be done “behind the scenes”. Students can create all their own custom layouts, scripts, button events, and so on.

  • Question

    Please explain why functional modelling and prototyping are both needed to support decision making when developing an outcome.


    Functional modelling is the process of checking out design concepts/ideas to see if they are suitable for developing into an actual outcome.

    Functional models are always representations, not the actual thing. They could be, for example, a sketch, a pattern or plan, a cardboard model, a CAD drawing, or even a mental picture. They may be of the whole outcome, or just a part (for example, how two sections of the proposed outcome are to be joined).

    A prototype is the first complete version of an outcome – the realisation of concepts/ideas that have earlier been developed through functional modelling. It is full-sized, made of the selected materials, and painted or finished as required. The prototype can be assessed against the brief: does it have all the specified attributes, does it work as required, is it fit for purpose?

    If the outcome is a “one-off”, then the prototype is “it” – the student evaluates the outcome and the technological practice used to produce it; this evaluation becomes part of their ongoing learning. If the prototype is the first of a number of same or similar outcomes, the evaluation will likely to lead to modifications.

    So functional modelling and prototyping have quite different purposes, but both come under the technological modelling component of the curriculum. See the Indicators of Progression for useful suggestions on how you could teach your students about functional modelling and prototyping.

    The following resources on Technology Online may also be useful:

    Discovering what functional modelling is – and why it’s so important

    Top scholar technology 2013: Robotic window cleaner

  • Question

    I am teaching year 13 Food Technology and looking for information on AS 91643. Is there a teaching resource for complex procedures? How is it best to break down this teaching and learning ?


    It’s an assessment resource, not a teaching resource, but the internal assessment resource for AS 91643 should give you a clear idea about the teaching required.

    Note that the emphasis in all the “implement procedures” standards is on technology in a commercial environment, where the viability of a product can be determined by the ability to make it consistently to exacting specifications and then sell it at a profit. So quality control and the efficient use of time and resources are extremely important.

    According to the standard, “complex procedures are those that require a diverse range of processing operations to be performed in a particular order based on knowledge of techniques, operations, and testing feedback”. EN 2 provides very good guidance on what complex procedures encompass and the bulleted points could be used as a basis for planning your teaching programme.

    While cream puffs are used as an example in the internal assessment resource, you can choose (or let your students choose) any other food product as long as the specifications are of sufficient rigour (EN 5).

    The internal assessment resource contains useful guidance on what “skillfully” (Merit) and “efficiently” (Excellence) might look like.

  • Question

    I have been looking to change the course I offer at Level 1 and found AS 91096, which seemed promising, but focuses on pattern making for fabric only. Why such a narrow focus? Are the experts not aware that pattern making is widely used in the metal fabrication and air-conditioning industries? Could this be changed in the future?


    When AS 91096 was being created, the writers decided after a lot of discussion to restrict its application to textiles (EN#4).

    Could this be changed in the future?

    The processes, techniques, and tools involved in creating a pattern for a sheet metal product or a moulding are so substantially different that it is doubtful if broadening the scope of AS 91096 could cover them off, and there are currently no plans to introduce further technology achievement standards.

    At some stage in the future there will no doubt be a review and changes, but even then, it is unlikely that the Ministry of Education (as owner of the achievement standards) will want to go too far down the path of duplicating industry-focused standards. Technology already has a vast array of standards – far more than any other learning area.

    Having said this, have you considered assessing aspects of the pattern-making process using one of the generic standards, for example, AS 91047 Undertake development to make a prototype to address a brief or AS 91046 Use design ideas to produce a conceptual design for an outcome to address a brief? Between them, they provide for a very wide range of possible teaching contexts.

  • Question

    Are senior students allowed to use a mitre/drop saw for technology/carpentry classes? This machine is not on the MOE poster Minimum year levels for using machinery, power tools, and equipment.


    “Drop saw” is on the “Recommended year levels for using machinery” list as “combination saw”, with the recommendation that students should never use it. 

  • Question

    On page 6/11 of the Internal Assessment Resource for 91073, the note at the bottom of the page states that students may refer to existing web templates for information and ideas, but may not download the template and change it. BUT, the final sentence states that they can use a web template provided by the teacher. Can you explain the difference between using and modifying a template from the internet and one provided by the teacher please?


    The sentence on page 6 reiterates the requirement to “incorporate original content”, found in EN 3 of AS 91073 and exemplified in EN 5.

    The standard is one of a suite of similar standards designed to allow teachers to teach basic procedures in a particular technological area and then assess how skillfully and efficiently the student can carry them out.

    The challenge is to create an assessment task that “is of sufficient rigour to allow the student to meet the standard” (EN 3). It is for this reason that “pre-designed templates” from the web or supplied as part of a program package are not acceptable (EN 5). Such templates are specifically designed to reduce the skills required to produce a professional result by transforming the user’s material more or less magically into its finished shape.

    By contrast, a teacher-provided template can provide guidance without removing the need for the student to demonstrate an appropriate range and level of skills. In soft materials, a teacher-provided template could be a paper pattern; for a website or other digital media product, it could be a structure diagram or schema.

    A teacher could guide students to create a CSS which is applied to a page, then ask students to follow the same procedure to create a new CSS with a slightly different layout, and apply this to web pages. The teacher could give a conceptual design showing measurements and placement of items (if the conceptual is not being assessed).

    For the purposes of this AS, allowing a student to create their media product by inserting text and graphics into a Dreamweaver template would not be acceptable (EN 5) but using Design view in Dreamweaver would. In this latter scenario the student still has to (EN 2):

    • apply a set of techniques to create an outcome that meets specifications
    • use the appropriate features of digital media software to edit and integrate digital media types to create an outcome
    • apply formatting techniques and design elements as appropriate to the media type and requirement of the outcome.

    Even if modified, pre-designed templates trivialise these requirements.

    In summary, when the AS says that the student is required to “perform a set of techniques, as instructed, to produce a digital media outcome” (EN 4), it is looking for rather more than the ability to drag and drop or “paint by numbers”. 

  • Question

    I would like clarification on the following standard if possible: AS 91608 Undertake brief development to address an issue within a determined context. Under explanatory Notes 2, the standard states: "... within a determined context involves ... Establishing an issue and identifying related context considerations ... Explaining the context considerations as related to an established issue" Could you clarify what each of these bullet points mean? They look a bit like the same thing but said in different ways. What should you see in the student's work for each of these bullet points? The students are working on a project in the context of formal wear and several students wish to make a ball gown.


    Statements such as "S needs a ball dress” or "S wants something unique to go to the ball” seem more like needs or opportunities, rather than issues. To ensure the depth and breadth of practice required at this level, it might be better for students to be establishing issues such as "uniqueness" within a context of school balls/formal occasions. 

    At curriculum level 8, students will generally be establishing an issue (and thus context) that is relevant to them as an individual. 
From the beginning of their practice, students should be showing in-depth consideration for social and physical environmental factors related to their context.

    For a school ball/formal occasion, this might include things such as dress code, current fashions, activities at the event (for example, dancing, eating), month and time of the event, personal culture, and so on.
 A need for one student (within the issue of uniqueness) may be to stand out at the school ball, but also to have an outfit that can be worn at future occasions.

    At curriculum level 8 it is not always the best approach to allow the outcome to drive the practice. That is, a student who wants to make a particular ball dress may find it very difficult to undertake brief development as required at this level. 
The final brief must allow judgement of the outcome’s fitness for purpose in the broadest sense. This relates to the outcome itself as well as the practices used to develop the outcome. This requires ongoing consideration of the context.

    At this level, when students are working on a project in which they are making a ball gown, it could be considered whether it would be better to focus on the skills that students develop (rather than on the brief development process). That is, instead they could be assessed against achievement standards such as:

    • AS 90621 (Implement complex procedures using textiles materials to make a specified product)
    • AS 91350 (Make advanced adaptions to a pattern to change the structural and style features of a design)
    • AS 91623 (Implement complex procedures to create an applied design for a specified product).
  • 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)

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