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Help with AQA GCSE exam techniques

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by ramaduds, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. ramaduds

    ramaduds New commenter

    Hi people! We've moved to AQA this year after OCR disappointments. I manage RS over a group of non-specialist teachers and would appreciate anyone I can bounce ideas off... Also I'd like to check that I have a good understanding of the mark scheme. We have pupils ranging for A*-G.

    I've identified that the marks are 50% knowledge and understanding (AO1) and 50% evaluation (AO2)

    Could someone kindly check my understanding of each question below, the reason being it seems pretty straightforward compared to OCR although I've noticed many teachers on here not impressed with AQA results either. I'm trying to remain optimistic:

    AO1 2 marks - give two sentences defining the key term and either giving an example or exemplification

    AO1 3 marks - Give a small paragraph explaining, using examples and reasons to extend points

    AO1 4 marks - Describe in detail - small paragraph

    AO1 6 marks - Explain...Give bible references/Church teachings and explain how they affect differences of opinion. Account for differences of opinion within Christianity. Check spelling, punctuation and grammar, and use key words. About 2 paragraphs?

    AO2 3 marks - Find these the most difficult - give three different reasons for your own view. Is this format acceptable:\

    I mostly agree/disagree because..... and also because..... However I partially agree/disagree because....

    AO2 6 marks - Give reasons for and against showing Christian teachings (and differences of opinion within Christianity), as well as arguing your personal view. Is the format below acceptable

    Some Christians agree because....(2 reasons). Some Christians agree because....(2 reasons)....Overall I feel...because....

    I appreciate these are very generalised and in some cases basic (e.g. for achieving highest marks) but I need something to start from.

    Is there any advice I could do with regarding:

    Achieving those top marks?
    Help with those who struggle?
    Advice I could give non-specialist staff?

    Cheers for taking your time!
  2. lesley66

    lesley66 New commenter

    I think you've got a good idea about the AO1 questions, although there don't seem t be any 6 markers in the new spec (that doesn't mean there can't be any though!). I think it is much easier if the question is about religious attitudes for 6 marks to write about two religions - you can look at it as two lots of three marks then.
    AO2 for three marks could be two sided, and they really only need to make three points on one or both sides. Or give some explanation of a couple of points would do it.
    I find AO2 for six marks much more difficult. I use a formula with students - they have to agree, give reasons and explainthem, then disagree, give reaons and explain them, and have to make sure they've got a religious argument in them. If you teach them to write 'Christians agree because...', they often don't write evaluatively and go back to explaining attitudes (AO1). I know there are 6 marks available, but if I can train them to get to 5, they can still get an A*! It is definitely possible to train them to have the best technique so they get 4 or 5 every time.
    I would definitely use formulae for weaker students. I do lots of quick work to get them to always give two answers to every question - that boosts their marks no end. I then build from that to say, give me two answers and explain one of them (which helps the middle ability bunch. At the top it is about giving lots of reasons, but explaining them as well, and using examples to back up those explanations.
    Best of luck!
  3. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Thanks for your response here Lesley. Ramaduds I am in exactly the same position as you. Have moved after problems with OCR and because AQA offers me the chance to teach a full course in an hour a week which I couldn't manage with OCR. I agree that AQA looks more straight forward but I too rather worried after seeing the thread about the AQA marking. Wish these boards could get their act together...
  4. WillowFae

    WillowFae New commenter

    Absolutely. They can use any mix of question they like for AO1 so long as they add up to 9. So they could have 3 + 6, or 1 + 2 + 6.

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