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Psychology

Exam technique advice

Q&A from AQA: 16 Mark Questions for Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia

Below you will find a question and response from AQA in relation to: 16 Mark Questions for Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia.

Question

Can students be asked a separate 16 mark question on Family Therapy, CBT and Token Economies?

Response

AQA maintains that 16-mark questions, or indeed, extended writing questions of other tariffs, could be asked on any part of any topic. That said, please be assured that question paper development involves a rigorous and robust process during which experienced colleagues determine whether or not, for any specific content, within a topic area, there is sufficient scope for AS/A Level student to be able to plan, construct and write a response in the time available. By 'experienced colleagues' we mean experienced teachers and examiners and by 'sufficient' scope' we mean the extent and nature of the material that is accessible to teachers and students at AS/A Level in easily available and commonly used materials, such as textbooks.

In relation to therapies for schizophrenia, if you decide that there is insufficient material available for A Level students to be able to plan, construct and write an extended response in 20 minutes for 16 marks, on each of the individual psychological therapies (family therapy, etc) then that is a matter for your professional judgement and you should prepare your students accordingly.

Whilst there may have been an understanding with Legacy Specification A that extended response questions could only arise with certain areas of a topic or possible per bullet point, such a convention, where it existed, no longer applies. In general, AQA would advise that students should cover the material in a way that prepares them to use their knowledge to construct their own answers to a variety of possible question at varying mark tariffs, rather than pre-learn a fixed set of 'essays' to be reproduced in the examination.

Comment

It's interesting that AQA define 'experienced colleagues' and 'sufficient cope' but don't say what resources are deemed easily available. Let's take a look at the two endorsed AQA books:

  • The Lawton and Willard textbook provides enough coverage to warrant a 16 marker on each therapy
  • The Flanagan (Pink Hair Girl) textbook covers the psychological therapies in one section and therefore (arguably) doesn't provide enough coverage to warrant a 16 marker on each therapy

Another popular textbook, Cardwell's Dog Book, provides separate coverage on each of the three therapies, again suggesting that a 16 marker is viable.

Conclusion: It would appear possible that AQA could ask a question on each of the therapies as a separate essay, as there is sufficient coverage in two of the major textbooks on the market to suggest that the 'experienced colleagues' might argue that there is 'sufficient scope'. However, only time will tell.

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