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Controlled Assessment Part B exam board adviceexam board advice 31 mins
2 Portrayal in Representations The work you do in Part B on Representations is looking at the overall message or interpretation. You need to focus on the opinion or judgement that is being suggested by the representation.
3 The portrayal of the issue could suggest: Paramilitaries were to blame for preventing a peace settlement Other factors were to blame for preventing a peace settlement. Northern Irish politicians, the public, ordinary members of the paramilitaries,
4 The way this issue is being portrayed in a representation could be: Very dramatic and emotional, stressing the personal aspect. Very neutral and factual, trying to present both sides of the issue fairly. Stressing the importance of an event by showing what happened later. Selecting one aspect of an issue and focusing on it in depth.
5 For example If you have a profile on a social network, you might decide to change the picture and status because you want people to know you are happy or excited about something. Your school probably has open days and a prospectus for year 6 students and will select certain aspects of the school to emphasise, eg good ICT, good sports facilities or drama productions.
6 Part Bi In Bi you are asked to compare the portrayal of an issue in two representations. As you prepare for this, make notes saying how the impression has been created in each representation. Then find examples of similarities and differences between the two.
7 Writing up Bi When you write up Bi, try to keep focused on showing ways the views in the two representations are similar (and back up your comments with references to each). And ways the views in the two representations are different (and back up your comments with references to each).
An example to help you understand Bi A girl who went on holiday might portray the experience in a different way from her brother Impression A (girl): It was a total disaster – I wanted to top up my tan but it rained every day! I hated the food so I ended up eating chips for every meal. I’m sure I got food poisoning as I was violently sick one day. Impression B (boy): It rained a lot but there were some interesting places to visit. I wasn't too keen on the food but there were always chips available. 8
How far do these portrayals differ? What NOT to write... The girl in the first account complains about the holiday because she couldn’t top up her tan and she was sick. This makes it less reliable; she is obviously angry and that will make the account biased. Remember: you don’t need to evaluate the representations in Bi Bi does not ask why they differ, just how much they differ! 9
10 What a Level 2 answer might say The impressions in A and B are similar because: Both accounts say it rained Both say they didn’t like the food The impressions in A and B are different because: In A the girl says she was sick but the boy in B doesn’t mention this B says they went to some interesting place but A doesn’t mention this This answer is only comparing individual details!
11 What a Level 3 answer might say The accounts are similar in the way they both suggest the rain and the food were problems which affected their enjoyment of the holiday. However, they are different in the overall impression they create. Representation A suggests she did not enjoy her holiday at all, which is highlighted by the tone and choice of language, using words such as ‘total disaster’ and exclamation marks to emphasise her dislike of the experience. Representation B gives a more positive view, saying that the rain didn’t spoil everything and that he went to interesting places. Overall, both accounts suggest there were problems on the holiday but A creates a very negative view of the whole experience while B suggests the rain and food did not spoil everything.
12 Part Bii For Bii you will look at the two representations you have already studied and also a third one. In this question you are being asked ‘which representation of the issue is best?’ You do not have to find the ‘right’ answer, you just need to explain your reasons very clearly.
13 How to decide what is ‘best’ People who went on the same holiday might have different views on what was ‘best’ about it: Hot weather & getting a tan. An interesting place to visit. Meeting new people. Doing new activities.
14 Reaching a decision People within the same family can make different judgements because they have applied different criteria (reasons for the decision). Therefore you need to make it very clear how you have reached your decision about which representation is ‘best’.
15 Applying criteria The exam board has suggested a range of different criteria you could use to reach your decision. You should aim to use three different criteria and explain your ideas fully.
16 Completeness You know that an impression has been created through: the way certain aspects have been chosen to be included or left out the way the language or the drawing has emphasised aspects Therefore you know that the representations might not cover the whole issue.
17 Accuracy You also know that the representation is a personal interpretation and therefore: it might not be accurate it might not be objective (neutral and balanced).
18 Assessing the representations As you assess the representations, you need to use your additional knowledge of the issue. For example, you could use your knowledge to decide whether the overall impression created in the representation is: Complete Accurate Objective
19 Assessing the representations You could also discuss whether a representation which focuses on one aspect in depth is ‘better’ than one which gives an overall view of the whole issue. Or think about whether the overall impression has been distorted by the author’s purpose, eg did he intend to be funny, to challenge a view that is widely accepted, or to make it interesting for people to read?
20 Which is ‘best’? It is unlikely that a single representation will be ‘best’ in every way. You might decide that the overall impression in representation 1 is ‘best’ in terms of accuracy. But perhaps representation 2 is the most complete portrayal of the issue. While Representation 3 is the most objective and covers both sides.
21 Let’s look at the girls account again Impression A: It was a total disaster – I wanted to top up my tan but it rained every day! I hated the food so I ended up eating chips for every meal. I’m sure I got food poisoning as I was violently sick one day.
22 In order to evaluate the accuracy of the overall impression – that she didn’t enjoy the holiday – we can check on some of the details that she uses to create that impression. The key points she mentions which made her account so negative were the rain, the food and being sick. So we can research the weather at that place and that time of the year to see if it is likely that it did rain every day or if the impression is based on inaccurate details. We can also research the food and see if chips were usually available in this holiday spot. We might even be able to find some sources which tell us if she was sick (perhaps her brother kept a diary). How accurate?
23 This is not a balanced account. Everything mentioned is negative and she doesn't include any positive points at all. Has she deliberately not mentioned visiting interesting places because she wants the whole account to be negative, or is it because she didn't find the places very interesting? Is she deliberately stressing the point about being sick? How objective?
24 It is not a complete account of the holiday as she has only chosen to focus on the weather and food. We know they went to visit places but she hasn't mentioned that. She also hasn't mentioned the hotel – perhaps it has lots of activities which you can do in any weather; maybe she enjoyed the holiday because she met some people she really liked etc. We would need to find out about the hotel and the facilities and try to find out what she did each day before we can tell if she’s giving us the full story or just focusing on a couple of days. How complete?
25 Impression B (boy): It rained a lot but there were some interesting places to visit. I wasn't too keen on the food but there were always chips available. This account seems much more balanced and neutral than A. It appears to be more objective because each negative point is balanced out by a positive one. But did the interesting places balance out the rain? What if it rained every day for a week but there were only 2 interesting places to visit? What about Impression B?
26 You would need to check the accuracy and completeness of B in the same way as you checked the accuracy of A. Just because B includes a detail that is not mentioned in A, doesn't make B complete. There could be lots of other things that neither account mentions. The fact they both say it rained a lot doesn’t mean it’s automatically true – you would need to check. Accuracy and completeness
27 Common Problems Many students treated this as a source exercise and evaluated the representations for reliability. This question does not ask why they differ, so a discussion of reliability or the context in which they were produced (eg nature, origins or purpose) is not appropriate.
28 Purpose The use of ‘purpose’ as a suggested criterion in Bii needs to be linked to the idea of portrayal. ‘Purpose’ will affect the creation of the representation: a cartoon is usually intended to be a political comment; a television programme may be intended to be funny; an historian may write a piece intending to challenge an accepted view. All of these may distort the portrayal of the issue and are appropriate comments to make. However, if purpose is seen in terms of reliability and the use the historian would make of the source, the candidate has not understood that Part B is focused on the concept of representation.
29 Objective Similarly, some students took ‘objective’ to mean the aim / purpose of the author and again discussed reliability and utility. Here it should be applied to the portrayal – is it neutral / balanced? The answer needs to be based on an analysis of the representation, not on reasoning about the author’s likely purpose or bias.
30 Focus When considering the ‘best’ representation, candidates may want to discuss its focus. Is an in-depth piece on a narrow aspect of the issue ‘better’ than a broad overview? Frequently, the application of different criteria will result in different judgements.
31 Contextual knowledge Bii It is not enough to state that a representation is accurate – own knowledge is needed to show which aspects are accurate / inaccurate. Comments about the comprehensiveness of the representation should not be based on what is in each representation – it is not a cross referencing exercise; own knowledge needs to be deployed.
32 Common Problems Bii Evaluating the representations as sources – comments about their usefulness to the historian have misunderstood the concept of representation. Not supporting comments with additional contextual knowledge. Blurring the boundaries between criteria – 3 criteria have to be clearly applied for Level 4 but many answers ran accuracy and comprehensiveness together.