Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Media Studies 2016

Standard 93303

Part A: Commentary

Whilst some candidates continued to present pre-learnt essays regardless of their relevance to the question, most candidates were able to connect their knowledge to the question and provide an original response.

The statements provided the candidates with a wide range of possible avenues to explore each question and demonstrate their knowledge and learning.  However, candidates often failed to connect the quotes/statements provided with the actual question being asked.

There was a broader approach to subject knowledge and media avenues than in previous years, namely towards the music industry and streaming services, as well as media news outlets and implications of social media in the run-up to the USA Presidential elections.  


Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • developed a clear, convincing argument that addressed the quote
  • Included well considered, thoughtful analysis with considerable insight and/or originality
  • had a strong understanding of historical context and could make connections between the past and current trends/events
  • were able to “unpack” the question statements and argue from a range of points and positions
  • demonstrated considerable understanding of ambiguity and subtlety in their argument
  • wrote succinctly and to the point
  • expanded on their thinking by providing convincing evidence to back it up
  • provided thinking that went beyond classroom learning
  • could unpick, analyse, and put the quote/statement into the context of the Media landscape, isolate key developments, refer to historical context and trends, and predict future developments based on current directions and movements
  • used media theory in a knowledgeable and appropriate way.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • were able to translate the core meaning of the quote/statement and draw an argument using their subject knowledge
  • included well considered analysis with some insight
  • expanded ideas beyond pre-learnt content
  • used evidence from a range of sources in support of their argument
  • demonstrated some understanding of ambiguity and subtlety in their argument
  • had an understanding of historical context in relation to the quote/statement and how it fitted within the context of the question
  • used media theory where appropriate.

Other candidates commonly:

  • stuck largely to a pre-learnt canon of content and argument
  • applied pre-learnt answers to questions that were not reflective of the question raised
  • wrote an argument that clearly was not of their own making and therefore were unable to convey their thinking past a rote learned response
  • fail to address the question correctly
  • developed simplistic arguments
  • made sweeping claims without clear supporting evidence
  • used inappropriate or insufficient evidence
  • spoke from one narrow point of view
  • provided historical content that was narrow and that tried to argue its significance without reference to other historical points of view
  • did not attempt or complete both essays.

Further comments

Overall, the examination paper allowed for a broad range of answers regardless of the medium and / or content the student studied.

A large number of providers are using the same source and content material and candidates from these providers are submitting similar responses, examples and analysis.  This lack of diversity has hindered the opportunity of many candidates from gaining Scholarship and Outstanding Scholarship as their responses often lacked personal insight, independence, originality of thought, and flexibility in favour of a pre-worked constructed argument.  Candidates need to exhibit critical thinking within their responses and demonstrate personal insight.

Overall, candidates demonstrated very good subject knowledge of their topics and were able to provide good historical background within their argument.  However, responses from candidates lacked an understanding of probable future trends, the ramifications of present conditions and the implications outside of their chosen topic / medium.

Question 1, the relationship(s) between media and wider society, adequately addressed past issues which allowed students to address representations within the context of a genre response (namely the representation of Maori in New Zealand film).  Question 1A forced candidates to look at representation through a different perspective and apply their knowledge to it.  This led to some good and original responses that are fitting to a scholarship examination whilst pushing candidates away from pre-learnt material.  However, many candidates ignored the wording of the question and submitted pre-learnt responses irrespective of the question.

Candidates need to take care to apply the statement / quotation they choose to the question being asked.  Question 1B was a popular quotation / statement that provided mixed results. Whilst some candidates excelled with this option, many failed to apply it to the context of the question (analysing the relationship(s) between one or more media and wider society) often going off topic.

Candidates are also encouraged to read the statements / quotations clearly and to use the planning page to formulate their argument.  Many candidates had blank planning pages and this was reflected in many unstructured and unconsidered responses.

It was pleasing to see that more candidates attempted Question 2 this year than in previous examinations, with an emphasis on the music and streaming industries.  Many successful responses, however, addressed the printed newspaper industry, future of news broadcasting and the effect of social media on the US Presidential elections.  There was an over reliance on comedic political commentators in candidate responses.  Whilst these provided a good starting point to an argument, candidates need to look further afield for more detailed and critical analysis to provide a more balanced argument.

Question 3 continued to be the most popular with candidates, with a large proportion attempting statement / quotation 3A.  However, much like question 1A, Q 3A challenged the candidates to look past a specific genre and focus on the elements and development of genre itself.  A key requirement of the ‘genre’ question this year was to develop an understanding of maintaining conventions whilst developing inventions of genres.  Unfortunately, candidates struggled to analyse future directions based on past and present trends.  Candidates need to extend past the examination of past and present contexts and look toward the probable future trends and ramifications.   


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