Politics

Reflections on the first series of A level Politics exams

Reflections on the first series of A level Politics exams

This short video provides some general feedback on the first summer series for A level Politics, looking at some of the key challenges faced by students across all 3 papers.

Finding useful Politics resources on our website

Guidance on source based questions for A level Politics

Pre-recorded feedback on Summer 2019

Reflections on the first series of A level Politics exams

Finding useful Politics resources on our website

Finding useful Politics resources on our website

We have recorded a short video featuring Kathy Schindler, one of our Subject Experts, to explain how A level Politics teachers can use our website to find the most useful resources and support materials for Politics.

Guidance on source based questions for A level Politics

Pre-recorded feedback on Summer 2019

Reflections on the first series of A level Politics exams

Finding useful Politics resources on our website

Guidance on source based questions for A level Politics

Guidance on source based questions for A level Politics

We have created a new guidance document Guidance for the Source Based Questions on the A Level Politics Paper 1 and 2 to point out good practice and to illustrate how students can gain confidence in approaching source questions.

Pre-recorded feedback on Summer 2019

Reflections on the first series of A level Politics exams

Finding useful Politics resources on our website

Guidance on source based questions for A level Politics

Pre-recorded feedback on Summer 2019

Pre-recorded feedback on Summer 2019

This term we are providing pre-recorded feedback events which will be available free of charge on our website for everyone to view. There will be one event for each paper in the specification and they will contain exemplar student responses. The events will be available to view on our training page around Christmas time.

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Mark Battye

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This is some general advice from our examiners on the issue of how to approach essay writing and ensuring sufficient evaluation in A level Politics essays.

Pearson Edexcel does not insist or recommend that there is only one form of essay writing in which to frame responses. There are a wide range of approaches and methods all of which are perfectly valid and creditworthy. Essay style and composition does vary from centre to centre and within centres from candidate to candidate – that is borne out in the vast range of scripts we mark. We do not seek common uniformity but instead celebrate the different and unique approaches which we see.

In support material and examiner reports there are some good examples where we try to spell out best practice and give insights in how to maximise mark potential and reflect on the past series of exams.

If you look across the entire Principal Examiner Reports one common theme which emerges is the demand placed on candidates to reach out and gain AO3 marks. This was a fault line across all papers.

AO1 and AO2 presented little difficulty and they have appeared on the legacy specification in a similar format – as such they are not new demands. This does differ when we come to AO3. Unlike on the legacy specification where this was a lesser mark for communication – AO3 is now an equal partner for marks with the other two AOs. It demands that the candidate forms a judgment and reaches a verdict.

It doesn’t matter if the verdict is by a large margin, i.e. there can be no doubt that x is better than y because… or a small one, on balance it can be seen that despite weaknesses, x is still more preferable to y because… but Ofqual and the DfE demanded an outcome be reached. Their rationale was that after two years of study a candidate has to be able to make judgments and to verify and support them. On this basis they gave parity of esteem to AO3 with the other two AOs. It is not a junior partner.

It does not matter how the AO3 is included but it must not be ignored or given scant coverage given its new importance i.e. it must be evident throughout an answer to score highly. We have seen good essays begin with a view in their introduction then continue to argue their view while seeking to explain the other side and why it is negated. This sort of response shows consistency of view from the start of the essay till the end and addresses all three AO’s.

Candidates should not sit on the fence – they have to take sides – the essay can never be a draw. They can construct mini conclusions for each argument and there may be winning and losing arguments on both sides and some may be close but in the long run they have to get to a winning side – an outcome, a verdict, a conclusion to the entire debate. The crucial case is for the candidate to have a degree of reasoned logic in declaring the winning side.

We need an essay that makes a judgement, reaches a verdict and arrives at a well-argued conclusion. It is wise that the conclusion is not a spurious judgement at the end of the essay which we did not expect – it is best if we arrive at that conclusion with credible incremental steps in the essay.

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You can still get free access to your students’ scripts using our self-service portal. The service will be available until 13 December 2019.

For more information see our Access to Scripts self-service portal guide.

Useful documents

Academic
A level Politics Source Question Guidance
pdf | 67.9 KB
Academic
A level Politics Synopticity Guidance
pdf | 69.0 KB
Academic
A level Politics Assessment Guidance
pdf | 316.2 KB

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