Wjec ms1 guidelines for students

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Wjec ms1 guidelines for students

  1. 1. AS Media Studies Guidelines for MS1 following January 2009 examinations The following guidelines are in response to the experiences of examiners in January 2009 on the new MS1 examination. There were various issues that arose from this examination – the main one being that the majority of students were under-prepared to take this examination in January. As indicated in INSETs in 2007 and 2008, this unit is designed to be taught over the whole AS year and students are likely to build up their knowledge as the course progresses. It was clear from the examination scripts seen that many students were adequately prepared and confident with Question 1 which dealt with detailed textual analysis but found the questions that demanded a more detailed understanding of a range of media texts and concepts more challenging. In approaching this paper students and teachers may find the following points helpful: Question 1 • This will always focus on textual analysis and will test the students' ability to analyse a media text in detail using appropriate language. • Students must be able not only to recognise a camera angle or a layout technique etc. but also to examine their purpose and effect. Those students who only describe are limiting their chances of achieving higher marks. • Students need to be aware of the genre conventions of a range of forms and formats as indicated in the specification. They therefore need to be aware of the appropriate media language associated with a range of specific formats. Checklists related to specific media areas are useful so that students have a clear idea of what is required. • Where students are discussing media theories, it is important that they can apply these to media texts rather than simply ‘name–drop’ them. It is recommended that students are not prepared in a formulaic way, which tends to result in students attempting to apply theories where they are not appropriate. • As some students across the mark range had difficulty with timing – it is essential that students are given opportunities to analyse texts under timed conditions. As a guide, approximately 25-30 minutes may be allowed for studying/viewing the resource material (whether audio-visual or print-based). That leaves students approximately 45-50 minutes on Question 1 and approximately 35-40 minutes on Questions 2 and 3. • Students need help in how to organise their notes during viewing time e.g., through the use of viewing grids etc. Similarly, students need to be aware that bullet points are designed to suggest areas to focus on and thus help them structure responses. (In some cases, students appeared to be unfamiliar with terms like 'narrative' and 'technical codes'.)
  2. 2. • It was evident that students were not spending adequate time examining the stimulus for print media. As a guide, similar amounts of time should be allocated to exploring print-based materials as they would devote to moving image resource material (i.e., between 25 and 30 minutes). Students do need to be guided on how to make notes on print-based material. Texts set will be ‘rich’ texts and will demand close analysis. • The teaching of essay-writing skills to enable students to write coherently and logically within a structure is essential. This is likely to help students express their ideas within a media studies framework. It should be obvious that they have some media knowledge! Bullet-pointed responses are not acceptable as a complete answer. The focus of Question 2 can be either representation or audience and this question may be stepped. It is important that students take note of the mark allocation of the various parts of the question and relate this to the length of their answers. If audience is the focus they will be expected to: • discuss an audience/more than one audience for the media texts and appreciate that texts may be ‘read’ in different ways by different audiences • analyse the stimulus material in detail for the earlier parts of the question. • be aware of the issues related to a study of audience and be able to apply these to specific examples. In preparation for the range of questions that may be asked in relation to audiences, students also need to be aware of: • the different ways in which audiences can be described • how texts construct and position audiences • how different audiences respond to, use and interpret media texts. • how different audiences can respond to the same media text and how that response can be analysed If representation is the focus they will be expected to: • recognise and analyse representations evident in the stimulus material • demonstrate an understanding of the concept of representation and its importance in analysing and understanding media texts. • develop their response beyond a description of simple representations • be aware of the more complex issues underpinning a discussion of representation e.g. issues surrounding stereotypes, construction, mediation and ideology General points:
  3. 3. • In the final part of question 2, students will be asked to refer to their own examples. It is suggested that students discuss approximately 2/3 detailed examples relevant to the question and covering more than one media form or format. Downloading of opinion and generalised examples e.g. ‘newspapers offer negative representations of youth’ should be avoided. • Students must not rely on the stimulus material for this part of the question The focus for Question 3 will be either representation or audience depending on the area set for question 2. Students will be expected to explore 2/3 of their own examples in depth. If representation is the focus, they will explore how the social group or event/issue is represented across a range of media texts and forms/formats. Exploring how a social group or event/issue is represented 'in the media’ does involve considering more than one form or format (e.g. magazines, films, computer games etc). Specific, detailed examples need to be referred to. For example, an exploration of representations of youth in the media could include an analysis of: • a television programme e.g. Waterloo Road • a teenage magazine e.g. Sugar • a local newspaper. Students may explore the presentation and construction of, for example, characters and images, considering the role of language, mode of address and narrative etc. in creating those representations. If audience is the focus, they will use 2/3 of their own detailed examples to consider, for example: • how audiences are attracted to texts • what affects the way in which different audiences respond to texts • how texts construct and position audiences • how theories can help to understand audience responses, where appropriate.

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