Now that you have incorporated the advice of some experts into your coursework, it is time to check in with the Compliance Officer, to make sure that your construction meets the required standards as dictated by the local building authority.

02 Main 05 01

Question

What do we mean by ‘Checking in with the Compliance Officer'?

Answer

All buildings must comply with the rules and regulations of the local government. This is to make sure that all buildings are built to a certain standard and are safe to inhabit. The person most directly responsible for this is the Compliance Officer. It is her job to check every detail of the construction against the regulations. If the construction does not meet the standards, it will not be awarded a Certificate of Compliance. This is the death sentence of any building.

Question

What does all of this have to do with your coursework?

Answer

We at The Coursework Club use ‘Checking in with the Compliance Officer’ to refer to the absolute necessity of using the Mark Scheme (in whatever form that takes) to judge your work against. Does your work ‘comply’ with the rules as laid down by the exam board? Have you ensured that your piece of work follows these rules as laid down?

Question

How can you ensure that your work ‘complies’ with the Mark Scheme (or equivalent)?

Answer

This is easy. See below.

Now, different exam boards have different marks schemes. Some don’t call them mark schemes at all – for example, AQA has Mark Schemes for its essay questions but ‘Assessment Objectives’ for its externally assessed coursework component. Make sure you are very familiar with the details of the mark scheme (or whatever your exam board calls it).

N.B.
Since many of the essays that are written for externally examined coursework are not prescribed in the same way that a question in an exam may be, there isn’t always a set answer that you are expected to give. BUT there are clear skills that you are expected to demonstrate whether in an exam, an essay, or an externally examined coursework. See below:

Example 1


Below are the coursework Assessment Objectives from the AQA Exam Board (not strictly a mark scheme because the exam boards can’t create a detailed mark scheme for every possible coursework question you might decide to answer – but it is essentially the same thing) that the exam board wants you to comply with.

AQA Assessment Objectives for HIS4X Coursework Module:

(AQA has four assessment objectives: AO1a, AO1b, AO2a, and AO2b.)


Level 5: What you do to get top marks.


AQA Assessment Objective 1a (AO1a)

Candidates recall, select and deploy historical knowledge appropriately and communicate knowledge and understanding of History in a clear and effective manner. 15 marks

L1: A valid historical investigation has been undertaken and one or two suitable sources/reference materials used. The candidate has shown some ability to work independently but has needed considerable teacher direction. The study is structurally weak and limited in development. There are major weaknesses in the spelling, grammar, punctuation and style of writing. 1-3

L2: A valid historical investigation has been undertaken and a limited range of relevant sources/reference materials found. The candidate has been able to work independently for the most part, although some teacher direction has been necessary. The candidate has shown some initiative in making limited refinements to the topic as appropriate. The study is coherent but structurally weak and fairly limited in development. There are some weaknesses in the spelling, grammar, punctuation and style of writing. 4–6

L3: A valid and well defined historical investigation has been undertaken and a good range of relevant sources and reference materials found. The candidate has been able to work independently and limitedteacher direction has been necessary. The candidate has understood the scope of the investigation and has shown initiative in making refinements to the topic as appropriate. The study is reasonably well organised and the material is presented in a clear and effective manner. The spelling, grammar, punctuation and style of writing are reasonably accurate, although there may be some errors. 7–9

L4: A valid and well-defined historical investigation has been undertaken and a good range of relevant general and more specialised sources and reference materials found. The candidate has been able to work independently, with only minimal teacher direction. The candidate has understood the scope of the investigation and has shown initiative in refining the topic and exploring new areas or issues in the light of the evidence of the sources. The study is well organised, with an appropriate form and style of writing and complex subject matter is presented in a clear and effective way. The spelling, punctuation and grammar is largely accurate and there is some use of specialised vocabulary. 10–12

L5: A valid and well-defined historical investigation has been undertaken and a very good range of relevant, specialised and suitably challenging sources and reference materials found. The candidate has been able to work independently and has not needed any specific teacher direction. The candidate has shown considerable initiative in refining the topic, exploring new areas or issues in the light of the evidence of the sources and taking appropriate decisions. The study is very well structured, with an appropriate form and style of writing. Complex subject matter is clearly and effectively addressed and specialised vocabulary is employed. The study is written in a fluent and sophisticated style with minimal, if any, mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation. 13–15

AQA Assessment Objective 1b (AO1b)

Candidates demonstrate their understanding of the past through explanation, analysis and arriving at a substantiated judgement of:

  • key concepts such as causation, consequence, continuity, change and significance within an historical context
  • the relationships between key features and characteristics of the period studied
20 marks

L1: The candidate is able to demonstrate, by relevant selection of material, implicit understanding of the question. The study will be predominantly, or wholly, narrative. The study makes few, if any, references to a period of 100 years or more. There will be few, if any, synoptic links. 1–4

L2: Either: The candidate demonstrates, by relevant selection of material, some understanding of a range of relevant issues. Most such studies will show understanding of the analytical demands, but will lack weight and balance.
Or: The candidate demonstrates, by relevant selection of material, implicit understanding of a wide range of relevant issues. The study, while relevant, will lack both range and depth and will contain some assertion.
The study makes some, although not developed, references to a period of 100 years or more. Historical debate may be described rather than used to illustrate an argument and any synoptic links will be undeveloped. 5-8

L3: The candidate is able to demonstrate, by relevant selection of material, explicit understanding of the issues relevant to the study. Judgement, as demanded by the question posed, may be implicit or partial. The study shows an appropriate direct or contextual understanding of change and continuity with reference to a period of 100 years or more. There will be some synoptic links made between the ideas, arguments and information included although these may not be highly developed. 9–12

L4: The candidate demonstrates, by a selection of a wide range of precisely selected material, explicit understanding of the demands of the question posed and provides a consistently analytical response to it. Judgement, as demanded by the question, will be explicit but may be limited in scope. There is a good understanding of concepts such as causation, consequence, continuity and change with reference to a period of 100 years or more. There will be synoptic links made between the ideas, arguments and information included showing an overall historical understanding. 13–16

L5: Building on Level 4, but also the candidate demonstrates appropriate conceptual awareness, which, together with the selection of a wide range of precisely selected evidence, offers independent and effectively sustained judgement appropriate to the full demands of the question posed. There is a very good understanding of concepts such as causation, consequence, continuity and change with reference to a period of 100 years or more. The ideas, arguments and information included will be wideranging, carefully chosen and closely interwoven to produce a sustained and convincing answer with a high level of synopticity. 17–20

AQA Assessment Objective 2a (AO2a)

Candidates analyse and evaluate a range of appropriate source material with discrimination. 10 marks

L1: The candidate has provided some comment on one or two relevant sources. 1-2

L2: The candidate has provided some comment on a limited range of relevant sources, with reference to their utility and reliability. 3-4

L3: The candidate has provided some evaluation of a good range of relevant sources demonstrating an appreciation of their utility and reliability. There is some analysis of and discrimination between sources, although comments on their relative merits may not be highly developed or entirely convincing. 5-6

L4: The candidate has provided a strong evaluation of a good range of relevant general and more specialised sources. The candidate has analysed the sources used and has discriminated effectively between them to provide a supported judgement on their relative merits. 7-8

L5: The candidate has analysed a very good range of relevant, specialised and suitably challenging sources and has provided a strong and effective evaluation of their relative worth. The candidate displays an impressive understanding of source material and discriminates very effectively in order to provide some well-supported judgements. 9-10

AQA Assessment Objective 2b (AO2b)

Candidates analyse and evaluate, in relation to the historical context, how aspects of the past have been interpreted and represented in different ways. 15 marks

L1: The candidate shows very little, if any, understanding of historical debate or interpretation with relation to the context of the topic. 1-3

L2: The candidate shows some understanding of a limited range of historical debate or interpretation, with relation to the context of the topic. 4-6

L3: The candidate demonstrates an understanding of the nature of historical debate and/or interpretation within the context of the topic and provides some evaluation of this. 7-9

L4: The candidate demonstrates good understanding of the nature of historical debate and is able to appraise the relative value of interpretations within the context of the topic. 10-12

L5: The candidate shows clear and consistent understanding of the nature of historical debate and displays a very good appreciation of how others have interpreted the past, within the context of the topic. The relative merits of differing interpretations are assessed and convincing and supported judgement is advanced. 13-15

Question

How can you make sense of the Mark Scheme/Assessment Objectives?

Answer

Again, this can be a simple task.

In our example, we have four AQA ‘Assessment Objectives’ for externally examined coursework. Each one of the objectives has a number of levels. If you are aiming for top marks, then you should be looking to accomplish everything that is being asked of you in the top level of each objective. To make sure that you comply with the objectives, simply list what each is asking you to do, and then make sure you include these in your work. You can make certain you have included each requirement, by simply ticking each one off as you include it (although make sure to include these objectives throughout your essay – not just once).

Example 2


Look back at AQA Assessment Objective 1b (AO1b). Make a list of the skills that you need to demonstrate from Level 5.

L5: Building on Level 4, but also the candidate demonstrates appropriate conceptual awareness, which, together with the selection of a wide range of precisely selected evidence, offers independent and effectively sustained judgement appropriate to the full demands of the question posed. There is a very good understanding of concepts such as causation, consequence, continuity and change with reference to a period of 100 years or more. The ideas, arguments and information included will be wideranging, carefully chosen and closely interwoven to produce a sustained and convincing answer with a high level of synopticity.

  • “…wide range of precisely selected evidence".
  • “…independent (your own) …sustained (throughout the work) judgement (conclusions drawn from the evidence).
  • “…very good understanding of… causation, consequence, continuity, and change…”.
  • “…with reference to a period of 100 years”.
  • “…ideas, arguments…wide ranging, carefully chosen…interwoven”.
  • “…sustained and convincing”.
  • “…high level of synopticity (being able to view the entire period and make links back and forth within it)”.

Once you have created your list, and understood the terms (speak to your teacher to clarify points you are unsure about), make sure you tick them off, every time you apply them. Do this for all of the skills outlined in the mark scheme you are using. If you have demonstrated these skills throughout your work, the examiner will award you the mark that you deserve – your building will be awarded a Certificate of Compliance.

What you have learned

This section has shown you, using the AQA coursework mark scheme (Assessment Objectives) as an example, the importance of complying with the demands of the exam board. You have learned how to break down and analyse the mark scheme, as well as how to ensure you follow its requirements. Now, apply these skills to your work.

Just quickly go through the checklist to ensure you have accomplished everything you need to in your main body.

Your house is nearly complete, you just have to put the final level of construction in place: the Roof. The next unit (Unit 3) will teach you the skills necessary to draw all of your work together in a tight, sophisticated, and well-judged conclusion.

Let's get to work...

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