Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Classical Studies 2016

Standard 93404


Part A: Commentary

In Section A, successful candidates focused directly on the question set, drawing on their knowledge of primary and secondary sources to produce a balanced, clearly structured response. They avoided the temptation to include all that they knew about a specific topic, selecting evidence that supported their argument.

In Section B, successful candidates analysed the sources provided, using their wider knowledge of the classical world as context. They did not include lengthy pre-prepared accounts – for example, descriptions of the regions of the Underworld or funeral ritual – and avoided digressing on Alexander’s/Augustus’ attitude to war after each point made. Instead, they focused on applying their understanding of the classical world to unfamiliar evidence.

All questions allowed candidates to produce answers of scholarship standard and – at the top end – critical commentaries on the source documents were notably sophisticated and insightful.

The assessment schedule allowed for a range of interpretations; no particular viewpoint or evidence was considered mandatory. 

Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • wrote expressively with a degree of stylistic sophistication
  • demonstrated in-depth knowledge of content, based on wider reading
  • integrated relevant primary and secondary source evidence into their response
  • developed a cogent argument, discussed alternative viewpoints and reached valid, balanced conclusions
  • showed an ability to think independently and make insightful observations
  • in Section B, focused on the context and subtext of the resources provided, avoiding formulaic insertions of pre-prepared background material
  • answered each question in full, engaging critically with its underlying implications and/or assumptions.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • wrote clearly and produced a structured response in essay format
  • demonstrated sound knowledge of content, based on wider reading
  • supported their argument with a range of relevant primary source evidence
  • showed some knowledge of secondary sources
  • answered the question set directly and reached sensible conclusions, based on evidence
  • in Section B, focused on analysis of the resources provided, incorporating background detail when directly relevant to the discussion
  • answered all parts of the question.

Other candidates commonly:

  • failed to write clearly and/or structure their argument effectively
  • showed limited understanding of the question and/or a weak knowledge of content
  • did not provide evidence to justify their conclusions and failed to incorporate or reference primary sources
  • introduced irrelevant material, not related to the question
  • did not sustain an analytical approach, drifting into narrative.
  • in Section B, did not set analysis of the resources provided at the heart of their discussion
  • answered only a part of the question or part of the examination paper.

Further comments

Successful candidates produced polished responses, demonstrating their content knowledge, expertise in critical methodology and essay writing skill. Roman topics, with the notable exception of Alexander the Great, continue to attract many more responses. 

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