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2013 Notes from the Marking Centre – Agriculture


This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Agriculture course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2013 Higher School Certificate examination, highlighting their strengths in particular parts of the examination and indicating where candidates need to improve.

This document should be read along with:

Section I – Part B

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • understanding a range of pests and diseases (Q.22)
  • linking whole-farm planning to environmental sustainability (Q.23)
  • evaluating two or more components of experimental design (Q.24)
  • providing relevant examples
  • understanding the effects of plant competition and strategies that could be implemented to reduce them (Q.25)
  • providing a direct link between aspects of nutrition (eg protein/energy level/plane of nutrition) to a particular aspect of fertility (eg sperm production, ovulation rates, onset of puberty) (Q.26a)
  • understanding the technique of embryo transfer and the advantages and disadvantages of using the technique (Q.26b)
  • understanding market specifications (Q.27a)
  • identifying and describing a variety of value-adding techniques (Q.27b)
  • understanding technological advancements (Q.28a)
  • understanding the marketing strategies available to farmers (Q.28b).

Candidates need to improve in these areas

  • understanding animal husbandry practices, systems and ethics (Q.21)
  • explaining the role of groups in reducing the negative effects of agriculture on the environment (Q.23b)
  • understanding the strengths and weaknesses of experimental design (Q.24)
  • identifying the required data and selecting the correct graph format (column graph) (Q.24)
  • identifying sources of plant competition (Q.25)
  • using appropriate examples (eg from animal production systems, not human reproductive biology) (Q.26b)
  • using the criteria to judge the value of embryo transfer in particular situations (Q.26b)
  • relating the identified problem to how it affects the producer’s ability to meet market specifications (Q.27a)
  • understanding the difference between a farm product from a plant or animal enterprise and a farm aspect (eg ‘soil’) (Q.27b)
  • understanding the effect of technological advances on the production and marketing of farm products (Q.28a).

Section II – Electives

Question 29 – Agri-food, Fibre and Fuel Technologies

Question 30 – Climate Challenge

Question 31 – Farming in the 21st Century

Candidates showed strength in these areas:

  • understanding the conflict between the need for increased production and ethical issues relating to the use of biotechnologies (Q.29b)
  • understanding climate change and the need for ongoing research into climate variability (Q.30ai)
  • identifying examples of biotechnologies and robotics (Q.31b).

Candidates need to improve in these areas:

  • knowing the difference between biosecurity and biotechnology (Q.29b)
  • identifying methods available to farmers to trade water resources (Q.30aii)
  • knowing the characteristics and features of both biotechnologies and robotics (Q.31b)
  • describing the benefits of biotechnologies and robotics (Q.31b)
  • referring to recent technologies rather than 30–40 year old examples (Q.31b).
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