Assessment Report

Level 3 Media Studies 2020

Standards 91490  91493


Part A: Commentary

Candidates who consistently engaged with their chosen statement and presented an argument supported with sound evidence generally did well. 

Candidates are encouraged to go beyond the resources and lectures provided by teachers and explore their own understandings and research beyond the texts. This enables them to demonstrate the perceptive/independent analysis and commentary required for Merit and Excellence.

Integrating recent insights or case studies into their responses allows candidates to engage actively in the issues rather than simply presenting an overview of the industry or genre. 

Part B: Report on standards

91490:  Demonstrate understanding of an aspect of a media industry

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • used evidence or supporting details
  • went beyond describing an industry by discussing why or how the aspect of the industry functioned the way it did
  • used the key words from the questionin their answer (although not always throughout)
  • responded to the question by providing a history of the industry rather than focusing on the chosen aspect
  • were vague or broad in their identification and discussion of the industry and/or chosen aspect
  • discussed multiple points but did not always link these together or build towards analysing the industry..

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not identify an industry and/or an aspect of the industry
  • appeared to rely on rote-learned essays that did not engage with the statement
  • offered a description of an industry rather than an explanation of how / why an aspect of industry operated
  • included insufficient detail and/or irrelevant examples
  • answered beyond the scope of the question, e.g. discussed aspects of the industry or provided historical details with no relevance to the question being asked
  • provided an overview of an industry rather than explaining aspects of an industry
  • showed insufficient understanding of the industry and how the aspect applied to this
  • focused on genre rather than industry.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • provided a thesis statement in their introduction that helped underpin their overall discussion
  • developed an in depth, focused response to the statement and demonstrated how / why the aspect operated within the industry
  • provided an argument throughout the response
  • attempted to address the question throughout the essay response
  • provided relevant evidence/supporting details to support their argument
  • developed the analysis of the aspect from the discussion around how/why the aspect functioned in the industry
  • included theory as part of the discussion.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • provided a strong thesis running through the essay, leading to an integrated argument addressing the chosen statement
  • used the statement to frame their response and clearly set up the line of argumentation their essay was going to take and returned to the statement throughout the response
  • included a range of points which developed rather than repeated an argument
  • demonstrated critical understanding of an aspect of an industry and the impact of the aspect on these on industry, commerce, or society
  • displayed a critical understanding of the complexities of the aspect for industry and/or society
  • made judicious use of valid examples to support their argument
  • included theory to compliment and develop their argument. 


Standard specific comments

Some candidates provided an overview of the history of their industry such as the introduction of sheet music, the development of the printing press, or the invention of the first television. This was often too general or superficial to advance their argument and gain more than Achievement.

Some candidates appeared to rely on prepared answers with a set structure and range of points already decided. This disadvantaged them, as they did not respond to a selected statement in anything more than a superficial way.

While the use of critical theory to develop arguments is encouraged, candidates are advised to ensure they are using theory relevant to their chosen industry. Similarly, evidence used should be relevant in illustrating how the theory works in the industry as a whole.



91493:  Demonstrate understanding of a relationship between a media genre and society

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • showed an understanding that their texts were examples of a general trend/occurrence within genre and linked/related this to a specific society
  • used evidence from at least two texts in their discussion
  • were at times textually focused, but did enough discussion of genre and society to show understanding of the relationship
  • structured their essays with a film/text per body paragraph – often starting those paragraphs with the text title (text-by-text organisation), limiting the depth of ‘genre’ consideration and discussion
  • based discussion in terms of media representation rather than genre
  • focused on history of a genre, developments of the genre, or broadly delved into all aspects of the genre, with limited consideration of the societal relationship.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • chose disparate texts within a broad genre and struggled to discuss connections between the genre and the society effectively
  • wrote a ‘compare and contrast’ essay between two texts within a genre, limiting the discussion to being more about the differences in the two texts than how the texts explored or revealed the relationship between the genre and the society
  • did not address their chosen statement
  • discussed the genre too generally or simplistically, without enough textual evidence to illustrate their points
  • showed minimal understanding/discussion of the genre and were too textually focused.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • moved beyond discussing the genre text by text and considered the genre component and its societal counterpart
  • employed relevant media theory and secondary evidence to clarify and expand points made using primary evidence
  • used secondary sources/theorists confidently to show the relationship between genre and society
  • referred to the question consistently, using it as a springboard to delve deeply into analysis
  • used detailed evidence to support their argument.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • wrote fluently and cohesively with a line of argument linked to the question, threaded throughout the essay
  • referenced a wide range of texts and secondary sources to support their arguments
  • showed an understanding of the complex relationship between society and genre by exploring the ‘grey’ rather than seeing it as ‘black and white’
  • wrote fluidly between texts within paragraphs rather than separating texts into separate paragraphs, allowing for better understanding of the relationship, by supporting societal points with more than one text
  • employed primary and secondary evidence well, using these as ‘launch points’ into a discussion/argument revealing independent thinking and analysis
  • understood the significance of the genre for the society in that time and place, and explored a chain of influences between the genre and the society, which spoke to the relationship
  • considered clearly how genre conventions had a societal counterpart evident in more than one text, by exploring and examining in a ‘what – so what – now what’ progression.

Standard specific comments

This is a genre study, therefore candidates should base their discussion around groups of texts and their shared conventions, tropes, or characteristics rather than a collection of single texts and how their plots individually speak to the society.

Candidates who discussed ‘genres’ that weren’t really genres (black civil rights, gay rights, Disney princesses, the media, etc), focused their discussion more on representation of particular tropes/characters, which is not the intent of the standard.

Film was the prevailing medium as was American society (with some candidates using ‘our’ and ‘us’ when referring to US society).

Many responses tried to cover the whole history of the genre from Nosferatu to Psycho to Get Out. It is recommended to focus on a smaller timeframe and social content to enable the candidates to really understand the issues pertaining to that specific society.

Using dated texts for the ‘social issue’ documentary genre often undermined candidates’ arguments.

Rote-learned essays and reproduced generic answers limited candidate s’ responses.


Media Studies subject page


Previous years' reports
2019 (PDF, 302KB)  2018 (PDF, 113KB)  2017 (PDF, 48KB)  2016 (PDF, 215KB)

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