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Ministry of Education.
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  • Question

    For the Level 2 Planning standard (As 91355) the outcome our students are heading towards is the creation of a multipage website. In the standard it says "Planning tools may include but are not limited to: brainstorms, mind-maps, idea banks, reflective journals and scrapbooks, plans of action, Gantt charts, flow diagrams, graphical organisers, and spreadsheets and databases." Would students using a layout diagram of their website (i.e. what each page will look like / conceptual type diagram) also count as a planning tool? The diagram would show the placement of elements of the webpage such as header, column, images, text, footer, etc. This is what a web designer would do to help plan a website.


    AS 91355 requires students to: "Use selected planning tools to set achievable goals, establishing resources required and determining critical review points." (Explanatory Note 2)

    The layout diagram described is generally used as a functional modelling tool to present designs and in some instances used to illicit feedback from key stakeholders. If it was to be considered a planning tool, it would need to be seen to be aiding goal setting and/or the establishment of resources required, and/or the determining of critical review points.

  • Question

    Achievement Standard 91617 (external) Can you clarify the difference between "appraise the design of a tech outcome using contemporary design judgement criteria" and "evaluate the quality of the design of a tech outcome using design judgement criteria", as found in the L3 Common Assessment Guide, Candidate guidance for producing the report. My thesaurus gives evaluate as having a similar meaning to appraise.


    The interpretation of these words is also related to the phrases that follow them in the standard criteria.

    Appraising the design of a technological outcome using design judgement criteria: For this criteria at achieved, an appraisal is considered an opinion related to the design judgement criteria.

    Evaluating the quality of the design of a technological outcome using design judgement criteria: For this criteria at merit, evaluating is considered to be the application of the design judgement criteria to produce a critique that is more "objective", "testable", and possibly enumerated.

    The judgement being made by an assessor is that the quality of the critique has improved as the critique has moved beyond informed opinion. The critique has more depth as a better understanding of "design judgement criteria" and/or a better application of the design judgement criteria inform it.

    Additional information is available in the NZQA assessment schedules and assessment reports.

  • Question

    Does the prototype actually have to "work"? Would it be "fit for purpose" if it didn't ?


    A prototype is a finished outcome ready to be trialled in situ. So the intent should be that it will work. It would have to work "well enough" to be trialled.

    At level 2/3 NCEA, students undertake prototyping to gain evidence of fitness for purpose. The student is required to explain any decisions to accept or modify the prototype.

    The approach to prototyping does differ between industries. For example, in the car industry prototyping occurs quickly (as they need the prototype to test), and there will generally be many subsequent modifications.

    In schools, there are time and budget and other constraints when prototyping. A student might make the prototype to the best of their understanding of how it should be and then undertake prototyping. They may then find some aspect doesn't work or isn't quite right as they make a judgment against the brief. The students need to explain any decisions to accept and/or modify the prototype. Responses could include:

    • Although this aspect is not quite right, it is acceptable as is because …
    • While I am not doing it now for time/budget ... reasons, the prototype would need to be modified by doing ... because … (and so on).


    • The student goes on and implements and shows the modification.

    It is expected that the student who carefully works through the development stage will more than likely make a prototype that does work. That is because they have undertaken the evaluating, trialling, selecting, and so on of materials, components, tools, equipment, and practical techniques and processes as required by the standard. 

  • Question

    Can you give examples for Tech systems L5 in an electronics context please. I find this really confusing – "Identify subsystems within technological systems and explain their transformation and connective properties".


    In an electronics context all electronic circuits can be subdivided into sub circuits called "subsystems". A subsystem is a circuit that has a defined input, transformation, and output – that is a subsystem has a single defined function (for example, voltage transformation, motor driving, sensor input, and amplification).

    Subsystems are connected to each other to build up a full electronic system (or "environment") by designing an interface or link. The interface has to be designed and fine-tuned to allow the subsystems to transfer their output into each other’s input effectively and efficiently. Historically in electronics, subsystems and interfaces are hardware-based, although now with the dominance of embedded software (code programmed into a microcontroller), interfaces can be software-based as well as hardware-based (for example, the RS232 protocol link).

    A simple example from biology is the human body, which is a biological system. The subsystems can be thought of as the respiratory, circulatory, excretory, and so on subsystems. All the subsystems of the body have to interface effectively and efficiently for the body to work.

    Another example is in the subsystems of the automobile. If you don’t interface these correctly with each other you will have a car that will definitely need to go in for a "tuneup" (a tuneup is an interfacing process).

    Some teachers find that starting with familiar examples like these is a helpful approach to discussing the concepts of subsystems and interfacing. This demonstrates that the ideas are universal and not just "owned" by electronics and technology.

  • Question

    I have a question regarding AS91053. When it comes to this design element standard, the explanatory notes say: "Design elements may include but are not limited to: line, balance, shape, colour, symmetry, strength, contrast, durability, alignment." I appreciate that is says “may include but are not limited to”. My students have been studying video game design so my question is, if we are looking at the design elements of video games, do we still need to consider the traditional CRAP and SCABS of design? Or can we look at those aspects that relate to gaming? Or do we have to do both? http://wps.pearsoncustom.com/wps/media/objects/8771/8981685/SG140_Ch01.pdf The link given outlines the required elements for game design. They go something like this: 1. Play: Games arise from the human desire for play and from our capacity to pretend. Play is a wide category of nonessential, and usually recreational, human activities that are often socially significant as well. Pretending is the mental ability to establish a notional reality that the pretender knows is different from the real world and that the pretender can create, abandon, or change at will. Playing and pretending are essential elements of playing games. Both have been studied extensively as cultural and psychological phenomena. 2. Pretending (see above) 3. A Goal (objective): What do you want your player to achieve, what do you want them to feel or experience? Do you want them to relax, to take their breath away, emotional, invincible, rock the world, kill everything that moves? How long will people play for – hours or a quick fix? These decision must be made to help pick the genre of your game as well as your target audience. 4. Rules: Generally speaking players expect that the game will have rules that are fair. However, sometimes players may choose to change the rules. (See Changing the Rules, page 10). 5. Gameplay: The challenges that a player must face to arrive at the objective of the game. The actions that the player is permitted to take to address those challenges. 6. Symmetry and Asymmetry. 7. Competition and Cooperation. Also, in one of the Marking Exemplars on TKI it states: The report describes experiences you would expect to come from a course of instruction derived from the technology learning area in the NZC: A critique of existing products embedded within a student’s tech practice; Testing and trialling within a modelling process; Developing a conceptual design; Development and/or refinement of a brief, material selection, and/or construction techniques used; Development of a one-off solution or prototype; An evaluation of a student’s one-off solution or prototype. I am not sure how developing a conceptual design, the modelling process, evaluation of a one-off solution, and so on are included in this standard about demonstrating an understanding of design elements. Or are these mentioned as means through which the student might have acquired knowledge of the required design elements?


    Students are required at achieved to describe the elements that underpin design within a specified context and describe considerations used to determine the quality of a design within a specified context.

    Explanatory note 3 of the standard outlines the definitions of subjective and objective aspects to determine the quality of design. See:

    • Considerations used to determine the quality of a design include subjective and objective aspects.
    • Subjective aspects are those that are based on personal, cultural, and sociological factors (e.g. preference, style, fashion, taste, identity, image, perception).
    • Objective aspects are those that can be established in a quantifiable sense (e.g. ergonomics, anthropometrics, purpose, operation, cost, production) and which are based on physical conditions.

    The elements outlined for game design generally fit into the definition of subjective aspects used to measure the quality of design in the context of gaming. 

    Students are encouraged to demonstrate understanding based on their own technological experiences. Developing a conceptual design, the modelling process, and evaluation of a one-off solution may be part of a student’s technological experiences. Technological experiences can also include visiting speakers, a site visit, research of existing products, and knowledge gained from their whānau/family and wider community contacts. Students can demonstrate understanding of design elements and the quality of design by applying or discarding this knowledge within their own technological practice. 

  • Question

    What are some examples of cultural appropriateness of trialling processes in a textiles context?


    Trialling in textiles includes fitting and modeling of garments or textile outcomes. Examples of cultural appropriateness of trialling processes when addressing the concept of fitness for purpose in its broadest sense could include:

    • demonstrating a sensitivity to privacy, modesty, and personal space when carrying out fittings in a classroom setting
    • working in timeframes for fittings that suit the wearer
    • not requiring excessive fittings
    • adhering to protocols that may derive from religious beliefs regarding modesty and body exposure 
    • adhering to cultural protocols about the use of classroom fittings (for example, sitting on tables is unacceptable in Māori culture).

    Sometimes the boundaries between personal, cultural, religious, and ethical beliefs and practices are not always clear and examples will overlap.

  • Question

    I have been discussing fitness for purpose in the broadest sense with my students and would like to seek clarity on this. Can you explain to me what students should consider in fitness for purpose in its broadest sense in a digital context? I wonder if there are generic understandings that would apply to all of the digital medias used – print, information systems, web, game design, and programming – but also some that would be only specific to a particular area.


    Fitness for purpose in its broadest sense relates to the outcome itself as well as to the practices used to develop the outcome. This is a curriculum level 8 concept and is referred to in the generic achievement standards at NCEA Level 3.

    Some of the areas students could consider when demonstrating understandings of this concept and/or applying this within practice are shown in the table on pages 2–7 of the PDF below. These suggestions should not be considered exhaustive and students will find other ideas that relate to particular outcomes.

    Fitness for purpose in its broadest sense in a digital context (PDF, 129 KB)

    Some teachers have found that, when developing a brief that allows fitness for purpose in the broadest sense, it works well to have students develop specifications for the two aspects. That is, students categorise their specifications as either being for the outcome itself or for the practices to be undertaken to develop the outcome. This helps to reinforce that students must consider more than just fitness for purpose (as is the practice at NCEA Level 2).

    Examining and critiquing the practice of technologists within the framework of fitness for purpose in its broadest sense can also assist students to develop their understandings of this concept.

  • Question

    Please can I have clarification on what level a leotard that is being adapted by running a swathe of different fabric through the body would be – level 1, 91096 or level 2, 91350. The fabric being used is Lycra. It will involve cutting the original pattern and creating a new pattern to accommodate the curved piece and a pattern for the swathe. I am not sure if this is rigorous enough to meet the requirements of level 2 or if it is better suited to 91906. There don't appear to be any exemplars for 91350.


    AS 91096 defines basic adaptations in explanatory note 7 as "Examples of basic adaptations include, but are not limited to – lengthening, shortening, widening, simple shape changes". The alteration described is more advanced than the examples listed here.

    AS 91350 defines advanced adaptations in explanatory notes 6 and 7 as the following. "Advanced adaptations refer to making changes to pattern pieces to enable the inclusion of structural and/or style features into an existing design. Advanced adaptations include but are not limited to: manipulating darts, sleeves, adding pleats, gores, yokes, button wraps, facings, and collars".

    The adaption you describe could be considered an adaption as described in AS 91350 – the inclusion of the curved piece in the front of the leotard and the associated pattern alteration is one adaptation. However, the student would need to include another adaptation to meet the requirements of the standard. For example, the pattern could be adapted so sleeves can be added or a strap lattice can be added, or the shoulder shape and neckline could be adapted to allow for a thin strap.

  • Question

    Do students have to make the garment as part of AS91623 (Implement complex procedures to create an applied design for a specified product) or can they add the applied design to a garment that they already have?


    AS91623 is about interpreting a complex design and creating it on a garment. That is, students do not have to make the garment as part of the standard. 
    Explanatory note 7 states that the complexity of the design may result from various factors. For example:

    • some skill may be required to ensure the applied design is placed as planned (for example, registering a screen print on a shaped pre-made garment)
    • the characteristics of the material the garment is made from may make it more difficult to apply a design (for example, textured, shiny, slippery fabric)
    • the chosen design medium may be challenging to work with
    • the design itself may be intricate.

    Whatever it is that makes the design complex, the application of the design must enhance the garment aesthetically (explanatory note 6).

  • Question

    For AS91642 can the network simulator Cisco Packet Tracer be used for the entire assessment? Can IP V6, IP V4, or both be used for the Assessment (given IP V6 is designed not to use NAT).


    Cisco Packet Tracer is suitable for this task.

    The latest version is 6.0.1 and includes full support for IP V6. 

    It would be appropriate to look at both IP V6 and IP V4 networks considering the state of play in the real world. NAT is given as an example in explanatory note 5 so if using IP V6, it would not be needed, but some form of security would need to be provided.

    Cisco Packet Tracer is only available to those schools that are enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy

    Schools not enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy could consider the following alternatives.

    Commercial solutions:

    1.  Boson NetSim

    2.  GNS3

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