With the summer exam series fast approaching I’ve prepared a blog to help you in your preparations; focusing on some of the more commonly asked questions that have spun out from our recent CPD events on assessment. I’ll share my expertise and advice on how best to approach each of the two themes.
The two themes I refer to for GCSE Psychology assessment are ‘teaching and assessing tricky areas’ and ‘planning and assessment for the mock exams’.
These are CPD courses that happened in London in January 2019, and the resources and materials are free to download from the CPD hub. My first post focuses on the tricky areas with part two published next week.
To help answers to your own particular query quickly I’ve laid out the content in simple Q&A style.
1. Would there ever be a question on why they need the mean, mode, median? E.g. Because of outliers the mean would be more appropriate etc.
P30 of the specification says for Maths understand the terms mean, median and mode – understand includes why you might select one over another etc.
2. Do they need to know confounding variables as well as extraneous variables? I have it on my teaching glossary list as a confusing key term.
Confounding variables are not mentioned – so there should be no specific question asking about confounding variables. Extraneous variables are named in specification so these could be asked about in a live exam (p.20).
3. Can they use Unit 1 and Unit 2 theories and studies in a 13 marker question for one of the units? E.g. Referencing Piaget (unit 1) for second theory/study on an essay in Unit 2.
Yes you can use Unit 1 and Unit 2 theories and studies in 13 mark questions, so yes you could “reference Piaget (unit 1) for second theory/study on an essay in Unit 2” . However, if the question specifically asks for a named study, this must be addressed in the answer.
4. On the specification it says to know the “interrelationships between the areas” Would they need to be able to evaluate the areas? What might the question look like?
No - evaluation. Interrelation is a synonym for similarities so questions could focus on this. The specification says on page 8 – Learners should demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of “interrelationships between the core areas of psychology” – it does not say evaluate
5. Do they get marks for QWC (quality of written communication; spellings etc.) in the exams?
The Practice Papers mark schemes and SAM paper mark schemes say “There is a well-developed line of reasoning which is clear and logically structured.” So QWC marks are integrated in to the marking criteria - psychology for the level then QWC can be used to determine the mark within the level. This is explained in 3e on page 27 in specification Quality of extended response will be assessed in questions marked with an asterisk (*). = 13 mark questions. For Level 3 top band talks about writing with accuracy and clarity.
6. Can they use non named studies on the Specification in a 13 mark answer? E.g. Could they refer to Little Albert / Aachen really famous but not core/alternative studies on the spec. would it still gain marks?
At A Level all mark schemes state “All examiners are instructed that alternative correct answers and unexpected approaches in candidates’ scripts must be given marks that fairly reflect the relevant knowledge and skills demonstrated”. It is expected that GCSE mark schemes will follow a similar approach.
“And other appropriate responses should be credited.”
However it depends on the question specifically asked, if the study is named in the question they must refer to it in their answer.
In my next blog I’ll focus on second and final theme of ‘Planning and assessment for the mock exams’ in the meantime if you have any question about assessment please submit your comments below or email us directly with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to stay informed you can sign up sign up to receive emails updates about Psychology and Sociology too; and follow us on Twitter at @ocr_psychology.
Lucy joined OCR in September 2017 as the Subject Advisor for Sociology and Psychology. Before joining OCR she worked as a teacher being the head of Sociology and Psychology departments in Peterborough, Yorkshire and Cambridge. In her spare time she enjoys scuba diving and travel.