I have received a few questions recently about the synoptic aspect of the A2 papers and thought I would pass on my views!
The synoptic criteria has been dropped from the mark scheme. It is essentially equivalent to IDA.
ISSUES, DEBATES AND APPROACHES (IDA)
- The AO2 mark scheme includes a criterion regarding IDA.
- IDA is not credited in Psychopathology, nor in AO1 (if a question is parted and a student puts IDA in the AO1 part there is no credit).
- The mark scheme indicates that a student who only presents superficial IDA should gain a maximum of 8 out of 16 marks … however
- In January on Unit 3 the Grade A boundary was 43 out of 75 marks which means 14.3 was a Grade A, which further means that students were probably getting Grade As with only superficial IDA. This boundary may of course rise.
- I gather from people marking this summer that they were instructed to give a maximum of 12 AO2 marks for essays lacking IDA, and that in essays with poor IDA they should move the mark to the bottom of the band otherwise appropriate.
- I think what this means is that Grade C candidates should forget about it!
- In the report on January’s exam it pointed out that IDA must be elaborated and relevant, sustained and effective to gain any credit. Candidates should focus on answering the question set. Just identifying a debate or issue gained no extra marks.
- I think that 1 good issue or debate or approach paragraph per essay will be plenty. Often approaches offer the best kind of commentary e.g. contrasting a theory with an alternative approach. In some areas e.g. relationships, cultural bias would make an excellent point – but look for the obvious IDA points.
HOW SCIENCE WORKS – HSW (AO3)
- There are no special AO3 marks for the essays. AO3 is incorporated in AO2 and now called AO2/AO3.
- If a student presents evaluation in terms of methodology, that will gain AO2/AO3 points (as it always has done).
- If a student provides no evaluation in terms of methodology, they will not lose marks. There is no mention of HSW in the mark schemes. It is good AO2 but not required.
- If methodological comments are included they must be sustained and relevant and effective in order to gain credit. Just saying ‘This study had a poor sample’ would attract little or no credit.
Any comments or further queries are welcome!