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AQA Philosophy January 2012 Reason and Experience Ouestion

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by jwinter18, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Hi there I was wondering if anyone who teaches AQA Philosophy had any comments to make on January 2012 Reason and Experience O1 ?Outline and illustrate the view that certainty is confined to introspection and the tautological? (15 marks).

    For me this reflects something of a common problem in the examination of AS Philosophy, namely the over-complication of questions, using in this case language lifted from the map to specification which then has no explanation whatsoever in the relevant section of the AQA endorsed text book where the words tautological and introspection are not found at all to my knowledge. (Note: Introspection is in Section 2 and tautological does not even make the Index!). My concern about this specific question is that a precise understanding of these words is crucial to accessing the question in any meaningful way. Students who lacked those definitions were left with the word "certainty" to try and work out what the question was driving at.

    This is yet another example of the failure of the text book to adequately or in this case fail to explain key concepts specific to the relevant topic being examined and as I said above, another case of the needless over-complication of questions which only succeeds in panicking students at the start of the exam and leaves them floundering their way through the rest of the exam. What do you think?
     
  2. Hi there I was wondering if anyone who teaches AQA Philosophy had any comments to make on January 2012 Reason and Experience O1 ?Outline and illustrate the view that certainty is confined to introspection and the tautological? (15 marks).

    For me this reflects something of a common problem in the examination of AS Philosophy, namely the over-complication of questions, using in this case language lifted from the map to specification which then has no explanation whatsoever in the relevant section of the AQA endorsed text book where the words tautological and introspection are not found at all to my knowledge. (Note: Introspection is in Section 2 and tautological does not even make the Index!). My concern about this specific question is that a precise understanding of these words is crucial to accessing the question in any meaningful way. Students who lacked those definitions were left with the word "certainty" to try and work out what the question was driving at.

    This is yet another example of the failure of the text book to adequately or in this case fail to explain key concepts specific to the relevant topic being examined and as I said above, another case of the needless over-complication of questions which only succeeds in panicking students at the start of the exam and leaves them floundering their way through the rest of the exam. What do you think?
     
  3. jerseyperson

    jerseyperson New commenter

    I used to teach Philosophy A Level and be one of the examiners so I can sympathise with what you're saying. I think you'll find a good response from the facebook group "Campaign to change AQA Philosophy". Having said that, as it's in the exam spec, presumably you DID cover what these terms mean? When you understand the terms the question does make sense, I think. Of course by tautological they mean analytic truths and introspection refers to those subjective truths we can have by virtue of knowing ourselves, e.g. what it's like to feel pain, happiness etc. This relates directly to Hume's view.
     
  4. I did of course teach the relevant material covering analytic truths and subjectivity but my point is that the question required a precise understanding of two words which made the question accessible or else they were left floundering. I realise that AQA will respond by saying that the phrase was in the map to specification but if they make questions dependent on philosophic key terms of this nature they should at least include them in the relevant section of the text book that is being studied! I have signed the petition for the Campaign to change AQA Philosophy in the past but as I don't use Facebook do you know of any way of accessing their information?
     
  5. jerseyperson

    jerseyperson New commenter

    Hi there. The group on Facebook is massive, and has become THE forum for Philosophy teachers. Shame you don't use it. I don't think there's any other way of getting in touch so quickly with other Philos teachers. I've had many problems with the Philosophy A Level in the 4 or 5 years I taught it, but I would have to disagree on this particular issue. These are just terms they need to know and anything that's in the spec has to be covered somehow, if not from the textbook then elsewhere. However, I'm with you 100% on how pants the textbook is. Absolutely awful and riddled with mistakes and omissions- as this proves.
     
  6. Thankn for your perspective jerseyperson. I hear what you are saying, its just that I feel this question was grossly unfair and could have been asked in a much more straightforward way to elicit the response they were looking for. I take from your replies that you now no longer teach AQA Philosophy am I right? What do you teach now and if you moved to another A Level why did you do so?
     
  7. jerseyperson

    jerseyperson New commenter

    To be honest, I think this question is the least of your worries. Teaching Philosophy, I regularly saw questions that used wording not even on the syllabus! I moved schools to become a Head of Department and it was important to me that I didn't teach A Level Philosophy anymore as I found it so tough going and actually quite soul destroying, especially watching really good students get B and C grades because of being thrown by the wording of questions and the unusually high expectations at AS. I now teach AQA RS, Ethics in AS and Philosophy of Religion at A2 and find it more accessible, just as enjoyable and far more rewarding.
     
  8. Thanks very much for your replies and your patience with me. I think like you I find the unpredictability of it all soul-destroying. Maybe an alternative curriculum like the AQA one or the OCR one will be a better and safer option! All the best!
     
  9. I teach this course and have similar issues. The examiners seem determined to make it over complicated, and in my opinion, appear to expect degree level understanding from L6th students in certain aspects of the course. The 15 mark question on 'Tolerance' in the recent Jan Phil 2 exam even referred to concepts which are barely referred to in the syllabus or Lacewing's text book, which is both incredibly frustrating and demoralising. In comparison, the question on the 'God and the World' topic was very straightforward and well received.
     

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