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Lessons to be learned from the summer's GCSE exams - Paper 3: Issue Evaluation (the pre-release)

Vicki Woolven

11th September 2023

In this blog I have highlighted the key points from the examiners report that you need to aware of when prepping students for this part of the exam next time.

It is also worth pointing out that the idea of the pre-release aspect of Paper 3 is that students have all the information they need in the resource booklet and there is no need to add any additional information, or set them any research tasks based on it. The prep time for the pre-release is purely to get students familiar with the detailed resources and get them to practice a range of questions that could come up.

Issue evaluation – general comments

  • Most students had been well-prepared for the issue evaluation and had a good understanding of the topic and felt confident with the pre-release resources
  • Students in general showed good understanding of the economic and environmental issues surrounding the proposal
  • This is synoptic – when preparing for this paper students should have the links to the specification reinforced
  • Students need to be aware that some questions will be directly related to the location in the pre-release materials, but some will be about more about the topic in general (e.g. tourism as a way of reducing the development gap)
  • Students need more guidance on selecting evidence from the resources and applying it, rather than simply copying bits of evidence into answers
  • Low tariff maths-based questions were answered well
  • Lots of students didn’t answer the ‘complete the graph’ question
  • Students were good at using the resource in section 2 – lots of good answers, although many didn’t know what a multi-use development was

6-marker on tourism and economic opportunities

  • Lots of students wrote good responses about tourism reducing the development gap
  • Weaker students made generic statements about jobs, income and taxes improving quality of life
  • When these ideas were developed they reached Level 2, e.g. reference to things like housing conditions, access to better education/healthcare, investment in services
  • The best answers talked about the multiplier effect, but also made evaluative comments such as issues around economic leakage, seasonal employment and a dependency on tourism

6-marker on tourism being an economic vs environmental issue

  • Good understanding of the environmental impacts of tourism
  • Not enough detail about conflict
  • Lots of students wrote about tourism in other areas which was credit-worthy
  • Weaker students just identified costs and benefits from the resources but didn’t do anything with them
  • Some students developed ideas from the figure by talking about things like impact on habitats
  • The best answers discussed the balance of different types of tourism and made reference to ecotourism

9-marker on whether the cruise ship terminal should go ahead

  • Most students were well prepared for this question and expressed their views confidently
  • Most students were aware of the complexities of the issues and could weigh up the pros and cons of a number of options
  • The weakest answers lifted information directly from the resource booklet without developing it
  • Some students differentiated between short-term and long-term impacts
  • Students should be reminded that this question tests AO3 and AO4 – an awareness of the demands of these are important for writing a good answer and that to get into Level 3 students need to analyse and evaluate points in relation to the original question
  • Most candidates presented the pros and cons of the cruise ship terminal – but spent a lot of time supporting the view they didn’t actually choose, which limited the evidence for their conclusion – students need to be reminded that their arguments should favour the view they have actually stated, and this needs to be clear in the conclusion

Vicki Woolven

Vicki Woolven is Subject Lead for Key Stage 4 Humanities at tutor2u. Vicki previously worked as a Head of Geography and Sociology for many years, leading her department to be one of the GA's first Centres of Excellent, and has been a content writer, senior examiner and local authority Key Practitioner for Humanities.

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