Religious Studies - National Moderator's Report March 2019

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The following report gives feedback to assist assessors with general issues and trends that have been identified during external moderation of the internal Religious Studies standards in 2018.

It does not clarify specific standards but provides further insights from moderation material viewed throughout the year.


Volume of Evidence Produced

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Some students produce an excessive volume of evidence. Students are not required to submit evidence beyond the criteria of the standard. It is appropriate for teachers to guide students to produce succinct evidence in response to the achievement criteria of the standard.

In Religious Studies this has been noticed across all three levels, but most obviously at Levels 2 and 3. Reducing the number of questions set in many assessment activities, and focussing upon the specific requirements of the standard, may help to reduce the amount of evidence produced by students.

For example, in 90817, instead of a student covering all developments of the Reformation, there could be a focus on one significance development such as the Council of Trent or the English Reformation. 

In 90825, instead of a student covering all or most of the identified areas found in Explanatory Note 3, there could be a focus on one or two or the areas for consideration, such as changes within a tradition; for example, the changing role of the laity, particularly women, during the 20th Century in Catholicism.

In terms of the quantity of evidence that students produce, it is highly likely that the guidance given by assessors about word count at each level should provide students with sufficient opportunity to demonstrate the skills needed for Excellence. For example, approximately but not definitively, at Level 1, 1200-1500 words; at Level 2, 1500-2000 words, and at Level 3, 2000-2500 words.

Excellence at Level 3

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There is some inconsistency in awarding Excellence. When making assessor decisions regarding Excellence, consideration needs to be given to the overall quality of the evidence. This is critical when making a judgement at the Merit/Excellence boundary.

The volume of evidence can vary considerably for Excellence at Level 3. To reach Excellence, students need to focus on explaining/analysing the wider implications as required by the standard.

Another issue in some Excellence responses is that they are generic rather than specific.  For example: ‘Christians behave well towards others because they want to go to heaven’ is a generic statement rather than an analysis, with perception, which is required for Excellence in 90827.

Group Work

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Group work is an acceptable form of assessment, if appropriate to the standard. When submitting group work for moderation, the teacher needs to ensure there is evidence that each student has met the standard.

The contribution of each student can be tracked and presented in a variety of ways, such as written record of teacher observation, the division of workload into clearly defined tasks, a student worklog or video diary, recordings of teacher/student conferences, etc.

In Religious Studies, group work has not been evident in the work sent in for moderation in 2018.

Integrated Assessment of Standards

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This refers to assessing multiple standards via one submission of student evidence. The assessment of standards may be integrated either within a subject or across subjects.

For external moderation, if the assessment is across subjects and the student evidence is physical, it can be sent on to the next subject moderator/s if required. If it is an online submission, the student evidence can be uploaded for each standard being moderated.

In Religious Studies integrated assessment has not been evident in the work sent in for moderation in 2018.

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