Assessment Report

Level 1 Media Studies 2021

Standards 90991  90992

 

Part A: Commentary

Overall, candidate performance was similar to that in previous years, across both standards. There was some evidence of rote-learned responses. Candidates coped well with the new format for 90991, which gave them opportunities to show their understanding of the deeper concepts underpinning this area of study.

For both standards, Excellence responses reflected a depth of understanding of the requirements of the standards, supported by well-selected evidence.

Part B: Report on standards

90991:  Demonstrate understanding of the media coverage of a current issue or event

Examinations 

The resource-based assessment required candidates to respond to three questions and three extracts. The questions demanded an analysis of how and why news stories were covered in a particular way. Candidates chose to either use their own material studied in class or the resource material to respond to the third question. Both options produced thoughtful and well-answered responses.

The adjustment in the Assessment Specifications and the provision of exemplar material meant that candidates were generally well prepared for the new format.

Observations 

Addressing the reason why any media covers an issue in a particular way is more important than the issue being covered. Comparing coverage is an effective way to demonstrate an understanding of how media cover news. This avoids candidates taking a position on the issue. Comparisons could be between audiences of different media, e.g. political biases, age of target audience, mode of delivery, etc) or the difference in the media itself, e.g. ‘new’ media vs ‘old’ media coverage. Typically, this approach aided candidates in focusing on the coverage over the issue and offered opportunities to consider impacts or effects. Some candidates demonstrated good understanding through effective analysis of the resource coverage, e.g. considering the choice of image, the style of headline and language, the overall tone. Further success was gained by linking this to audiences.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • gave a reasoned response, although the reasoning was sometimes uneven
  • answered all questions with at least a paragraph of explanation
  • used media terminology accurately.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • responded to the issue they were addressing, developing an opinion on that issue rather than identifying and explaining reasons why the issues was covered the way it was
  • did not explain media coverage
  • provided insufficient response to the questions.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • considered the audience and the impact this might have had on the coverage
  • focused their discussion on media rather than the issue
  • applied media theory as part of their explanation.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly: 

  • demonstrated clear understanding of media in its many forms and the differing reasons for why media cover news as they do
  • considered audiences and the impact on audiences
  • applied media theory/theories accurately
  • showed perceptive understanding of the resources
  • considered wider impacts and/or effects of the way media operate.

 

90992:  Demonstrate understanding of characteristics of a media genre

Examinations 

The assessment was similar to those from previous years with a single response required from candidates. Responses were spread over four options and candidates showed they were prepared to find the most appropriate option for the particular genre and material that they had studied. Excellence responses reflected a depth of understanding of the requirements of the standards, supported with well-selected evidence.

Observations 

There was ample evidence of thorough learning and well-structured writing. However, many responses appeared to be rote-learned, or on issues around representation rather than characteristics of the genre. On this point, implication of the representation of gender such as hypermasculinity and female sexualisation was discussed in relation to society rather than its position/purpose in connection to the genre. Many candidates fell into the trap of creating representation ‘lectures’ to say how bad the genre was in terms of diversity, etc. Romcoms and action movies were favourites. While this is an aspect that is worthwhile looking at, often candidates focused entirely on how 'damaging' such representations were, without any real evidence to prove that this was the case. Many candidates also failed to understand that texts made in 1920 or 1950 cannot solely be examined through a twenty first-century lens in terms of their messaging and values. Some genres were at times handled with a lack of sensitivity. A number of horror essays celebrated the idea that horror was 'better' when you can see 'guts spilling out of a stomach' or a 'bullet exploding someone’s head'. Unfortunately, many candidates also referred to texts that were age restricted, i.e. beyond their legal viewing. Candidates that studied social media as a genre have reopened the debate around whether a platform is a genre. Candidates need to make sure they select characteristics that are typical of that genre. Such choices as 'colour’, 'editing’, 'basic structure', or more generalised character traits such as 'protagonist' are obviously not specific to their chosen genre, but relevant to all genres. Occasionally, candidates would argue a compelling case for such a general characteristic in connection to the genre. Too many candidates responded specifically to texts without extrapolating out to the genre in general, e.g. responses that were an analysis of local documentaries and discussing the impact of these on a community, as opposed to a more general discussion about the importance of 'interviews' and 'b-roll footage' in expository documentary in general.

Grade awarding 

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • responded to their chosen option(s) with appropriate evidence to support.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not write on two texts or did not provide evidence of a characteristic from a text
  • looked at only one characteristic
  • focused solely on the text in their response without demonstrating their knowledge of the genres
  • produced responses which were limited in length and detail.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly: 

  • moved beyond a simple description of their required analysis and started to look at the reasons behind the use or style of material
  • elevated the level of their answer by addressing the effects of their characteristics on the genre/coverage beyond the impact of individual texts to a wider consideration of genre/coverage.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • used good supporting evidence to show understanding of their chosen topic rather than only the texts discussed
  • related the discussion to the impact on audience, society, or other relevant implications
  • incorporated appropriate media theory
  • moved beyond the material to explore overarching concepts in genre/coverage
  • wrote with clarity of expression.

Media Studies subject page

Previous years' reports
2020 (PDF, 146KB)

2019 (PDF, 288KB)

2018 (PDF, 109KB)

2017 (PDF, 43KB)

2016 (PDF, 211KB)

 
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